Today’s Tie: Shillinglaw Emerger

This is a pattern based off of, but somewhat varied from the Shillinglaw Emerger pattern in Ross Mueller’s book Fly Fishing Midwest Spring Creeks.

Here’s the recipe I used for this fly today…note it’s not going to be exactly like the pattern in the book, nor is it as pretty, but we’re in the ballpark. This fly is intentionally “buggy”. (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it)

Hook: standard nymph, size 18 (I’m out of size 16 hooks today, otherwise I’d have gone that size)
Thread: dun or olive or black or neon orange (maybe not the orange)
Tail: wood duck or mallard flank fibers
Ribbing: strand of pearl krystal flash (or wire, or french tinsel, or something else shiny)
Wing: CDC or Dun Z-lon
Head: Dark and buggy…these were tied with a dark flash dubbing, but the recipe in Mueller’s book calls for “australian opossum”. Black nymph dubbing works fine, too.

Thread hook, tie in the tail.

Shillinglaw Emerger

Tie in rib, dub thread, wrap thread forward leaving room for the wing, and tie down ribbing.

Shillinglaw Emerger

Tie in the wing, secure with a couple wraps, and dub the head. Half-hitch or whip finish…done.

Shillinglaw Emerger

I did a little variety today and trimmed amounts of z-long in the wing so some were bushier than others. I also varied between a dark rainbow dub and a plain, black nymph dub.

Shillinglaw Emerger

Shillinglaw Emerger

4 thoughts on “Today’s Tie: Shillinglaw Emerger

  • Since this fly is usually used as a BWO emerger and since BWO nymphs are blackish brown and BWO adults are gray / olive, it always seemed to me that that the colors on this fly are reversed. That is, the abdomen should be blackish brown like the nymph and thorax should be gray / olive like the adult. I tie them both ways and they both work, but just thought I’d bring this up to mess with you.

    • Maybe there is a blog plugin that would allow comment “likes”…you have a good point. I think I’m going to tie more emergers in a variety of sizes and colors, just to cover my bases from BWO to other, various mayflies. I need to vary my caddis larva/pupa more, too. Some are less green than others.

      • Try a #14-#16 Shillinglaw with PT body and yellow thorax. This works very well in the spring when LHs, craneflies and other yellow bugs are hatching.

  • Played around with this fly yesterday. Put a glass / red bead head on it and Olive CDC. Don’t know if it will catch anything, but will give it a try.

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