fox hair flies [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: fox hair flies

Stefan S
01-17-2003, 05:01 PM
when I read about steelhead flies in books or internet Im wondering that I nearly never find fox hair flies.
In europe they are very popular for salmon and seatrout flies and known for their livelike action.
Is foxhair only less popular in Canada and US or are there any other reasons?
Greetings from germany

01-17-2003, 06:34 PM
Several recent 'threads' on using fox hair for steelhead flys on the Board. I'm a zero at using the 'search' function but you can look up quite a bit of info right here. I'm sure someone else will pop you right to the threads if you hold on for a couple of hours.


Bingo! Hit the seach function button above and type in the word FOXTAIL this should get you to a recent 10 posting thread.

01-18-2003, 12:36 AM
Good Evening,
Have some info on this. Found a "Grey Fox" dry in Mc Clanes eneyelopedia...
Wings: Flank feather of Mallard Drake
Tail: Fibres from Ginger Cock Hackle
Body: Light fawn colored fur dubbing from Red Fox
Hackle: 1Light Grizzly, 1 light Ginger wound together

As well as...
March Brown (Flick) which has a body of Tan Fox fur dubbing mixed with sandy fir from a hares poll...

Seems that Fox Fur Flies have been around here for a while. James B. Chandler from Philadelphia wrote, in 1892, a response to Charles Orvis for "Favorite Flies and their Histories"....
"The Bright Fox is the best imitation of the natural fly in all the lists of flies, and is suitable for evening during the entire season"...
I remain, with the Hounds...

01-18-2003, 05:32 AM
It's common to find the use of dyed fox for hair wings in the boxes of northeastern salmon anglers probably because of it's active action, abundance of colors and ease of use. About all one needs to be worried about is that the lengths line up and yellow, red, browns can be tied in together to resemble the layers of a mixed wing.

IMHO the even greater availability and color ranges of marabou and more applicably rabbit fur have held the desire to experiment with fox to a minimum in the northwestern steelhead streams.

Of course I am referring to the use in wings, palmering and strips whether free or my favorite matuka style - but if you are talking about another use, please enlighten us.

01-18-2003, 09:26 PM

If you're interested, email me and I'll send you some pics of how I use fox for hackle and other stuff.

01-20-2003, 09:26 AM
That would be great!

I saw some dyed racoon that BobP Jr had at the recent flyshow... it looked like a fox but much longer length. I'll try to get the actua brand info from Bob.l

01-21-2003, 03:47 PM
I have been using Fox Tail (Fur) for wing and tail material for my working winter steelhead flies for several years. The Fly Shop in Downtown Port Angeles has an abundant supply of color options in both Arctic and Silver Fox. I especially like the Silver Fox as it has bars of darker colors which I find to be pleasing to the appearence of the fly. You get dark blue and light blue in the same tail (likewise with the other colors too).
I have spun it into a dubbing loop and it looks pretty good that way too, but honestly I try and keep my tying time under 5 minutes for every day working flies. English Mohair is about as far as I go for a body.

01-21-2003, 05:16 PM
So Juro... how does one go about emailing you? Canna do it from your profile, so....

01-21-2003, 05:22 PM
Yes you have to see Pastortd pictures using this material. Great looking flies.

I bought some fox hair in December but due to my other fly swap responsibilities and the shows have not used it yet.

Its on the long fly tying to do list. :D

PM Out

01-21-2003, 06:48 PM
The use of fox hair is very interesting, I could see it's use's on many traditional fies.

But I must ask what do you gain by using fox? As opposed to the more common materials.

Polar bear use always confused me too. I see the tradition part, but see no sense in it with all the synthetic materials out there.

Perhaps I am wrong, but to waste a top of the food chain creature on a fly puzzles me.

01-21-2003, 08:29 PM
C'mon, guys - where is your fly-fishing tradition knowledge ????

To tie the BEST hendrickson females, body color is stipulated as "urine-stained red fox belly fur". (Works well, too! It's a tough color to match! Preferably from vixens.) There have been some jokes about this one - some serious. It was said that Harry Darbee used to keep 'em in a shed out back, and "urine stained" 'em himself!

"Grey fox" hatch is a major one, end of May-early June in the catskills - particularly beaverkill. (Body of light fawn-colored RED fox fur.) Why is it called a grey fox? Beats me....But it is an effective fly.

Just to name a few. These are NOT fox tail flies, by the way.

I keep a box of my "special" Beaverkill flies separate in a flybox for special occasions. Plan a couple of days down there around the last of May - first of June, camping and fishing.



01-21-2003, 09:30 PM
Bob K

Thats right I remember those Darbee Hendrickson flies and the urine stained red fox fur bodies. Bought them from him when I lived back there.

Also remember the Grey Fox.

Arctic Fox is what I will be fooling around with soon which is what Pastortd has been tying very nicely with.

PM Out

01-22-2003, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by pmflyfisher
Arctic Fox is what I will be fooling around with soon which is what Pastortd has been tying very nicely with.

I tie with a bit of Grey ( , too. =)

01-22-2003, 09:31 AM
Yep thats it ! What great memories fishing the Beaverkill and Willow will the Gray Fox.

Back to my fly fishing roots in the historical Catskills fly fishing waters.

BobK - Please give me a good update after your trip this spring and take some digital pictures to post for us. Hendricksons, Barnharts, Cairns, Junction Pool, Horsebrook, Rhodendron, School House, Cooks Falls etc........

PM Out

01-22-2003, 05:33 PM

Polar bear is very different than any of the synthietics that are out there. Polar bear is semi translucent, fine-tipped, and transmits light somewhat like fiber optic cable does; but it is much finer than fiber optic cable threads and has a different molecular structure as well. Quite simply, there is nothing like good polar bear hair, especially if you are lucky enough to have some of the belly, shoulder, or mask hair.

If you have ever seen polar bear on a fly, you know why there is nothing like it.

01-22-2003, 11:18 PM
Good evening,
Found a "classic" Red Fox pattern on that cross-link from Pastortd.
Dr.J.C. Biddle of Fountain Springs Pa. said " On several occasions I was able to kill a number of Trout on the Red Fox Trout fly" thus proving it was a widely known Catskill pattern! Check it out!
Mr. Biddle's quote from "Favorite Flies and Their Histories" by Mary Orvis Marbury, 1892

01-23-2003, 10:50 AM
In addition to these "standard" fly patterns, I have used Arctic Fox tail fur as a replacement for white marabou when I ran out. It's a tip my buddy passed on to me, and it works about the same. (I used it on flesh flies, "popsicle" patterns, etc.)

Wiedersehen. (The original question came from Germany.)