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Smolt 12-11-2002 12:37 PM

Arctic Fox
This picks up on a discussion that began on the fly swap thread.

I have never tied with "arctic fox" or "foxtail". How does "arctic fox" differ from "foxtail"? (I know arctic foxes all have tails.) My question is, more precisely I hope, how do the fly tying and fishing properties of material generally described as "arctic fox" differ from material described simply as "foxtail"?

The reason I ask is that I just bought -- sight unseen -- a black-dyed foxtail.


flytyer 12-12-2002 12:44 AM


First, artic fox is white or very light cream in color naturally; therefore, it dyes very evenly and with nice, bright even colors - including black.

Second, artic fox has guard hair that is long fibered and it is not nearly as fuzzy and limp as other fox tail or hair. The guard hair from the artic fos tail runs to about 3 or 4 inches in length.

Third, it is very easy to tie a nice taped wing with artic fox because the underfur is about 60% the length of the guard hair. This allows one to easily cut some artic fox fur from the hide and then strip about 1/2 or a little more of the underfur (which is not real soft and fuzzy like other foxes) from the bunch. This allows one to tie a very nicely taped wing that has more bulk at the tie in point and which gets progressively finer or less bulky as you proceed out to the end of the wing.

Fourth, artic fox is slightly translucent, and the underfur is also somewhat translucent. This allows some light to be gathered and reflected along the wing when fishing. The other foxes do not have this characteristic.

Fifth, artic fox is a bit crinkly at its base and since its underfur is also crinkly, it allows one to tie a nice looking wing that actually has very little bulk, thus making casting easier and letting less air get into the wing during casting, which helps sink the fly faster when fishing.

Sixth, artic fox is not slippery like the other foxes. This allows one to use far fewer thread wraps to tie it in securely. Thus allowing one to have a smaller, sleeker head that helps the fly to swim better.

In short, artic fox is very different than the other foxes.

Smolt 12-12-2002 11:17 AM

Thanks. I guess I will use the foxtail that I bought for a duster and go out and buy some Arctic Fox.

pmflyfisher 12-12-2002 01:45 PM

I am going to see if I can pick up some of this for the hair wing fly swap. Hope they have some decent colors though

Smolt 12-12-2002 02:14 PM

As of Tuesday, the Trout & Grouse had only black.

pmflyfisher 12-12-2002 03:29 PM

I will check my regular place tonight. Let you know what they have.

flytyer 12-12-2002 11:32 PM


Don't throw the balck dyed fox out that you bought. Use it for wings on small flies. It would make a very nice black gnat hairwing for trout, or a trout sized black prince with a red tail and black body/hacke/wing, or use it on a small streamer tied with a silver body and a black wing.


If your local shops don't have it, try Mark BAchmann's or Kaufmann's. Most of the shops here in Western Washington have it in stock in white or black. Artic Fox body hair is equally useful and has the same characteristics as artic fox tail, it is just shorter (about 2 inches instead of 4 inches or more like a tail). If a local shop carries Daiichi hooks, they should be able to get the artic fox from the same distributor.

Smolt 12-17-2002 10:26 AM

Well, I received my black-dyed foxtail yesterday. It looks pretty interesting. The hair is a little stiffer than I had expected. I will try some flies with it this weekend. (By that time I should have recovered from going to the 12:01 AM screening of the "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" tonight, more precisely tomorrow morning.)

pmflyfisher 12-17-2002 12:08 PM

I did not get to my fly shop yet, due to work and xmas events etc.. Hopefully, this week

beau purvis 12-18-2002 01:34 PM

artic fox
lots of colors available in the port angles ,wa fly shop. beau

pmflyfisher 12-22-2002 10:35 AM

Got some at my local fly shop, Smolt (Charles) they have about ten different colors.

Looks like great stuff will be experimenting over the holidays with it.

Pastortd from the forumn sent me some pics of some great steelie patterns he has tied with it.

PM Out

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