How To Tie A Klinkhammer Fly? Tying Instructions and Tips

The Klinkhammer fly is a popular pattern used by fly fishermen to imitate emerging mayflies. During the mayfly season, this technique provides excellent success to the anglers. But how do you tie a klinkhammer fly?

Tying the Klinkhammer fly can be challenging for beginners, but with practice and attention to detail, it can become a valuable addition to any angler’s fly box. You will need a good dubbing collection and select the right color according to the flies around your fishing spot. Then, following a few steps, you can have a perfect Klinkhammer fly.

So keep reading this article to know about the step by steps instructions that will help you to tie a klonkhammer fly like a professional. Let’s dive in!

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An Overview of Klinkhammer Fly

Before proceeding to the tying process, you should know little about this fly pattern.

The Klinkhammer fly, an ingenious creation by Hans Van Klinken, has become a staple in fly fishing circles since its inception. Its origins can be traced back to the 1980s when Van Klinken, a renowned Dutch fly tier, designed this pattern to imitate emerging caddis and mayfly insects.

Let’s explore the concept behind this remarkable fly and its unique characteristics that make it a favorite among anglers worldwide.

Imitating the Emergence:

The core concept behind the Klinkhammer fly is its ability to mimic the vulnerable stage of insects as they emerge from the water’s surface. During this period, both caddis and mayflies undergo a remarkable transformation, leaving their watery abodes to take flight.

This fly is able to perfectly captures this moment, enticing fish with its realistic profile and behavior.

Distinct Characteristics:

1. Parachute Hackle: One of the defining features of the Klinkhammer fly is its parachute hackle. Positioned perpendicular to the hook shank, the hackle serves two important purposes.

First, it creates a larger footprint on the water’s surface, enhancing visibility for both anglers and fish. Second, it helps suspend the abdomen and thorax below the surface, emulating the emergence process.

2. Suspended Abdomen: Unlike traditional dry flies that ride high on the water, the Klinkhammer fly’s abdomen hangs below the surface film. This realistic positioning mimics the natural behavior of emerging insects, making it irresistible to discerning fish.

3. Varied Colors and Materials: The beauty of the Klinkhammer fly lies in its adaptability. Anglers can tie this pattern using various materials and colors, allowing for customization based on local insect species or personal preference. Experimentation with different shades and textures can yield impressive results on the water.

Materials and Tools You Will Need

To tie a Klinkhammer fly, you’ll need a selection of materials that work together to create a convincing imitation of emerging insects. The essential components are listed below:

Materials for the Tying Process

1. Hook: The foundation of any fly pattern, the hook provides structure and shape. Opt for a hook specifically designed for dry flies, such as the Mouche 8430 size 12, to ensure proper buoyancy and presentation.

2. Thread: Use a strong and fine thread, like Griffth’s Sheer 14/0 in white, to secure materials and maintain a sleek profile. The thread color can be customized to match the desired aesthetic.

3. Poly Yarn: White poly yarn is commonly used to form the post of the Klinkhammer fly. This buoyant material plays a crucial role in suspending the abdomen and providing visibility for both anglers and fish.

4. Dubbing: Choose dubbing in colors that resemble the natural insect you aim to imitate. Common choices include shades of olive, brown, and gray. Dubbing adds bulk to the thorax, enhancing the fly’s profile and realism.

5. Hackle: Select high-quality hackle feathers that match the size and color of the insects you’re imitating. The parachute hackle, wrapped around the post, aids in flotation and stability.

6. Wing Material (optional): Some fly tiers prefer to add a wing to their Klinkhammer flies. Materials like CDC (Cul de Canard) feathers or synthetic fibers can be used to create a subtle wing profile.

Tools for the Tying Process:

Having the right tools at hand makes the process of tying a Klinkhammer fly much smoother. Here are the necessary tools and their specific functions:

1. Vise: A reliable vise securely holds the hook in place, allowing you to work with precision and stability. Look for a vise that accommodates various hook sizes and provides easy adjustments.

2. Bobbin: The bobbin holds the thread, allowing for controlled and consistent tension while wrapping materials onto the hook. Choose a bobbin with a comfortable grip and smooth thread control.

3. Scissors: Sharp, fine-tipped scissors are essential for trimming materials, creating clean cuts, and precise shaping of the fly. Invest in a quality pair that fits comfortably in your hand.

4. Hackle Plier: Hackle pliers are designed to grip and manipulate hackle feathers during the wrapping process. Look for pliers with a secure grip and smooth rotation for easy handling.

5. Whip-Finishing Tool: A whip-finishing tool is used to secure the thread and finish off the fly with a tight knot. Mastering the whip-finishing technique ensures a durable and neat final product.

By having these essential materials and tools on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to tie your own Klinkhammer flies. I recommend using high-quality materials, which will contribute to your patterns’ overall success.

How to Tie a Klinkhammer Fly Step-by-Step?

Tying a Klinkhammer fly is a gratifying and pleasurable process that allows you to produce a highly successful design for your fly fishing trips. Detailed instructions are provided below to assist you in mastering the skill of tying this magnificent fly:

Step 1: Securing the Hook

Start by securing the Mouche 8430 size 12 hook in the vise. You may be thinking, why mouche? Actually, the ideal hook size for Klinkhammer fly is larger than #14. So this model of hook is perfect for this job. However, If you want, you can also use Partridge 15BN or TMC 212Y.

When securing the hook, ensure that the hook point and barb are exposed, allowing for easy attachment and removal. Verify that the hook eye is straight enough to accommodate the thread without slipping off during the tying process.

Step 2: Locking the Thread in Place

Take the Griffth’s Sheer 14/0 white thread and lock it in place about one-third of the hook shank length behind the eye of the hook. Hold the tag end of the thread with your left hand and wrap the thread over the shank, making five wraps. Run the thread over itself to lock it in place and cut off the excess thread.

Step 3: Building the Thread Foundation

Run the thread forward with touching turns to just behind the hook eye. Then, run the thread rearward with touching turns, stopping at the point where the thread hangs just on the inside of the hook bend. This forms the foundation for the subsequent steps.

Step 4: Tying in the Poly Yarn

Run the thread forward again, stopping about one-fourth of the thread foundation length behind the hook eye. Cut approximately four inches of white poly yarn. Place the material on top of the hook shank and secure it with two or three pinch wraps. Ensure that the poly yarn is aligned with the shank.

Step 5: Forming the Post

Lift the front section of the poly yarn, making securing wraps in front of the tying-in point to make the post stand up. Hold the post up and wrap the thread around it in an upward direction. This forms the base for the parachute hackle that will be tied in later. Move the thread to the base of the post.

Step 6: Wrapping the Abdomen

Prepare the dubbing by loosening it and creating a small noodle. Take the noodle of dubbing and start wrapping it around the hook shank, building up the abdomen of the fly. Make sure to leave space behind the post for the thorax.

Step 7: Adding the Parachute Hackle

Select a high-quality hackle feather that matches the size and color of the insects you’re imitating. Strip off any excess fibers from the base.

Place the feather at a 45-degree angle to the hook shank, with the shiny side facing down and the dull side up. Begin wrapping the hackle feather around the post in tight, evenly spaced turns, moving upward toward the hook eye.

Step 8: Securing the Hackle and Trimming Excess

Once you have made several wraps with the hackle, secure it by wrapping the thread around the base of the post. Trim the excess hackle feather, leaving a small stub for a neat finish.

Step 9: Forming the Thorax

Use the remaining dubbing to create a small noodle for the thorax. Wrap the dubbing tightly around the hook shank, forming a well-rounded thorax just behind the post.

Step 10: Final Thread Wraps and Whip Finishing

Take a few final threads wraps to secure the thorax and tidy up any loose materials. Once satisfied, use the whip finishing tool to create a tight knot, securing the thread. Trim off the excess thread, leaving a clean finish.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully tied a Klinkhammer fly. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate details and the craftsmanship you’ve put into creating this versatile and effective pattern.

With practice, you’ll be able to tie Klinkhammer flies with confidence, customize them to match various insect hatches, and enjoy the excitement of fooling fish with your own creations.

Tips and Techniques for Success

To truly master the art of tying a Klinkhammer fly, it’s essential to pay attention to the details and implement some expert tips and techniques. These insights will help you elevate the quality of your tied flies and increase your chances of success on the water. Let’s explore some valuable tips and tricks to enhance your fly-tying skills.

Precision in Wrapping the Thread

One of the key factors that contribute to a well-tied Klinkhammer fly is precision in wrapping the thread. Ensure that your thread wraps are tight and evenly spaced throughout the tying process.

This helps to secure the materials firmly in place and maintain the desired shape and profile of the fly. Practice maintaining consistent tension on the thread to achieve professional-looking wraps.

Securing Materials Effectively

Properly securing materials is crucial for the durability and effectiveness of the fly. When tying in materials such as poly yarn for the post or hackle feathers, make sure to use enough wraps to firmly anchor them to the hook shank.

However, be cautious not to add excessive bulk, as it may affect the overall appearance and buoyancy of the fly. Take your time to position and secure each material accurately, ensuring they are aligned and properly distributed.

Experimenting with Materials and Colors

One of the exciting aspects of fly tying is the opportunity to experiment with different materials and colors to create variations of the Klinkhammer fly. While the traditional white poly yarn is commonly used, don’t hesitate to explore other colors and textures that closely resemble the insects you’re imitating.

Consider using synthetic materials that offer improved flotation properties or natural materials for a more realistic appearance. By experimenting with different combinations, you can tailor your flies to match specific insect hatches or create attractor patterns that entice fish to strike.

Adjusting Fly Size

The size of your Klinkhammer fly can have a significant impact on its effectiveness in different fishing situations.

Consider tying the fly in various sizes, ranging from larger versions for attractor flies or fast-moving water to smaller sizes for imitating specific hatches or more selective fish.

By having a range of sizes in your fly box, you can adapt to different fishing conditions and increase your chances of success.

Attention to Proportions

Maintaining proper proportions in your Klinkhammer fly is essential for achieving a balanced and lifelike appearance. Pay attention to the length of the post, the abdomen, and the thorax, ensuring they are proportionate to the hook size.

Avoid excessive bulk or overly long materials that may affect the fly’s buoyancy or natural presentation. Consistency in proportions across your flies will enhance their visual appeal and increase their effectiveness.

Don’t be discouraged if your initial attempts don’t meet your expectations. Embrace the learning process, seek feedback from experienced tiers, and continue to refine your techniques.

With time and dedication, you’ll develop the skills and creativity to tie exceptional Klinkhammer flies that bring excitement and success to your fly fishing endeavors.

Use of Floatants and Proper Fly Preparation

To maximize the effectiveness of your Klinkhammer fly on the water, it’s crucial to consider the buoyancy of the fly and its ability to float. This section will delve into the significance of floatants, recommended products, and proper fly preparation techniques to ensure optimal performance.

The Significance of Floatants

Floatants play a vital role in keeping your Klinkhammer fly buoyant and riding high on the water’s surface. They prevent the fly from becoming waterlogged and sinking below the surface, mimicking the natural behavior of an emerging insect.

By keeping the fly visible and easily distinguishable to fish, floatants increase your chances of attracting strikes.

Recommended Floatant Products

Several floatant options are available, and choosing the right one can make a difference in the longevity and effectiveness of your fly. Here are a few recommended floatant products:

1. Loon Outdoors Royal Gel: This gel-based floatant is ideal for prepping dry flies before use. It effectively coats the fly’s post and hackle, providing excellent buoyancy and water repellency.

2. Loon Outdoors Top Ride: Top Ride is a powdered floatant that revives and enhances the float ability of flies that have been used. By simply dusting the fly with the powder, it absorbs moisture and restores buoyancy.

4. Loon Outdoors Aquel: Aquel is a traditional paste floatant that is excellent for treating flies with larger bodies or synthetic materials. Its high-viscosity formula provides long-lasting buoyancy and keeps the fly riding high on the water.

5. Dilly Wax: Dilly Wax is a popular option for treating dry flies and emergers. It is easy to apply by rubbing the wax on the fly, and it helps repel water and keep the fly floating for extended periods.

Proper Fly Preparation

Before heading out to the water, it’s essential to prepare your Klinkhammer fly for optimal performance properly. Here are a few tips:

  • Apply Floatant: Before using the fly, ensure it is proofed well by coating the post and hackle with a floatant. This step enhances the fly’s ability to float and ride high on the water’s surface, improving its visibility to fish.
  • Dry the Fly: If you have previously fished with the fly and it becomes waterlogged, use a powdered floatant, such as Top Ride, to dry and revive the fly. Gently apply the powder and distribute it evenly, reviving the fly’s buoyancy.
  • Inspect and Clean: Before each use, carefully inspect the fly for any damage or signs of wear. Trim or replace any damaged hackle fibers or materials that may affect its performance. Cleaning the fly by removing excess debris or algae will help maintain its effectiveness.

By following these floatant and fly preparation techniques, you ensure that your Klinkhammer fly remains buoyant, visible, and enticing to fish. Don’t forget to reapply floatant as needed during your fishing session, especially if the fly becomes waterlogged or loses its buoyancy.

Where and When to Use the Klinkhammer Fly?

The versatility of the Klinkhammer fly makes it an excellent choice in various fishing scenarios and conditions. In this section, we’ll explore the ideal scenarios where the Klinkhammer fly excels, its effectiveness during specific hatches, and real-life success stories from experienced fly anglers.

Ideal Scenarios for the Klinkhammer Fly

The Klinkhammer fly shines in several fishing scenarios, making it a must-have pattern in your fly box. Here are a few situations where the Klinkhammer fly can be highly effective:

Emergence Situations: The Klinkhammer fly’s design closely imitates the behavior of emerging caddis and mayfly insects. It excels during hatch periods when insects transition from nymphs to adults and emerge from the water’s surface. The suspended abdomen and parachute hackle create a realistic silhouette that attracts fish during this critical stage.

Slow and Still Water: The Klinkhammer fly’s ability to float well on the surface makes it ideal for fishing in slow-moving or still waters such as lakes, ponds, and calm sections of rivers. It sits naturally on the surface film, making it an enticing target for trout and other fish species.

Selective Fish: When fish become selective and refuse traditional dry fly patterns, the Klinkhammer can be a game-changer. Its unique design and presentation often fool wary fish that have become accustomed to more common patterns.

Effectiveness During Specific Hatches

The Klinkhammer fly’s effectiveness is particularly notable during specific insect hatches. Here are a few instances where the Klinkhammer shines:

Caddis Hatch: During a caddis hatch, when the water is alive with emerging caddisflies, the Klinkhammer fly imitates the vulnerable and high-floating pupa stage perfectly. Its silhouette and suspended abdomen mimic the natural insects, triggering aggressive strikes from trout and other fish species.

Mayfly Emergence: Mayfly hatches are highly anticipated events for fly anglers. The Klinkhammer fly’s ability to imitate an emerging mayfly with its extended body and suspended abdomen makes it a go-to pattern during these hatches. It effectively represents the vulnerable stage of mayflies transitioning from nymphs to adults.


The Klinkhammer fly is a versatile and effective pattern that every fly angler should have in their arsenal. With its ability to imitate emerging caddis and mayfly insects, it can entice even the most selective fish.

By following the step-by-step tying instructions and incorporating the tips and techniques shared, you can create a high-quality Klinkhammer fly that will perform exceptionally on the water.

Remember to properly prepare the fly using floatants to ensure it remains buoyant and ready for action. Whether you’re fishing during specific hatches or in slow-moving waters, the Klinkhammer fly has proven it’s worth time and time again.

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