Cow Dung Fly

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tie2fish
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Location: Harford County, MD

Cow Dung Fly

Post by tie2fish » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:46 am

Looking through various listings of patterns tabulated by fly fishing writers over the years, “Cow Dung” appears frequently, appearing in the literature at least as far back as 1836 in Alfred Ronald’s “Fly Fishers Entomology”. The insect it is intended to mimic is a true fly (order Diptera), which have a single pair of wings that originate behind the legs and lie flat and crossed when the insect is at rest. Despite this, all the images I have seen of dressings show the same profile as that traditionally used for winged mayflies, with only the concession of having the wing slanted back at a severe angle.

Also, various recipes call for body color ranging from lemon to green, with materials varying from worsted (crewel) wool to peacock herl. This seeming discrepancy can be explained by the fact that while the male dung fly common in Britain is a yellowish orange, the female is a dull olive. There are also differences about the material to be used for the wing, with at least one specifying dark mallard wing slips. I attribute this to the fact that the wings of the dung fly are a color best mimicked by slips from the secondary wing feathers of the landrail, a bird that is today universally protected. (Until the starling was declared endangered in Britain and placed on the protected list, Veniard used to sell starling wings dyed brown as a credible sub for land rail; even those are in very short supply these days.)

Because it fits well into this forum, I have relied pretty much on Jim Leisenring’s version of the pattern as put forth in “The Art of Tying the Wet Fly”:

Hook: #12, #13 (I used a Mustad 94840, Size #12)
Thread: Orange silk
Hackle: Ginger similar to body color
Body: Yellow crewel wool, seal fur, or mohair mixed with a little brown fur to … give the whole a dirty
orange tinge (I used a blend of 85% yellow wool, 10% medium orange seal, and 5% medium brown
Aussie possum)
Wings: Landrail (slips) slightly longer than body sloping back close over body with glossy side out (I used
Veniard dyed starling as sub)
Cow Dung.JPG
Cow Dung.JPG (38.15 KiB) Viewed 221 times
In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.
dj1212
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:13 pm

Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by dj1212 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:46 pm

Great looking fly. Like it alot. Could you tell me what color the Veniard dyed starling is? Thanks
wsbailey
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Location: Fort Wayne Indiana

Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by wsbailey » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:58 pm

Great looking fly and photo!

Image
wsbailey
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Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by wsbailey » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:14 pm

I think chukar tail make a good substitute for landrail.

Image Image
daringduffer
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Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by daringduffer » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:50 pm

Great fly and reference information. I wonder if they tied the wing like that out of ignorance (not likely) or to make the pattern more generic. Could it be just following convention? (That would be ignorance, I guess).

(Roger Woolley calls for a few fibres of green intermixed).

dd
daringduffer
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Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by daringduffer » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:55 pm

wsbailey wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:58 pm
Great looking fly and photo!

Image
Bill, I saw highland cattle acting like that earlier today. My dog wondered what they were doing. She watched them and then me, asking for an explanation. I tried, but she lost interest, pouncing on a passing frog instead.

dd
wsbailey
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Location: Fort Wayne Indiana

Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by wsbailey » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:56 pm

Ogden says the wings should be put on flat. I'm not sure what that means.

https://books.google.com/books?id=BvxIA ... en&f=false
wsbailey
Posts: 426
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Location: Fort Wayne Indiana

Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by wsbailey » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:01 pm

Those cows might leave some dubbing where they like to rub.
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hankaye
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Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by hankaye » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:05 pm

tie2fish, Howdy;

Dang Bill! Very little difference between you tied fly and the photo,
about the only thing missing is the smile and smoke after the fact...

hank
Striving for a less complicated life since 1949...
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redietz
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Re: Cow Dung Fly

Post by redietz » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:28 pm

wsbailey wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:56 pm
Ogden says the wings should be put on flat. I'm not sure what that means.

https://books.google.com/books?id=BvxIA ... en&f=false
Many a fly pattern started out imitative and became conventionalized over the years. This pattern and the Hawthorn (as shown in Bergman) are my poster children for phenomenon.
Bob
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