Tailwater Humpy



The Tailwater Humpy is a great dry fly for imitating mayflies.  This pattern is very thin and sparse which makes it a great pattern for matching natural insects.  Matching specific species of mayflies is as simple as changing the hook size, color thread, and if your really particular the hackle.  Originally designed by Ken Burkholder, the Tailwater Humpey is now sold by Idlywilde Flies in yellow, red, olive, and pink.  A take off of the original patter the Humpy, this fly is also an easy tie and the only materials used are moose hair, antron (or any wingpost material you like), thread, and hackle.  Give the Tailwater Humpy a try the next time picky rising fish are refusing your go to mayfly dry and hold on..


  • Hook: MFC 7000
  • Thread: 8/0 Uni
  • Tail: 6-8 Moose hairs
  • Hump: 8-10 Moose hairs
  • Body: Thread
  • Wing: Antron or Poly yarn
  • Hackle: Size and color to match fly

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Start by putting the hook in your vice and begin a thread base at the eye and advance it halfway down the shank of the hook.

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Take 6-8 strands of moose hair and stack it in a hair stacker.  Measure the tail so that it is approximately one hook shank in length and clip the hair so the butt ends will be at the point where you stopped your thread.  Tie in the hair there and advance your thread all the way down the shank making one wrap behind the hook and under the hair to keep it up and make the fly ride low.  Advance your thread back to the tie in point making sure to use edge to edge wraps with your thread.

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Now take 8-10 strands of moose hair and tie them in on top of the last clump of moose hair advancing your thread using edge to edge wraps to the hook bend and then back to the tie in point.  Make sure that the thread completely covers the moose hair because this is the body of the fly.

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Fold the moose hair back over the body and secure using 3-4 wraps making sure to keep the hair on the top of the shank and trim the excess.  Advance the thread halfway between the point where the hair is tied in and the hook eye.

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Tie in the wing post (I’m using orange antron for a Hi-Vis variant) on top of the shank and trim the excess material going towards the hook bend.  Make sure to completely cover with thread.

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Pull the wingpost back towards the tail and build up enough thread in front of the post to make it stand straight.  Then wrap the thread up the wingpost and back down to the shank.

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Remove some barbs from your hackle and tie in the stem at the base of the wingpost and advance your thread to just behind the eye.

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Wrap the hackle up and back down the wingpost over the thread base on it making sure not to wrap over the hackle and trap the barbs.  Then bring the hackle to the just behind the eye and preen the barbs back and secure with a few wraps of thread.  Trim the excess and whip finish to complete the Tailwater Humpy.