Fly of the Month

Bob Ireton brings together his experience in fly fishing, aquatic entomology, and knowledge of fly tying techniques and materials, to design and tie durable and effective flies.

   Volume 3,  Issue 4                                                                    April  2002


Fly and Text by Bob Ireton
Photography by Bob Kimsey and Bob Ireton

Carl Richards and his fishing buddy, John Krause, were camping on the Muskegon River in the spring of 1998. John had a guiding job with a client from Chicago, Illinois, and they were discussing that the hatches had not been especially good. The client from Chicago pulled out his fly box, and handed Carl and John each a fly. He said to try it tomorrow if the fishing got slow. Carl and John looked at the plain looking fly, and inwardly weren’t very impressed. However, the fly proved to be a real success! They started calling the fly ‘The Chicago Fly’. Carl Richards calls it “ The best wet fly I’ve ever found!”

You can fish ‘The Chicago’ about any way you like. Strip it like a streamer, swing it like a wet fly, or dead drift with a strike indicator like a nymph. It can resemble a black stonefly nymph, a dobsonfly larva, and even a small baitfish. The original is black, but you can use other colors to get the effect you want. Just use only 100% mohair!


 Hook – Mustad 9672, DaiRiki 710, Daiichi 1720, Eagle Claw L058, Orvis 1526, Partridge SH3 Size 8-10 

Beadhead Eye – 5/32” Black Cyclops Eye 

Thread – 6/0 Black 

Tail – Black 100% Mohair and two strands only of Pearlescent Crystal Flash 

Body – Black 100% Mohair (no substitutes)



1 – Crimp down barb, if desired, and place the cyclops eye on the hook by guiding the hook point through the smaller of the holes, and leave the bead on the hook shank. Now place the hook properly in the vice. Build a thread base behind the hook eye, the length of approximately two bead diameters. Add layers of thread, while checking the fit of the bead. When the fit is almost right, do a whip finish, which should make the fit snug. Cut off the working thread, and work the bead over the thread till it is snug against the hook eye. Chicago-1.JPG (37210 bytes)

2 – Re-attach the working thread behind the bead, and build up a sloping ramp of thread behind the bead until the hole in the bead is covered. Now continue rearward with close wraps to form the thread base. When you get to a point above the barb, stop, and tie a half hitch.


Chicago-2.JPG (35810 bytes)
3 – Tie in a small amount of frayed mohair about half the length of the hook shank for the tail. Add two strands only of the crystal flash, and trim to the length of the tail. Half hitch. Chicago-3.JPG (35291 bytes)
4 – Tie in a length of the mohair yarn above the barb for the body. Half hitch. Chicago-4.JPG (35899 bytes)

5 - Now palmer the yarn forward, picking out a few strands of the mohair on the top of the fly as you go forward. Keep it sparse. When you reach the bead, tie off the yarn, and cut off the tag end of the yarn. Tie a half hitch, then a narrow whip finish. Cut off the working thread, and add a small amount of head cement to the thread only behind the bead.


Chicago-5.JPG (36766 bytes)

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