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Home->Articles->Fly Patterns->Archives->Collaborator (Clear Water Style)   
Fly Patterns
Collaborator (Clear Water Style)

Hook: Daiichi 1120 or 1150 #10-12
Thread: MFC 8/0 or UTC 70, Tan for body, Brown for Thorax
Rib: Fine Copper Wire
Butt: Holographic Red Mylar
Body: Frostbite, Summer Duck
Thorax:  8/0 Brown Tying Thread 
Wingcase:  Pearlescent Mylar
Wingpads: Orange Stretch Floss
Gills: UV2 Sparkle Yarn or Uni-Stretch, White

Tying Note: Coat Entire fly with the exception of the gills with a coating of Loon UV Clear Fly Finish Flow.

The Collaborator traces its roots to a creative tying session between friends amongst the breakfast dishes on White Lake near the town of Salmon Arm, British Columbia. The previous day trout had shown a decided preference to a rusty brown chironomid with a distinct red butt, a hemoglobin remnant from the larval stage. Clear bodies of water such as White Lake are challenging arenas for the fly fisher. Trout are often visible as they forage the shoals for their next meal. It is commonplace to have trout meander or even rush the fly only to turn away at the last second unimpressed with either the presentation or the pattern. The clear water style of chironomids was created with clear water and pressured conditions in mind. Since the explosion of bead head designs throughout fly tying and fishing trout on pressured bodies of water often become pattern sensitive. Using similar innovative patterns such as the epoxy buzzers, common to United Kingdom fly fishers, as a template the clear water style chironomid pupa offers a life-like alternative and is often the difference when fish are fickle or critical. The thread thorax and Super Floss wing pads are adaptable to any chironomid pupa pattern. Try hot orange wing pads for algae stained waters were visibility is a factor.

Tying Instructions


Cover the hook shank with tying thread.  Leave the tying thread hanging near the hook eye.  Tie in the wire rib along the near side of the hook and secure down the shank to the bend.



Tie in the butt material at the read of the hook and wind forward 3 to 4 times to create a distinct red butt.  Tie off the excess material.  Wind the tying thread forward applying a thin sparse coating of thread.  Remember the goal is to keep the fly skinny and keep in mind that the thread color does have an effect upon the finished fly color.



Cut a 1.5 inch length of Midge Braid, grasp both ends and pull to unravel.  Moisten end the unraveled Midge Braid and tie in place at the front of the hook at the trimmed end of the material.  Since the Midge Braid retains its memory from its woven form bind the material in place anywhere along its length.  Once in place pull slowly until the material just about slips out from under the tying thread.  Add a few additional thread wraps for added durability.


For more information on working with Frostbite see my Working With Frostbite article in the Fly Tying segment contained within my Members Only section



Wind the Frostbite back down the hook shank to the butt and back up to its original tie in area.  Tie off the remaining Frostbite and trim the excess.  Make sure there are no thread gaps showing through the Frostbite.



Counter wind the rib around the rear of the butt and then carry on forward in open wraps over the body.  Winding the rib around the rear of the butt provides a degree of added protection.  Carry the tying thread forward to the hook eye and tie in the Uni-Stretch floss so the majority of the material protrudes out over the hook eye.  Place a few wraps under the gills at the hook eye to cock the gills up.  Trim the butt end of the Uni-Stretch floss on an angle sloping back towards the rear of the hook and cover with tying thread.



Carry the tying thread forward to the hook eye and tie in the pearlescent Mylar wingcase material directly on top of the hook shank with the majority protruding out in front of the hook eye as was done with the gill material.  Return the tying thread back up to the hook eye and tie in the Stretch Floss wingpads along each side of the thorax.  Trim all waste material trailing back along the hook shank.



Cover the thorax area with tying thread making sure the waste ends of the wingcase and wingpads are covered.  From a bulbous thorax but keep in mind the overall slim profile of the natural chironomid pupa. Spinning the bobbin in a counter clockwise fashion unravels the tying thread and allows for nice even flat wraps.



Starting on the far side of the fly pull the wingpad material back along the side of the hook shank and tie off.  Pull the wingcase material back over the top of the thorax and tie off.  Pull the last wingpad along the near side of the hook and tie off.  Use a minimum of wraps as each tie off results in a cumulative build up of thread.  When pulling the wingpad material back do not pull too tightly as the Stretch Floss may spring out from under the thread wraps once the waste ends are trimmed.



Trim the waste ends of the wingcase and wingpad material.  Whip finish the fly at the rear of the thorax using 4 to 5 wraps only.  Try to place the whip finish wraps one on top off each other to avoid building up too much bulk.  Coat the entire body and thorax with Loon's UV Clear Fly Finish Flow for added durability and shine.


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