I first saw the Stayner Ducktail when I was stationed in Montana more than 30 years ago. It was featured in a book by Marv Taylor and suggested for pond “dredging”. Dredging is when you cast out a fly, let it sink and slowly twitch it back; if you’re not trying this technique, you’re missing out. The fly design is over 80 years old and it works very well here in Maine. You should keep a few of this easy to tie killers in your box; this pattern is not widely seen here in Maine and it takes good sized trout.
Recipe for the Stayner Ducktail
Thread – Black
Hook – Streamer hook, 4x long. Size 4-10
Tail – Red hackle fibers
Body – Olive chenille
Hackle- Red hackle fibers, beard style
Rib- Gold Mylar
Wing – Mallard flank feather, flat-wing style
Start with a 4x long streamer hook. This is shorter than the 8x long streamer hooks we traditionally use for streamers up here. Tie in the red tail, rather long. Tie in some gold Mylar for a rib, to be wrapped later. The body is olive chenille, you should also try olive variegated chenille. Use your thumbnail to strip off a quarter inch or so of the chenille fibers. You’ll see that the core of the chenille is a couple of strands of cotton thread. If you tie in your chenille by these strands of thread, you won’t have a “bump” at the rear of your fly. Wrap the chenille forward to just behind the eye and tie off; trim the excess. Now wrap the Mylar rib forward. Try wrapping it in the opposite direction that you wrapped the chenille body. This will keep it from sinking into the chenille too far and being out of sight. It’s important to remember to wrap the Mylar tight, a trout’s teeth can catch on it and cut it or pull it loose.
Tie in a red hackle fiber beard and select a mallard flank feather for a wing. Take a minute to notice that mallard flank feathers come in two shapes: long and thin or short and wide. You want the long and thin ones for this wing. The wing should lay flat on the body and extend to just past the end of the tail. Strip off the excess fibers at the base of the mallard flank until what you have left is a feather the right length and then tie it on top. Trim off the excess stem. I also get good results with dyed olive mallard flank.
I don’t know whether this fly is mistaken for a dragonfly nymph or for a small baitfish, but it is effective. Easy to find materials, easy to tie, easy on the wallet, and attractive to trout. You should tie some of these.