Following on a little from last month’s Tutorial (November 2016 Cow Dung Hopper) I thought I’d offer up the wee river version mentioned in the text, along with a wee ‘Alternative Olive’, so you’re getting two for the rice of one.

This is a very simple pattern and one that’s worked for me pretty well over the years when the natural Cow Dung flies have been present (worth noting that it’s been successful even when I’ve not noted any adults on the water)

Really easy to tie with essentially only two materials required (three if you count the hook) but it can be a little more than one for ‘Emergency Use’ only, given a slight change in thread colour to red makes this pattern a not-too-shabby olive as well.  Don’t ask me why the thread change to red should work (if anything you’d expect the original yellow thread, or a switch to medium or even light olive to be more in line with naturals) it just does.

Originally I got this wee pattern from an old friend of mine, Ivor Young, who had been gifted a yellow grizzle hackle some years previous and had tied up the red bodied version more by experiment than for any real purpose.  However he used it one day in big dirty water on the Tweed and it worked, so in turn I tried it with equal success on my more northern favoured rivers with equal success.  (Especially in big coloured water).  The only other concession I made from Ivor’s original is the trimming of the hackle under the hook as I prefer a nice ‘low riding’ profile, however try both as ‘full dressed’ can be pretty successful as well.

Ivor’s Olive has also been successful on lochs as well and it was in the yellow garb that I first tried it as a Cow Dung imitation with a little bit of success.  However, as good as it was on running water, the Hopper version totally out-fished it on the lochs and vice versa so I simply have some of each to suit the venue and occasion.

So there you have it, easy and straightforward and all three worth a ‘swim’ at least, I’m sure you’ll not be disappointed.


River Cow Dung (Allan Liddle)

Hook: Partridge Patriot Standard Dry (SUD2) or Dry Fly Supreme (L5A) Size 12 – 14 (14 best)

Thread: Uni 6/0 or 8/0 in yellow

Butt: Tying thread

Hackle: Yellow Grizzle Saddle Cock

Ivor’s Olive (Ivor Young)

Hook: Partridge Patriot Standard Dry (SUD2) or Dry Fly Supreme (L5A) Size 12 – 14 (14 best)

Thread: Uni 6/0 or 8/0 in red

Butt: Tying thread

Hackle: Yellow Grizzle Saddle Cock


Tying Sequence:

Step 1 Catch in thread and run down to just above bend then return third of way back to form butt

Step 2 Select hackle and prepare to tie in

Step 3 Catch in hackle from tip and trim off waste

Step 4 Run thread to just short of head and palmer hackle in touching turns making sure to 'brush' hackle back at each turn

Step 5 Secure hackle at head of fly and trim off waste

Step 6 Form small head and whip finish

Step 7 Stroke hackles 'square' to hook

Step 8 Trim hackles level along bottom of fly to ensure it sits correctly in the water

River Cow Dung - Above Image

Alternative Ivor's Olive


Both pictured above

Allan Liddle

Based in Moray in Scotland's North East, Allan has specialises with the wild trout from the rivers and burns, lochs and lochans throughout Mainland Scotland and the Isles. A strong passion for fishing simple dries he feels there's nothing better than to see the fish take off the top, but isn't slow to fish a range of different styles when mood or conditions dictate. Although trout is his first love Allan occasionally chases the Salmon, Grayling stocked fish and even dabbles in salt water when the chance arises.

Allan has also represented Scotland at international level, is a GAIA qualified trout instructor and a has been a regular contributor to Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Magazine for almost twenty years. Allan’s love of fly tying spans almost thirty years and has been a regular at many tying demonstrations and work shops prior to, and since joining the Partridge Pro-Team in 2013.

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