The France Fly Fly Tying Tutorial

A lot of you have been asking for a tutorial for the Soft Hackle Carrot lately. I filmed it this week but realized I needed more inventory for a couple materials in the shop so I will post it in a couple of weeks when I return from some presentations and a Fly Fishing Team USA practice. In the meantime, I figured it was a good time to post a tutorial on the France Fly that I mentioned in my blog post on my first session on the Eagle River in last year's world championship. It's a great super simple fly that represents baetis nymphs or any other small mayflies you might encounter on a river. It's a fly that resides in a lot of my teammates boxes, particularly those who have fished with US Youth Fly Fishing Teammembers.

The fly originated at the vise of former youth world fly fishing champion Hunter Hoffler. I asked him for a backstory on it and this is what he had to say.

“It is honestly a fly that I have been using forever but it earned its name when I was shadowing the team for the world championships in France, the one before my first world championship. The fishing on all the rivers was pretty tough. It was a lot of skinny warm water and required light nymph presentations that a lot of the members at the time were not used to. We needed a realistic fly that was easy to fish high in the column but also was hydrodynamic enough to tuck cast and get in to the few deep runs where we found a few grayling. We were struggling pre-fishing on the Lot River, everyone was catching maybe 7 to 12 fish a day and working hard for them so while everyone was practicing on another venue, Paul Bourcq, Chris Lee and I went and tried to figure the Lot out. I fished the fly by itself on 7X and caught about 25 fish in one hour... and the France Fly was born.. I’ve probably caught more fish on a size 16 silver beaded France fly than any other fly I’ve ever tied by a longshot.

Given Hunter's resume and his endorsement I think there should be plenty of motivation to add this fly to your box. I tie it in both an olive and dark olive variation. You can see the two versions in the photo for the video at the top of this post. The recipes are below. Keep scrolling for add to cart links that make it easy for you to get all of the materials you need.

Recipe for the dark olive version (the one in the video):

  • Hook: Hazard HH11, Hazard HH3, Hanak 450, or Hanak 230 sizes 14-18
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  • Bead: Silver slotted Tactical Fly Fisher tungsten bead
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  • Thread: olive dun 16/0 Veevus
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  • Weight: 0.010" lead wire
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  • Tail: Coq de leon dark speckled corzuno
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  • Abdomen: olive brown Hareline micro tubing
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  • Thorax: Hareline hare's ear dubbing. You can play with the dubbing to add flash or hot spots.

For the light olive version, swap the bead to copper and the thread and micro tubing to olive.

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