Darlene Fly


A few seasons back, our late friend Don Harris led one of our fly tying sessions demonstrating how to tie this innovative pattern of his. If memory serves me it was developed to imitate the herring present in the upper Merrimack each spring. As most of you probably know many of the largest stripers caught in the river each year are caught in the springtime between Haverhill and Lawrence and this fly was the undoing of many of those large stripers for Don and his friends. The following instructions are based on the handout Don gave out the evening he led the fly tying session. The fly pictured here was tied by Rick Pinto that evening.


3/0 streamer size bent so the gap widened to 5/0 or 6/0 (optional: Eagle Claw 254ss or equiv short shank hook)


At the hook bend tie in 2 or 4 yellow or chartreuse saddle hackles. (Don preferred saddles with sparse barbs). Overlap these with 6 (3 per side) long white saddle hackles. The white saddles should be about 1/3 longer than the yellow or chartreuse hackle. Put 8-10 strands of Krystal Flash (or Flashabou) on each side. Length should be slightly shorter than saddle hackles.


Don preferred pearl bodi-braid but suggested “anything”


Tied behind the eye as for a deceiver: White, chartreuse, or yellow bucktail (Don referred to the bucktail tied in on the bottom as the “throat” and the bucktail tied in at the top as the “wing, 1st stage”).


Large plastic, pre-attached to a 3/8” wide piece of nylon “strapping” with contact cement. Trim with scissors leaving about 1/4” sticking out for a tie-down. Attach with thread and a small amount of superglue behind the hook eye.


(What Don referred to as the “wing 2nd stage”) Blue streamer hair tied in on top between the eyes, extending to the ends of the hackle tail. (Don preferred Icelandic Sheep Streamer Hair).

Tying Tips

The “secret” to this fly is that the method of attaching the eyes flairs the bucktail collar upward and downward, lifting the Streamer hair topping, creating a very deep profile and thin silhouette.