Fly Tying with Variegated Chenille (Contrast, Depth, Retro)

“While the commonly used animal and synthetic dubbing materials construct effective nymph and wet fly bodies, the variegated chenilles give the tier another option he/or she should consider. Variegation can create the illusion of depth better than most other materials because it is less opaque than solid colors; and because most aquatic life forms are also multicolored. It is my opinion that this “depth” is the primary reason these variegated chenille flies work so well. Almost any fly pattern that utilizes chenille can be improved when the tier uses these multicolored chenilles instead of solid colors….”

“The ubiquitous Woolly Worms and Woolly Buggers are prime examples. These flies can be dressed in any of the variegated colors. My favorite color combinations include: Black and brown; Brown and gray; Peacock and brown; Gold and dark olive; Olive and grey; Black and tan; Black and orange; and Black and burnt orange. By using different colored hackles, the tier can considerably broaden his Woolly Worm and Woolly Bugger assortments.” (Marv Taylor on Using Variegated Chenille in more of your patterns)

Variegated Chenille

Variegated, Sparkle Chenille

Back in the day, many fly tiers created fly bodies with animal furs, wool yarn or chenille. When variegated chenille came along as an option, it offered an appealing alternative to the solid colors. At first it was yellow and black, then olive and black. Today, there are numerous combinations of variegation. An added improvement to the variegation is metallic fibers. Another tying material that is ignored on those fly shop hooks?

Minnow Bugger (SwittersB) Variegated Sparkle Chenille

5 Responses to “Fly Tying with Variegated Chenille (Contrast, Depth, Retro)”

  1. 1 Fly to Fly
    January 18, 2010 at 17:43

    One hell of a fly Switters! Missed it first time around!


  2. 2 Bassarisk
    January 6, 2010 at 02:57

    Can I ask what the metallic flash material is used in the tail of the minnow bugger and is it still available to buy ??

    We had a similar material here in the UK many years ago called Mosaic – but the machine broke and they haven’t been able to produce a flat tinsel version of it since – the replacement is a twisted strand and doesn’t look as effective.



    • 3 SwittersB
      January 6, 2010 at 07:50

      Bassarisk….The material in the pic is Flashabou. I think you are talking about (round flash material) what we call Krystal Flash in US; other names elsewhere. It does not have the flash of the flat tinsels. The one consideration is that the smaller tinsels to not impede the movement of the tail material. The Flashabou I used for the Minnow Bugger is narrower than standard Flashabou. http://www.wapsifly.com/tinsels.html makes a wide variety of tinsels on spools. They will have a curve to the material, but it does uncurl in short order. Here is another product with a variety of narrow tinsels…http://www.taimen.com/mt/product_info.php?products_id=2530 has some very good pics of tinsels. There are so many available. I would shy away from what I call Xmas tree tinsel.


      • 4 Bassarisk
        January 7, 2010 at 06:24

        Thanks for the reply. Yes krystal flash is the same and available over here too (we also have a derivative called twinkle) – and I agree its twisted and nowhere near as good as the flash tinsels for reflective properties.

        I have a good selection of mirage accent and flashabou flat tinsels and a number of spooled up types like you mentioned, but I’m still intrigued about the exact product you used…..but am also curious if it was just a trick of the light that made the material so rainbow like or if it really looks like that in real life.

        The item we can’t get anymore looks like this:

        As you can see its not much different to what you used, hence my enquiry to see what the excat product you are using is.


        • 5 SwittersB
          January 7, 2010 at 08:15

          OK, I see. The Krsytal Flash does the same thing….it is the flash of my camera and the side lighting. Note the Sparkle Chenille did the same thing. I was actually not intending to get any specific look like that. It just showed and was beautiful and showed me the capabilities of the the material. I have since seen the same with Krystal Flash, albeit more subtle. I just checked in the bag that contains all the components for the Minnow Bugger. I have two materials that have both been used over time….They both are called ‘The Original Extra Limp, #6991, Flashabou. One has Waspi Label. One doesn’t. Both have address: Hedron Inc. 402 N. Main Street, Sillwater, Mn. 55082″ http://www.flashabou.com/ (site does not give adequate view) If it helps, the product I used has code 6691. The Waspi code is FH252 But, the Wapsi site only shows spooled tinsel (ugh) So, that is all I can tell you. I would not discount the value of Krystal Flash. I use it as much as Flashabou with good affect. The Minnow Bugger, when I first discovered it in a Central Oregon fly shop, had the Flashabou so I have stuck with it to excellent affect as well. I will see if we can find that material. Good luck.


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