The Humpy

UNI Products Fly Tiers Corner

A well-traveled pattern

October 2022

A Yellow Humpy with Wulff wings. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

By the time the Humpy reached the South, it already has a lot of miles behind it. This trout pattern was first developed by California tier Jack Horner back in the 1940s and was known as the Horner’s Deer Hair Fly. Later in the decade the name Humpy was first applied to it. That name is thought to have originated with Boots Allen, who was the proprietor of a fly shop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Another version of the fly was also introduced in the 1960s, when Western fly-tying guru Jack Dennis substituted elk hair for the that of the deer. Still, deer hair has remained the most common ingredient.

The pattern first made its way into the highlands of the Southeast in the decade of the 1950s. Its buggy appearance and buoyant qualities quickly gave it a place among the most successful attractor flies in our region. It’s ability to stay on the surface in our tumbling free-stone waters is one of its most endearing qualities. Southern fly tiers also have added a bit of a regional touch by often adding a Wulff wing to the pattern to make it more visible in the low light of our streams in the mountain vailleys.

Over the years several variations have also been developed, all of which are based on changing the color of the body dubbing. The Black Humpy, Green Humpy and Royal Humpy (with a red body) are a few of those.

Still, the most common tie has been the Yellow Humpy. Besides its use as an attractor, this version is a good imitation of the yellow Sallies, a small stonefly that is prevalent across the country.  Additionally, it has proven to be successful when larger golden stoneflies are present.

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