Although I call this fly “The Last Walt’s”, I’m all but certain it won’t be the last “Walt’s Worm” variation I tie. This is one of those patterns that doesn’t represent anything in particular but a whole bunch of things in general - caddis larva, scuds, sow bugs, cranefly larva, mayfly nymphs, who knows.
I start with a Dai-Riki #285 in a size 16. After mashing the barb, I’ll get hold of a black 7/64” Cyclops bead. Place the bead onto the hook, small hole first, and push the bead all the way up to behind the hook eye. You can then get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise.
.02 round lead-free wire contributes to the weight and helps to build up the body of the fly. Plunger-style hackle pliers make it easy to get the wire started on the hook shank. You can then make 8 or so wraps before breaking the wire off. By the time you get the tail end squared away, you should be left with 10 or so wraps shoved well up into the back of the bead.
For thread, I like UTC 140 Denier in fluorescent chartreuse. You can use 70 Denier if you have a good bit of confidence in your thread splitting skills. Get your thread started on the hook shank behind the wire and take a few wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. Then, really cover up the wire with tying thread. Try to make it so no wire is peeking through and you have a nice ramp down to the hook shank.
The only remaining material is light hare’s mask fur. Pull an ample clump free from the packet. You won’t use it all, but it’s good to have it out and at the ready. Give your bobbin a gentle counterclockwise spin to un-cord and flatten the thread. Use your bodkin to smooth and flatten it even further, then split the thread up near the fly with the point of the bodkin. Pull down and tuck the tip of your left hand index finger between the two strands to hold them open. Begin placing small slips of dubbing between the strands until you’ve got about a 3” length. Remove your finger to close the strands and sandwich the fur. Then, give your bobbin a hearty clockwise spin to cord up the thread and create a spiky length of dubbing rope.
Start taking touching wraps with it up the hook shank all the way to the back edge of the bead. Un-cord your thread a bit and then take a few wraps to build up a narrow color band behind the bead. Follow with a 4 to 5 turn whip finish before snipping or cutting your tying thread free. After all, without the band, it simply wouldn’t be The Last Walt’s.
Now comes the fun part. Break out your dubbing brush and really let the fly have it- top, sides and bottom, the bushier the better. Then take your scissors and trim the fur off close along the back and sides. You want to see that colored thread shining through. Clear away the trimmed fur and then snip the underside, leaving about a hook gap’s worth of fur. Apply a good drop of head cement to the exposed thread wraps to ensure they won’t come unraveled and you’re ready to fish.
When the fly gets wet, the bright thread wraps become even more visible beneath the fur giving the fly a very unique and natural look.
The Last Walt’s has worked really well for me so far this spring on local streams. I can’t wait to give it a try up on Cripple Creek.