The "Iwane Dun" with Phil Iwane

Phil is an innovative fly tyer that has really made a significant impact in the industry, and in the way that we as commercial tyers solve fishing problems. The "Iwane Dun" is a pattern that Phil produced in to solve the problem of presenting an adult mayfly dun to the picky trout in the famous Cheeseman Canyon and Eleven Mile Canyons of the South Platte River in Colorado. 

I also got the chance to ask Phil how he found fly fishing, and his story is pretty neat.

1. How'd you find fly fishing?

Phil told me, "I moved from Hawaii to Colorado in 1995, and was using powerbait and a spinning rod to catch a bunch of fish. A friend asked if he was getting tired catching with powerbait, so he tried fly fishing, and loved it. My friend also tied flies, and introduced him to it. Phil found himself getting more and more involved in the sport, and he brings up a point that I find very applicable to most of the die hard fly anglers out there. He says, "The more you like it the more you get involved.. you can always do more and get into more areas". This is one of my favorite things about fly fishing. The sky is truly the limit, and there's always something more to learn and do, something to improve, something to change.

2. What prompted you to tie the Iwan-E-Dun?

"I fish Cheeseman Canyon, and I was fishing the typical mayfly pattern with a great presentation, and wasn't hooking up. I knew the size and color was right, but the shape didn't match the natural". Phil brings up a problem that many anglers have noticed after fishing a significant amount of dry flies, and especially after examining real mayflies on the water, in hand, and up close. "I caught a few mayflies and put them in a test tube and compared it to common patterns, and they looked nothing like it, so I experimented with a bunch of patterns, and none of them gave me what I wanted". Phil describes the common problem with most mayfly patterns. They're typically tied with dubbing, which is scruffy and not smooth. The bodies of real mayflies are shiny and smooth, so the most realistic patterns match. Phil's bug does a great job of that.


The fly pattern uses thick monofilament tied on top of a curved hook. You have to flatten the mono with forceps so that it won't spin on top of the shank of the hook while you tie. But before Phil got the nice pattern you see pictured above, he played around with other extended body options, and was quickly disappointed in them. 

"The big deal about the fly is the abdomen, the extended body. I thought about it for a while, and I realized I could use monofilament". "It kept rolling on the shank of the hook, so that didn't work, but I ended up taking a pair of hemostats to flatten the mono, and it stayed on the hook without rolling. I palmered the thread over for color, and added microfibetts for the tail" "If you look at a natural, you'll find that the abdomen is shiny. Most patterns use dubbing, and this isn't shiny. ... I use solarez bone dry to make it"


"The needle technique fell apart quickly, and the chenille technique was too hard to tie, and ended up floppy". These are two common types of extended bodies. The first involves tying an extended body on a needle placed in the vise, then sliding it off and lashing it to a hook. This wasn't durable enough for Phil, and any type of chenille body gave him the same problem as the scruffy dubbing bodied duns that he had been using for years.

"Eventually I got the Iwane dun, and It did really well in Cheeseman and 11 mile canyons". With a slim, realistic, and durable pattern, It's no surprise that the pattern was a success, and was eventually picked up by Umpqua.

So next time you need a killer dun pattern that realistically imitates a mayfly, and has exceptional durability, look no farther than Phil's Iwan-E-Dun.





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