How to Tie a Whistler Fly Pattern

Close up of a whistler fly pattern

Materials for the Whistler Fly

The special materials you’ll need in order to tie a successful whistler fly are:

  1. Hook – Mustad Streamer 8 and up, salt sizes 2 to 3/0
  2. Thread – 3/0 color black
  3. Eyes- large silver bead-chain, sized to match hook
  4. Weighted  – Optional med. lead wire
  5. Tail- Black bucktail with strands of crystal flash and grizzly saddle hackle flanked on both sides
  6. Body – Crystal Estaz
  7. Collar- Grizzly saddle hackle

Tying Instructions

  1. Wrap thread to rear of hook.
  2. Optional weight, add several wraps of lead wire.
  3. Tie in a large bunch of bucktail.
  4. Add a few strands of Crystal flash.
  5. Over top of the bucktail add a grizzle saddle hackle on each side.
  6. Feathers curving in and the tips even.
  7. Secure really well by covering all the material and lead wire.
  8. Wrap thread to eye of hook tie in a set of bead chain eyes with figure eight wraps.
  9. If needed add a drop of Zap A Gap to insure the eyes are secure and don’t walk around the hook.
  10. Tie in red Crystal Estaz at the base of tail and wrap half way up hook and secure.
  11. Select a grizzle saddle hackle, strip off the fluff and tie in the hackle in front of the Estaz.
  12. Wrap hackle up the hook toward the eyes Tie off and secure the hackle right behind the eyes.
  13. Bring the thread over the bead eyes and build a small neat head.
  14. Tie off and coat the thread with head cement.

Note: If you need more weight you can substitute the bead chain eyes with lead barbell eyes. Or add weight to the hook before tying.

Whistler Fishing History

The Whistler fly pattern was designed by Dan Blantonan.  It is truly an all around great fly for all types of salt and fresh water game fish.  He named the fly The Whistler because of the whistling noise it makes on your cast if the fly cuts through the air just right.

You can fish the whistler fly pattern weighted and non weighted with great success.

How to Use a Whistler Fly Pattern

close up of a whistler fly pattern

This whistler fly pattern fishes the same as a streamer or wooly bugger, Upward, across stream/river cast with a figure eight, strip retrieve or just on a swing. On still water (lakes or ponds) make your cast and let the fly sink to different depths and retrieve with a slow or fast strip. Large and Small Mouth Bass can’t resist this fly. I have used this pattern tied on larger hooks in Canada for big Pike and my friend uses the same pattern for Stripped Bass with really good results. If you’re going to the salt to fish this summer, Tie this pattern on the larger salt hooks for saltwater species like Blues and Barracuda.

Tie a couple up, all the material for this fly come in a variety of colors, experiment, mix and match your colors and give them a try.  I’m sure this fly won’t let you down and will be one you keep in your fly box.

Good luck this summer.

Tight Lines,


Original Article By Brad Berlin

About The Author

Brad Berlin has been tying flies and fly fishing the streams of northeast and central Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He has guided on area streams and the Susquehanna River. Brad has taught classes in fly tying and casting and has served as president of the Columbia County Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

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