Turkey Feathers for Thanksgiving

Guest Blogger & FOM Tyer: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer Team Leader and owner of FrankenFly

Since it is Thanksgiving time and the primary focus is on turkey, here is a brief post about how you can use some of the turkey feathers available here at J.Stockard Fly Fishing.

First up, Mottled Turkey Quills. These feathers are best known for their use on the famous Muddler Minnow fly pattern as wings. These can also be used as wing casings on nymphs and possibly some sort of tailing material.

Ozark Oak Mottled Turkey Quills

Cinnamon Tipped Turkey Tail is a popular material used by many fly tyers. For me, this material immediately brings to mind a popular Michigan dry fly called the Borchers Special. The body of this fly is made of turkey tail. You basically take several tail fibers and tie them in. Once you do that you twist them with your fingers to form a noodle of sorts that you then wrap around the shank of the hook to form the body of the fly.

These feathers can also be used for wing cases and places where you may want a darker look than the mottled turkey feathers will give you.

Cinnamon Turkey Tail

Turkey Biot Quills can be used for making bodies for dry flies, nymphs, or emergers. You have probably seen them many times being used as tailing and antennae on stone fly patterns. They come in a variety of colors and are very handy to have in your material arsenal.

Turkey Biot Quills

Premo Turkey Flats were described by A.K. Best at one point as being good for posts and wings on dry flies. A more modern use for these flats are shoulder props on Intruder fly patterns. They help prop the materials up in each station of your Intruder. With their stiffness, they are no doubt great for that type of application.

Keep in mind to be creative when using these various turkey feathers. By being creative you may find a good use for them that you haven’t read about or seen online.

Premo Turkey Flats

The whole team at J. Stockard Fly Fishing wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

2 thoughts on “Turkey Feathers for Thanksgiving

  1. Michael Vorhis

    Happy Thanksgiving Paul. I love turkey tail feathers; sometimes I wander around where wild turkey flocks roam (there are lots of them around where I live), looking for the tail feathers, but the birds seem to hang onto them pretty well and finding one isn’t very frequent. It’s easier to buy some nice ones. They last a long time and to your point the barbs are really very durable.

    Never used them as streamer feather “props” so thanks for that great suggestion. My main use for them has been for wing cases–the best wing case in fly tying, IMO. My chief issue with turkey tail feathers is that they look so nice and so buggy & perfect that I feel guilty snipping pieces out of them. I guess I need one to dissect and one to keep intact. : )

    – Mike

    Reply
  2. Mike Cline

    Much like Pheasant Tail, Turkey quill fibers are ideal for soft hackle fly bodies. 3-4 quill fibers tied in at the tip and wound forward creates a segmented body with significant contrasts. One of my favorite soft hackle materials.

    Reply

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