Dead Chickens

IMG_0598.jpg View attachment 20459 IMG_0282.JPG IMG_0261.JPG IMG_0269.JPG View attachment 19850 Some time ago, Doug Rose mentioned the "Dead Chicken" fly in his blog. I got a kick out of the name and while looking through Trey Combs's book the other night I came across the fly. I had to tie up a few. Although intended primarily as a Sea Run Cutthroat pattern it is similar to a few Steelhead patterns out there. Kind of reminds one of a Knudson's Spider too. Quick, easy, and fun to tie.
Anyone ever use it?


Active Member
I've tied these since I was a little kid. I never knew the name. My Dad just told me they were good for cutthroat because they had yellow and red. A few years ago my brother and I were heading to a local lake that is known to have cutthroat in it. We hadn't fished it since we were kids. We used to walk-in with our dad. We would bungee cord his jon boat on a set of wheels that he had secured to a 2x4. We'd pile our gear in there and then pull that thing into the lake. Anyway, I told Dad that we were going in there and he said, "you gotta use a yellow fly! Cutthroat like Yellow". I took a few minutes and sat down and quickly tied up a handful of these that I remembered from a kid. When we got the lake we were going through the ritual of selecting the fly to tie on. I told my brother, "Dad said to use a yellow fly". He said, "I don't have any YELLOW FLIES. I said, "here, one of us should try one of these. I tied them up just before we left". We caught more dang fish on those flies that day! They were getting torn to pieces and we still caught fish on them. Now whenever we go fishing and cutthroat are a possibility we look at each other and say, "I'm gonna use a YELLOW FLY. You gotta use a YELLOW FLY". When I use them in the rivers for Searun Cutthroat I always add a dark colored soft wing to them. I don't know if it makes any difference or not, but I like them and that in itself MAKES them better.


I was using this fly tied with an olive butt when I caught my very first Sea-Run Cutthroat (just happened to be my first fly caught fish and first WA fish as well!). It's great to finally be able to put a name to the pattern.

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
Jack, Steve Knapp tied the Dead Chicken in our historic Sea Run Cutthroat Swap last fall. It is a great pattern and I have caught many November fish on this pattern. Thanks for sharing buddy!
It was good to meet you at the beach today Jack! Too bad the silvers weren't showing any love to the dead chicken.
Hope you had some luck after I left.
Nice to meet you today. I really liked your version of the Dead Chicken. It would be great if you would post a photo of it. I'm going to try tying one up tonight. A bunch of fish did move in shortly after you left. I had a silver on briefly (very briefly) and that was it. They just weren't in a biting mood. Don't know where the cutts were today??????? See you again. Good fishing!
Glad to hear there was a little excitement! It was getting a bit frustrating seeing them jumping all over around that corner; nothing I had on me worked. Time to hone in on cutthroat again I suppose.

I use STS dubbing in the body and UV ice dub for the wing on my Dead Chickens. The pic of that other fly I showed you is down there too, it's sort of a play on a Female Coachmen. Don't forget the holographic mylar horns!

At the risk of beating a dead chicken to death, it occurred to me that the original Dead Chicken pattern (as far as I know) called for grizzly hackle. So, can we still call your Dead Chicken a Dead Chicken?:)
I'll probably just keep calling it a Dead Chicken. I hooked a few today so I don't think the fish have figured out that I'm tying it wrong yet!


Active Member
Call it what you will but, it seems to me, changing the body material, color of hackle and adding a colored butt or a wing pretty well constitutes a new pattern. Calling it a Dead Chicken only causes confusion.

Hillbilly Redneck

wishin i was fishin
I used to fish the Dead Chicken all the time for sea runs. For some reason I haven't tied any up in quite a few years. Probably because I got turned on to reverse spider. Spruce Fly and Thor are other patterns I haven't fished in a long time but they all work.