Fly Color and Darkening Down


Another thread reminded me of this fact that I sometimes forget.

The color of a pattern is not necessarily the same density when dry as it is when wet. This makes judging the color of a subsurface bug you hope to imitate a bit tricky. I've found that some colors become significantly darker when wet. Of course it depends on the material and synthetics don't seem to change color much when they are wet. Natural materials can and sometimes do.

For instance, a light olive dyed natural fur dubbing can become a medium olive color when it is submerged. The same holds true for marabou. A dark olive marabou pattern can become almost black when wet.

Sometimes, a natural material color changes drastically when wet. Peacock herl is one of those materials. It appears a greenish color when dry but when wet, it appears a copper color. This means a Brown Forked Tail (mistakenly called a Prince Nymph) is actually a brown pattern, not a greenish one.

Just a FYI for any fly tying newbies.

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