The Royal Wulff (an essential addition to your fly box!)

Many fly fishing enthusiasts consider the Royal Wulff their go-to dry fly, so we couldn't resist finding out more about this classic fly. In this article we give share with you everything you need to know about the Royal Wulff.
Royal Wulff

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One of the best attractor patterns around, the Royal Wulff is a popular fly fishing pattern that dates back almost 90 years. Many fly fishing enthusiasts consider the Royal Wulff their go-to dry fly, so we here at Fly Fisher Pro couldn’t resist finding out more about this classic fly. If you want to know more about the difference between a dry fly vs wet fly,  see our post here.

Here’s our detailed guide to the Royal Wulff fly! Read on to discover more about its origins, how to tie this pattern and the materials used, and the best way to fish the Royal Wulff.

Royal Wulff

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About The Royal Wulff

If you’re looking for a top dry fly for trout fishing, the Royal Wulff might be just the thing you’re after. Durable and eye-catching, the Royal Wulff is a great choice for fishing fast-flowing waters where the fish don’t have too long to examine your fly.

It’s an attractor pattern, which means that it doesn’t accurately imitate a particular insect. You can use this versatile dry fly to imitate terrestrial insects, mayflies, and flying ants. Instead, it’s bright and easy to spot, making it perfect in choppy rivers.

The Royal Wulff is particularly productive when fly fishing for cutthroat and brook trout, who don’t tend to be fussy feeders. Tie this on, and you’ll consistently draw the trout out.

Although the Royal Wulff may not be as popular as it used to be, it’s still a reliable, effective pattern which should have a spot in your fly box. See the best fly box options here. 

The Origins of the Royal Wulff

The Royal Wulff was first designed by Lee Wulff, eminent fly fisherman throughout the 20th century. The Royal Coachman was one of the most popular flies at the time, but Wulff found that it wasn’t tough enough to stand up to rough water conditions.

This inspired Wulff to create his own range of flies that were more durable and would last longer. He made several modifications to the Royal Coachman pattern to create the Royal Wulff.

Lee went on to develop several different dry flies, including the White Wulff, the Grey Wulff, and the Black Wulff, but the Royal Wulff was by far the most popular.

Wulff wanted to come up with dry flies with heavy hairwings, hackles, and tail so that they would have more buoyancy and stay afloat longer. He aimed to create durable dry flies that would attract trout, bass, and other fish in choppy, fast rivers.

Lee Wulff was a significant and influencing figure in the fly fishing world. He invented the first fly fishing vest and advocated for catch and release before it was a common practice.

Lee, now deceased, started the Royal Wulff Company and the Wulff School of Fly Fishing with his angler wife Joan almost 40 years ago. Both of these ventures are still in business today, with their son Doug Cummings, at the helm.


Here’s what you need to tie this Royal Coachman-inspired dry fly:

  • Hook: Light wire dry fly hook in size 10 – 16
  • Thread: Black uni thread 8/0
  • Tail: Moose body hairs or brown bucktail hair
  • Body: Peacock herl
  • Waist: Red floss or silk for a glossy look
  • Wing: White calf body hairs. (You can also use white calf tail or bucktail hairs)
  • Hackle: Dark brown to medium brown rooster hackle

How To Tie a Royal Wulff

So you want to tie your own flies? It’s a great idea which will save you money and take your fly fishing experience to the next level. You’ll get an incredible feeling every time you catch a fish with a fly you tied yourself!

The best way to get started with fly tying is by watching some online tutorial videos. There are loads of helpful videos out there that will walk you step-by-step through fly tying a pattern. Even if you’re a complete beginner, there’s no reason not to get stuck in and have a go.

Head out to your local fly fishing shop or buy a fly tying kit online, and you’re ready to get started. We recommend the best fly tying kits here.

Check out this straightforward video with loads of tips on how to tie the Royal Wulff:

How To Fish a Royal Wulff

If you’re heading to a fast-flowing river where the water is broken and choppy, you won’t go wrong with a Royal Wulff pattern. Its garish, unusual appearance does just what this fly was designed to do – attract the fish and get them to take a bite!

The best way to fish this pattern is by using a slackline cast and dead drifting it. Your cast and presentation are critical here – try to make it look like your fly isn’t attached to anything. Take some time to perfect your casting, and

This pattern is ideal for search fishing if you’re not sure where the fish are. You’ll also get a lot of action with this pattern if you see red mayflies on the water!

The Wrap Up

The Royal Wulff is a classic dry fly that’s been popular for over 50 years. It’s ideal for fly fishing in turbulent water conditions, drawing the trout out with its flashy appearance, and catching you lots of fish!

Now you know all about fly tying this iconic pattern, have a go at fly tying your own flies and take them with you on your next fly fishing trip! Don’t forget our tips on how to fish this classic pattern, and you’ll soon be reeling in fish after fish.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this complete guide to the Royal Wulff pattern. Check out some of our other articles and reviews on the best fly fishing products, including rods, reels, accessories, and flies. If you have any questions or suggestions for other topics you’d like to see, feel free to drop us a comment or an email!

The Fly Fishing Place Royal Wulff Classic Trout...
The Fly Fishing Place Royal Wulff Classic Trout…
Excellent trout, bass or panfish fly fishing flies; 6 Hairwing Dry Fly Fishing Flies Hook Size 12

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