Fly Tying June 2022: Shad Fly Revisited

Here’s the only fly you’ll need for next month’s Fish A Long on June 11th, Bill Schaadt’s Shad Fly. This updated post features both written tying instructions and a video.  

Nick Wheeler, formerly at The Royal Treatment fly shop in West Linn, introduced this pattern to us while speaking to our club on the topic of Shad fly fishing a couple years ago plus was on hand to lead us during an evening of tying up shad flies. Nick is still fondly remembered for the expertise he added to local anglers’ knowledge about flyfishing for shad. Despite the good natured banter he suffered from others in the fly shop, Nick’s enthusiasm for the previously overlooked shad was infectious.

Click here to read an article on Bill Schaadt and his shad fly that is being reprised from the Clackamas Fly Fishers blog from 2018. Much of the information in the article was gathered from an interview I did with Nick, as well as his evening presentation to the club.

Below is the Recipe and Tying Instructions for Nick Wheeler’s version of Bill Schaadt’s Shad Fly:


  • Hook: Tiemco 3761 #6 ; or Fulling Mill F35085 #8; or similar
  • Thread: anything hot orange; Nick Wheeler recommends Danville’s Fire Orange flat waxed 210
  • denier thread (covers well with fewer wraps); a second color of choice would be fluorescent green
  • Tail: pearlescent krystal flash
  • Body: silver mylar; size 12 or 10
  • Eyes: medium size silver bead chain
  • Head: thread; tapered behind and front of the eyes
  • Coating: head cement (or Sally Hansen’s or UV resin)


  • Lay down a thread base.
  • Tie in a tail of about 10-12 strands of krystal flash; trim the tail strands fairly short, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long.
  • Tie in a strand of mylar at the base of the tail. Tie it down with the gold side facing up so that when you wrap it the silver side will be facing up. Move your bobbin forward.
  • Spiral wrap the mylar forward to about the mid-point of the hook, overlapping each wrap onto the previous one so there are no gaps. Tie it off and remove the excess mylar.
  • Use a few figure-8 wraps to tie in the bead chain eyes, at a distance about 1/3 of the hook length back from the hook eye. That should put the eyes at a position slightly more than halfway back from the eye to the mylar. See the drawing below. (Although not essential, anchoring the eyes in with a drop of super glue may be helpful because these flies can take a hammering during your multi-fish day of fishing! )
  • Continue wrapping the thread to form the head which will extend from the mylar to the eye of the hook. Taper the head both behind and forward of the bead chain eyes so that the head is thickest at the eyes and then tapers to the front and back. Because of the way you positioned the eyes in Step 5 the taper in front of the eyes will be slightly longer than the taper behind the eyes. Whip finish the head right behind the eye.
  • For added durability give the finished fly a coat or two of head cement or epoxy over the entire body and head (but not the tail!).
  • The bead chain eyes are not centered on the head. The taper of the head in front of the eyes should be longer than the taper behind the eyes.

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