The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

European Roe Deer

Deer hair is normally described as hollow, This doesn´t mean that it´s hollow

like a drinking straw, but that each hair is built up of hundreds of small air filled

cells. This type of hair structure is most defined in deer from areas with an

extreme winter climate. The result, the colder it is, the better the spinning

qualities, with some exceptions. The hair from our own reindeer and the north

american caribou. In order to achieve optimal insulation, these hairs hold so

many air cells that they have a tendency to be brittle, and break under the

pressure  of tying thread.

A cross section of European Roe deer hair which I photographed with the help of a microscope at X40. You can see that the hair isn't hollow as most people believe, but filled with many small air filled cells.

A cross section of European Roe deer hair which I photographed with the help of a microscope at X40. You can see that the hair isn’t hollow as most people believe, but filled with many small air filled cells.

The winter coat of the Norwegian roe deer has many air filled cells and is ideal

for spinning, packing and clipping.  While the hair from the summer coat is

somewhat stiffer and extremely fine. A first class hair for tails and winging dry

flies.  The colour varies from light red brown on the summer coat to dark grey

with darker barred tips on the winter coat.  The best hair for spinning is found

on the back of the roe along the spine. This hair is extremely dense, not at all

brittle, and floats like a cork. The chalk white hair on the rump is excellent for

dying, or for patterns that require white deer hair.

You should also be aware that the roe mask has a diversity of hair that is

difficult to equal. Here you will find hair in many different lengths, shades of

brown and coarseness. Ideal for dry´s from # 10 and down to the very smallest

comparaduns. Anyone who ties caddis flies shouldn’t be without a roe mask.

If you know a hunter or a game keeper, try and secure yourself a whole roe

skin, you wont be disappointed.

Image

The winter coat of the European roe with its dense hair is ideal for spinning.

The winter coat of the European roe with its dense hair is ideal for spinning.

Although the summer coat from the European roe is much thinner it still has its uses for dry fly wings and tails.

Although the summer coat from the European roe is much thinner it still has its uses for dry fly wings and tails.

If any of you are interested I do have a few very nice generous strips of winter roe from December last year for 15 Euro each including postage for Europe: I only have a few so the first  to contact me at: barrycl@online.no

2 responses

  1. Hi Barry, Can you provide a picture of the few pieces available, just to wet my mouth 😉

    January 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    • No problem Sven, I will post one tomorrow.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm

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