Published Jan 1. 2001 - 15 years ago

West Carry Dace

"All dace are not created equal". Although they may look pretty much the same to us, fish much prefer the females with their orange and yellow bellies. I soon noticed that when I sewed on this colorful variation, a strike was not far off.

If I had to choose one type of fishing it would be fly-fishing for trout and salmon. My late friend Louis Franchetti was a fish-catching machine, but he fished with worms and sewed-on dace, period. He taught me where to look for fish and how to approach them.

When I was fortunate enough to build a camp at West Carry Pond, I was exposed to great brook trout and togue fishing. We caught both species trolling sewed-on dace trapped from the pond.

Louis used to say, "All dace are not created equal". Although they may look pretty much the same to us, fish much prefer the females with their orange and yellow bellies. I soon noticed that when I sewed on this colorful variation, a strike was not far off.

When it became illegal to use natural bait in our pond, I tied the West Carry Dace to immitate this favored food and permit us to continue catching fish. It worked! While I still use it trolling, it is a very productive streamer used with traditional fly-fishing techniques. I found that it did equally well on char and brook trout in Labrador.

It has become one of my favorite flies, the first one I tie on when searching for fish.

Try it, you'll like it!

The West Carry Dace

The West Carry Dace


  • Hook: Mustad 9575, sizes 6 to 8, larger for salmon in the fall
  • Thread: Black
  • Butt: Silver tinsel
  • Body: Black floss, silver tinsel rib
  • Wing: Gray marabou, sparse black marabou on top
  • Belly: Fine orange deer tail to hook point.
  • Throat: Yellow hackle barbules
  • Eyes: Painted white with red pupils

Note: I am sold on marabou because of the way it acts in the water and the fact that it is hard to overdress a fly with it. I'm equally impressed with eyes on streamers. Under some conditions, a few strands of crystal hair under the wing increases the effectiveness of this and other flies.

Dave Prince
Master Maine Guide
North Woods Adventures
prince@somtel.com

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