Published Apr 24. 2013 - 11 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 31. 2020

One Mallard Shrimp

As a Baltic sea trout angler you can never get enough shrimp patterns, and this one was tied as a result of access to some really fine mallard feathers.

In the wild - The One Mallard Shrimp in front of its realm: the ocean
Eyes - The One Mallard Shrimp has distinct eyes as most other shrimp patterns
In the wild
Martin Joergensen

We had been fishing for a few spring days in the southern part of Denmark, and not caught much, but had some fun and some small fish.
Paul, a German/American friend, kept one, nice, bright sea trout, and when he gutted it, he found two large, almost undigested shrimp in its stomach.
No big surprise there, because we had seen the shrimp in the fairly cold spring water and it's also a fact that the Danish sea trout have shrimp high on their menu - if not on top - especially in the spring where many other food sources are scarce.
In the type of fjord where we were fishing, the shrimp are some of the first animals to start buzzing around in the shallow water as soon as the sun starts heating it up just a bit.

So a shrimp fly or several should always be in the flybox of an angler who is seeking the spring sea trout in the Baltic.

Other people can fish pink and paintbrushes. To each his own.

Henning Eskol

Large and colorful shrimp patterns are very common, and I have expressed my opinion about the most common ones several times. I am not the type who ties on a large, pink paintbrush and calls it a shrimp imitation.
A pink paintbrush, yes, but a shrimp, no!
No doubt they can catch fish and have done so many, many times, but it's nothing that I find attractive even though the fish might. I prefer my shrimp smaller, grayish and a little more discrete and looking like the natural.

Other people can fish pink and paintbrushes. To each his own.

I had already been fooling around with mallard feathers on that same trip. Paul had actually brought a whole bag full of nice, large and regular feathers from mallard and gadwall, and I thought that one such feather ought to be able to produce a shrimp. The light barred barbs are fine for antennae, mouth parts, legs and the plumulaceous part at the base is excellent for dubbing. I added some Easy Shrimp Eyes and a bit of flash plus some LCR to make a shell, and the recipe for a nice shrimp was there.
This fly wound up so simple that it ought to be called Martin's Mundane Mallard Shrimp in accordance with the Mundane Manifesto. But it ended as the One Mallard Shrimp, but still only uses three materials. The hook is a Kamasan B175, so exchange the thread for black and you are almost there. The store bought eyes are special and might be hard to get, but simple, cheap, home made mono eyes can easily do the trick.

One Mallard Shrimp
Pattern type: 
Cold saltwater fly
Martin Joergensen
Kamasan B175 size 6-4
Easy Shrimp Eyes, black (or home made mono eyes)
Downy part plucked off a mallard feather
Legs, shell
Mallard feather
Light Curing Resin
Skill level/difficulty: 

The whole feather - You need one good feather and will utilize it in three parts: the longest barbs for the tail/thorn, the soft part for the dubbed body and the short barbs in the tip for the shell and legs
One feather
Martin Joergensen
A small production - It takes a short time to produce a handful of One Mallard Shrimps
Inspiration - These golden drops can inspire new fly patterns like nothing else
Inspired by
Martin Joergensen
Pretty good looking - The One Mallard Shrimp is a simple, nearly-one-material fly that looks quite a lot like a shrimp
Perfect eyes - The prefabricated Easy Eyes makes it very easy t get the eyes to sit perfectly
The One Mallard Shrimp
Martin Joergensen

From one feather you will get barbs for the shrimp's thorn, the fluffy part will make some excellent dubbing for the body and the remaining barbs can be wound as a hackle that will form shell and legs.You can use mallard, teal, gadwall or any other finely barred feather with the same long, fine barbs and a fluffy, downy part to provide dubbing.
The fly is really easy to tie, and the only advanced step is using Light Curing Resin for the shell, and even that is easy.

Step 1 - thread

Step 2 - flash

Step 3 - position flash

Step 4 - one mallard feather

Step 5 - tail/thorn

Step 6 - tail in place

Step 7 - trim

Step 8 - dubbing

Step 9 - eye support

Step 10 - eyes

Step 11 - tie in eyes

Step 12 eyes done

Step 13 - more dubbing

Step 14 - dub

Step 15 - prepare the feather

Step 16 - tie in

Step 17 - ready to wrap

Step 18 - pull barbs

Step 19 - wrap

Step 20 - form head

Step 21 - cut thread

Step 22 - pull hackle

Step 23 - add LCR

Step 24 - cure

Step 25 - more LCR

Step 26 - trim flash


Shrimp flies are supposed to fish fairly deep, and over water depths in the 1-2 meter range or some 3-6 feet deep it should actually be on the bottom or at least close. That might call for a bit of weight, and adding some heavy wire under the body can be necessary unless you want to wait for the fly to sink or use an intermediate or sinking leader.
Shrimp are usually slow moving animals that hover gently over the bottom, rocks or sea weed, but once they are disturbed, they shoot off in a blitz fast jerk. You can partly mimic that with a steady and slow retrieve broken by some sudden, short pulls in the fly line.

You can tie the fly with the barred feathers from any of these birds. The One Gadwall Shrimp, The One Mallard Shrimp and the One Teal Shrimp. I don't think the fish will care.




Wikimedia - MDF - Wikimedia - Mihael Grmek - Wikimedia - Dick Daniels

I don't think the fish will care.


Wow..! this is the best...

Wow..! this is the best simple schrimpfly i have seen in years..easy to tie and looks good, i have already added a dusin to my flybox.beside fishing, hunting is also my sport so the feathers come in plenty.
thanks for sharing.
tight lines and best regards.

Sleek and functional...

Sleek and functional. Achille Castiglioni would have not designed it better, had this pattern been an avant-garde furniture piece.
BTW, this is by far the best site for patterns and fly fishing in general.

Martin Joergensen's picture

Bruce, You had me...


You had me laughing there!

I'm both glad and sorry that the flies were so realistic that the birds took them. Imagine their effect when fish are around!

You will have to tie up a new bunch and keep a good eye on them while they cure.


Made three of these ...

Made three of these and put them out in the sun to finish curing. They promptly disappeared. I think they have been so buggy looking that the birds carried them away!

Pete Gray's picture

G'day Martin... 'Re...

G'day Martin...
'Rephreshing as ALWAYS and bordering on BRILLIANT...
Your shrimp cocktail goes nicely with Riesling...


Martin Joergensen's picture

Kate, I also alwa...


I also always had a weak spot for the term plumulaceous. I learned it while studying biology and was reintroduced to it by Wayne Luallen in his feather anatomy article.

A great word, but impossible to remember and pronounce unless you really concentrate. I usually just say webby...


Martin, With, or wi...

With, or without the help of Talisker, you certainly do have the inspiration to tie some very innovative, and easy to construct flies. The mallard shrimp should fool any sea trout, and other species as well. The shrimp is a neatly done realistic looking crustacean. (I like the word, plumulaceous, it has gone into my special words notebook.)


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