How to Tie: The MW Special

In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Charlie Craven ties a salmonfly pattern that will produce quality trout this time of year, the MW Special.

Difficulty: Intermediate

In Montana, the salmonfly hatch is in full swing. These large stoneflies will constantly be hatching, flying, and landing around you while on the water. With big ticket meal items hitting the surface, trout undoubtedly cannot resist the temptation and will feed aggressively on top. This makes for some of the best dry of fishing of the year, and using the MW Special is the perfect choice to trick those porpoising trout.

Salmonflies display an orange underbody which can easily be seen when airborne. Using orange foam to match the hatch for these large bugs will ensure a bright underbody accurate to the real deal, as well as a nearly unsinkable fly. Similar to a Chubby Chernobyl, the MW Special can be fished as a single or in a dry dropper rig. Be sure to tie several of these flies in case of mishaps when casting these bugs toward the bank.

Charlie Craven’s flies are some that need no alteration. A true master of his work, these bugs simply get eaten. The MW Special is a fantastic salmonfly imitation and will produce fish without a doubt during this hatch. If you aren’t in Montana during this hatch, plan to come out in the coming years because it is an opportunity no angler should miss. When big salmonflies are hatching, the MW Special has become a favorite for targeting larger trout.


  • Hook: 200R #8-12
  • Thread: UNI 6/0 Rusty Brown
  • Body: Thin Fly Foam, Gold
  • Legs: MFC Sexi-Legs, Golden Yellow
  • Wing: Umpqua Stonefly Wing
  • Indicator: Hot Pink over Black McFlylon
  • Specials: Sewing Needle, Zap-A-Gap, Copic Markers, Sepia and Black

Now you know how to tie the MW Special!

Video and ingredients courtesy of Charlie’s Fly Box.

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