Beginner’s Fly Tying: Pat’s Rubber Legs

View our instructional video for tying this fly. This video includes several chapter markers so you can easily jump to the section you wish to view — visit our YouTube channel to easily jump to the chapter of your choice. Written instructions for this fly are presented below.

The fly pattern which I have selected for the July beginner’s fly tying program is Pat’s Rubber Legs.  Named after its creator, Pat Bennett, this fly is considered a great stonefly imitation, one relatively easy to tie. In researching the history of the fly, I found that Pat’s Rubber Legs is highly regarded as a favored pattern not only in fishing for trout, but also in fishing for panfish and smallmouth bass during the summer months.  In tying this pattern, our group will gain additional experience in the technique of applying multiple sets of rubber legs to a fly, a technique applicable across a range of fly patterns. 

Print instructions are below.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Tying Pat’s Rubber Legs

The Pat’s Rubber Legs fly was created by guide Pat Bennett who worked for Hyde Outfitters in Island Park, Idaho. His fly pattern was meant to imitate a large stonefly and was adapted from other stonefly patterns, such as the Girdle Bug. This fly when tied in black and coffee colors are often used year-round as a searching pattern in streams and rivers where stoneflies are prevalent.

While the fly appears simple to tie, it can be frustrating to the beginner fly tier, because the six rubber legs, tail and antennae can be hard to handle. The tying procedure outlined below perhaps best duplicates the original pattern, with the exception of the number of legs on the fly and the method used for attaching the legs.  


  • Hook – standard streamer hook, size 6-10 (also can be tied with a stonefly hook, same sizes)
  • Lead wire – .015 – .020
  • Thread – brown, 140 denier (6/0)
  • Chenille – small to medium (coffee/black mix)
  • Rubber legs – silicon micro legs (brown, black)

Tying Steps

  • Pinch down barb and insert hook in vise. (At this point wrap a small rubber band around the vise clamp to be used later).
  • Start mid-shank wrapping lead wire forward stopping short of the hook eye
  • Begin thread wraps immediately in behind the lead wire, then proceed wrapping toward the hook eye over the lead wire and then make several wraps in front of the lead wire. Repeat thread wraps to the rear over the lead wire and continue to make thread wraps to the hook bend. Add a drop of super-glue over the thread/lead wire to cement it to the hook shank.
  • (Method 1 for attaching the tail to the hook)
    • Just short of the hook bend secure a 1.5” length of rubber legs on the near side of the hook with several thread wraps, fold the rubber leg material over to the far side of the hook and make additional thread wraps to hold this piece in place. Another drop of super glue at the site of attachment will provide additional stability to the tail.
  • (Method 2 for attaching the tail to the hook)
    • Wrap a 1” piece of rubber leg material around the tying thread and grasp both ends of the rubber leg material. Slide this up the thread stopping on the tiers side of the hook. Make a single wrap of thread around the hook, then release the rubber legs and make additional wraps (~ 1/8”) toward the front of the hook. Clip off any rubber material which is facing forward. Advance the thread back toward the bend and tie in another piece of rubber material on the opposite (far side) of the hook. (Trimming of the tail to proper length will be done at the end of tying the fly).
  • Take approximately 2 ½” of chenille and with the fingernail scrape off the tip of one end of the chenille. Secure this end in place with several thread wraps. Let the remainder of the chenille hang to the rear of the fly while wrapping the thread forward to a point ~ 1/3 distance behind the hook eye.
  • Wrap the chenille forward to the point where the thread is hanging and secure the chenille at this point with 1-2 thread wraps. Immediately in front of where the chenille is now hanging, tie in a piece of rubber leg material by wrapping that leg material around the thread and positioning it on the tiers side of the hook. Wrap a corresponding piece of the leg material around the thread and position it on the side of the hook opposite the fly tier. Lift the leg material back (out of the way) and wrap the thread forward stopping about 1/8” behind the hook eye.
  • Wrap the chenille one turn behind the leg material, a second turn forward separating the rear pair of legs from the forward pair of legs and an additional wrap of chenille in front of these legs. Secure the chenille with several thread wraps and trim off the extra chenille.
  • (At this point move the rubber band forward off the vise to temporarily hold the rubber legs rearward, making it easier to tie in the antennae and finish the fly, a small zip tie or bread package tie also works to hold the legs back out of the way )
  • (For the antennae) Fold a short piece of rubber material over the thread as was done for attaching the legs. Slide the folded rubber material down the thread on the top of the hook shank immediately behind the hook eye. Make one wrap of thread around the hook shank to draw down the rubber antennae. Then make an X wrap of thread crossing between the two sections of the antennae. Once the antennae is in place, make additional wraps slightly to the rear to secure the base of the two rubbers sections. Add a small drop of super glue/head cement on the thread wraps.
  • Cut the tying thread and then trim the tail and antennae to about ½ shank length and the legs = 1 shank length.  

By Don Fine