Fly Tying 1 min read

[Video] How to Tie Emmebäse – The Best Swiss Dry Fly

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

December 29, 2013

Continuing our series on Swiss flies, Heinz Kneubühler (Swissflies), born in 1928, ties the dry fly “Emmebäse”, a Swiss traditional and famous hackle fly of the Emmental (home of the well known Swiss cheese).

(The audio is in German but since fly tying is a universal language it doesn’t really matter! This pattern and others are shown and described in English here.)

Rolf Frischknecht, also of Swissflies, was kind enough to provide a bit of history behind the “Emmebäse” and a few tips on material selection below. Thanks Rolf!

About Emmebäse

The “Emmebäse” fly is handmade like 100 years ago – without vise, just holding hackle, thread and hook in the hands.

This fly seems to be simple – made just with one thread and one hackle – but it is since nearly 100 years the most effective fly in the famous Emmental. Developed was the fly by the local farmers, who fished it with the long rod and horsehair leaders, later on gut.

The father of Heinz, named Hans Kneubühler, was the first to make this fly in high numbers and selling it about 1920. The fly was always handmade, with simple threads and hackles of local cock breeds, to save time and money.

When using the fly dry, grease well. The Emmebäse also catches fish when fished as a wet fly and even moved as a small streamer.

Emmebäse Material List

Hook: Dry fly, Size 12
Body: Pink thread (simple sewing thread, can be silk or even cotton or polyester)
Hackle and tail: Grizzly hackle, do use softer hackles, simple farmyard breeds preferred (choose oversized hackle)

Thousands of trout were caught by this fly in Emme und Ilfis Rivers – why not give it a try in your own river?