top of page

Tying the Three-Dollar Dip

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

The three-dollar dip is a simple, yet extremely effective fly that was made famous on the Madison River and named after the famous three dollar bridge. While it was created for this particular river, it is a staple in my nymph lineup all throughout the country.

The Three-Dollar Dip is extremely easy to tie.

Material List:

Hook - Scud hook

Bead - Tungsten or brass bead (2mm)

Thread - Rusty Brown, UTC Ultra Thread 70D

Wire - Extra Small UTC Wire

Wing - Bleached deer or elk hair

Step 1

I prefer to tie these flies on a scud hook in sizes #18 to #20 with a 5/64" bead. The bead can be either tungsten or brass.

Step 2

Start your thread (Rusty Brown Ultra-Thread 70d) right behind the bead and make touching wraps to the rear of the hook and then back up to the bead. This will help to form a thread body on the fly and build some bulk.

Step 3

Using Extra Small wire (UTC Gold Wire), tie in a rib. After tying in the rib, return your thread to the front of the hook using touching thread wraps.

I like to match the color of the wire to the color of the bead. In this case I used gold, but other colors can be substituted in.

Step 4

Start building your taper using touching thread wraps.

Wrap back two-thirds of the hook shank and back to the bead.

Wrap back one-third of the hook shank and back to the bead.

Step 5

Rib the fly using open, spiral wraps. Then use your thread to capture the wire.

Step 6

Cut a small clump of bleached deer or elk hair for use as the wing. Be sure to keep the clump small! About 20 or so hairs should do. I also like to use a comb to remove the underfur from the guard hairs before tying in.

Step 7

Holding the hair to the top of the hook shank, give two light wraps of thread.

Step 8

With the two light wraps holding the hair in place, pull with upward tension on your thread to prevent any hairs from being pulled to the front of the hook. Give a couple of thread wraps forward, between the flared-out butt ends of hair, to just behind the bead.

Step 9

Whip-finish behind the bead and cut your thread free. But we're not done yet!

Step 10

Separate the butt ends out from the tapered ends of hair. You don't have to be super meticulous here, so just roughly separating them out should do.

Step 11

Cut the butt ends off, flush with the bead.

Step 12

Cut the wing to about a third of a hook shank in length.

And that is all there is to the three-dollar dip!

To see all these steps through video, as well as some discussion on fishing the three-dollar dip, check out the video below.

The links embedded through the article above are Amazon Affiliate links. By purchasing through these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you are interested in the gear and decide to buy through these links, it helps to support our channel which is much appreciated! Thank you for your support!


bottom of page