What are CDC trout flies?
CDC refers to the 'Cul de Canard' feather, translated from French as "Duck's bottom".
Cul de Canard makes an ideal Dry Fly dressing as the feather is remarkably light yet strong and most importantly traps air to aid buoyancy.
CDC Feathers surround the preen gland of many waterfowl and duck. This gland protrudes like a small lump, at the back of the bird, slightly ahead of the tail. Waterfowl preen and waterproof their feathers with oil secreted from their preen glands. While the natural oils in the feather assist in repelling water, it is the actual structure of the feather itself which gives it buoyancy, the barb fibres on the feathers that trap air bubbles. CDC feathers will lose their floatation if they become matted, soiled or by the addition of gink type floatants, so this should be avoided. The air bubbles remain trapped within the barbed fibres even after they are submerged. This creates CDC's superb natural buoyancy and allows it to float beautifully without the need of artificial floatants almost indefinitely, however drying the fly with the occasional squeeze in an amadou patch, or similar is recommended.
CDC Flies are wonderful fish takers; it's the fabulously softly wispy and subtle natural feather that creates delicate highly mobile and tantalizing suggestive movement of incredibly lifelike legs of an insect.
The first recorded use of CDC's in dry flies was by fishermen in the Swiss Jura Mountains near the French border in the 1920's. They were called Moustique patterns, and remained largely unchanged until the 1970's.
In the early 1980's, Marjan Fratnik from Slovenia designed the simple and deadly classic F Fly. This innovation kick started other tiers to the wonderful properties and uses CDC has.
Dutchman and innovator Hans van Klinken used an upright CDC in his Once & Away pattern known as the much respected "Shuttlecock" in the late 1980's to the present day.
The Swiss, Marc Petitjean is probably the best-known tier and designer of CDC patterns today. Amazingly he has developed an extensive range of patterns for Trout, Salmon and Steelhead and Saltwater including Mayfly, Caddis, Midges, Shrimps, Terrestrials, Hoppers, Bugs and Streamers.
Flies relating to CDC
CDC is mentioned in 114 flies within our catalogue. Of course, there are most likely more flies relating to this, but here is just a sample of the patterns: