From the information that I have been
able to gather, CDC feathers have been used as a fly tying material since
before 1949. The feathers are harvested from around the preening gland of
a duck, however this does not mean that the oily aspect is the main reason
for it's floatability. The primary reason that these feathers float is
their structure and their multitude of fibers. Another aspect to take into
consideration is the efficiency of the feather which is derived from the
multitude of fibers which remain soft and supple and nearly in perpetual
The majority of CDC feathers that I
use for tying come from wild ducks and range from a light gray to a very
dark gray in color. Occasionally when I find the need for a slightly
different color of CDC feather I use the following formula to strip the
natural color from the feathers resulting in a beautiful light amber
color.As structure is the main reason for their floatability the stripping
process seems not to affect their efficiency.
CDC Stripping Color
Start with equal amounts of household
ammonia and hydrogen-peroxide mixing them into a solution.
Immerse natural gray CDC feathers,
and let it sit for a couple hours (or overnight)
Use outside, or in a closed
container, as the fumes are not very healthy.
Rinse the feathers well in fresh
water, and let dry. They should now be a beautiful light amber.
Remember that with CDC you don't need
fly floatants or dressings to improve floatation. Just dry the feather
thoroughly with an Amadou patch and it's as good as new.
Copyright @ 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006 by Bob Kloskowski