Posts Tagged ‘griffith’s gnat


Fly Tying: Griffith Gnat (Small, Palmered Midge)

A collage of Griffith Gnats that shows the typical pattern formation.

“The pattern is simple enough for the beginning tier: a size 16-18 fine wire hook; peacock herl, grizzly hackle suitable for a size 18 dry fly and 8/0 or 14/0 thread. The peacock and hackle stem are tied in at the rear and the peacock body is wrapped forward forming a full body and tied off. Then the hackle is palmered forward in wraps similar to a Woolly Worm/Woolly Bugger’s body formation; maybe a little closer wraps. The remaining hackle is clipped off and the thread head is formed. Use a floating line and keep the faith as you fish it in the film, amid the hatch. Don’t horse the fish. ”  (SB 7-14-2009)    

Yes, a scaled down version of a Woolly Worm, with a simple peacock herl body and a palmered, dry fly quality hackle (the hackle barbs should be equal to or only slightly greater than the width of the hook gape. The pattern makes for a very simple tie and a productive midge ‘cluster’ pattern for lakes or streams.

SwittersB & Fly Fishing


Fly Fishing: Tippett to Hook Size

Personally, I go as heavy in tippet size as I can, if I am still correctly presenting the fly. Water clarity, current speed, size fish, depth of presentation, weight of the fly and how it turns over all determines the tippet to hook size.

Tippet Size to Hook Size
Tippet is the final section of line connected to the leader. Use the proper tippet size to enable proper turnover of the fly. Using a small fly with a heavy tippet will ruin a delicate presentation. Using a light tippet with a heavy fly prevents proper turnover on the forward cast and will result in a horrible tangle. (Info from Mike’s Catch Report)
Tippet Size
———-Hook Size
05x…………………….5/0, 4/0, 3/0, 2/0
04x…………………….3/0, 2/0, 1/0, 2, 4
03x…………………….1/0, 2, 4
02x…………………….1/0, 2, 4, 6, 8
01x…………………….1/0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12
0x………………………2, 4, 6
1x………………………4, 6, 8
2x………………………6, 8, 10
3x………………………10, 12, 14
4x………………………12, 14, 16
5x………………………14, 16, 18, 20
6x………………………16, 18, 20, 22, 24
7x………………………18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28
8x………………………22, 24, 26, 28

From AussieFly

Tippet to Hook size & Pound test table

This enables you to turn over your flies correctly, smoothly.

Tippet size
Pound test
Fly hook size
2 – 1/0
1 – 6
2 – 8
4 – 10
6 – 12
8 – 14
10 – 18
14 – 24
18 – 28

Fly Tying: Basic Pattern Progression (Woolly Worm to Woolly Bugger and more)

This post is about the beginner recognizing the pretty obvious progression of a pattern of tying, but also, a strong reminder that these basic patterns would and do take an enormous amount of freshwater fish. We often hasten our tying experience toward more complicated patterns (hence they must be more worthy) and leave behind simple patterns, that are fish magnets. The above pattern is representative of such a pattern. It could be tied from a size 2 to a size 18 and take countless fish. Body and hackle colors could be mixed and matched. You will note that there is no tail. The Woolly Worm is often seen with a red tail of red hackle fibers/barbs or a tuft of red synthetic yarn. The red tail is traditional, but a more subtle color  could be used.

The below pattern is a thicker view of a Woolly Worm with the tail.


You notice the fly is thicker with the chenille body and the prominent red tag tail of yarn. The tail is theorized to be an attractor. The body of this Woolly Worm is similar to that seen in recent years for the fly shop Woolly Bugger…

Woolly Bugger SwittersB

The late Ed Story of Missouri, tied the Crackleback pattern, akin to a miniature Woolly Worm, which he fished top to bottom and touted as his primary fly via his Feather Craft enterprise.

Crackleback ~ Byron Haugh (Tier) Han Weilenmann (Photography)

I hope you can see the simplistic beauty of this basic tying premise and not hasten away from it. Large and small, top to bottom, the basic bones of these patterns must not disappear from your fly box. A basic technique in all of them is palmering the hackle, usually rear to front. The hackle is tied in by the tip and wound forward, incrementally spaced out, over the abdomen/thorax area and tied off at the head. How you tie the hackle onto the shank determines whether the hackles angle forward or as most often backwards. Above in the Crackleback, the feather was tied in with the underside of the hackle facing forward; this caused the hackle barbs to angle forward. Usually the feather is tied in with the top or shiny side of the hackle facing forward; causing the hackle barbs to angle backwards. All of these patterns will be affected by the degree of stiffness in the hackle used.


Gnat’s Ass (Chironomid-Midge-Buzzer Dry)

Fly tier (or is it tyer?) admission: Because of lighting, eye sight and a lack of commitment, I have not really ever committed to tying anything smaller than a size 18. I have not made the psychic leap that a small gaped, size 22 will penetrate the jaw of any fish over 14 inches. Yes, yes it does in fact do so…it is me. So, don’t pay attention to my doubts. Let the successes of other small fly fanatics speak for itself ….hookups. With that in mind I tied a few (actually several dozen). They are now tucked in with my Griffith’s Gnats (18’s).


Size 20 Pupa hook, Size 8/0 thread (I should have used 14/0), a Zelon wing was tied in first, then 3 pheasant tail fibers were tied in half the distance from mid-shank to the eye, then a small dry fly quality hackle suitable for a size 20 hook was tied in and wrapped several times then tied off, the butt sections of the previously tied in pheasant tail barbs were then pulled over the top of the wound hackle or thorax area as a wingcase and tied off. The excess materials can be seen to be protruding out…but I could not see them while tying. Not sure it really hurts anything as long as the thread wraps for the head are tight to keep those materials secure.



Wow! That actually looks nice. A size 18 dry fly quality hook, 8/0 thread, an underwing of Zelon was tied in at the mid point of the shank, then a white CDC feather was folded in half with the tip meeting the butt section. The mid point (or spot where the CDC stem was bent) was tied in behind the eye with the tip and butt section extending to the rear and past the bend of the hook. A wingcase of mottled Thinskin was tied in at the mid point of the shank and then a dry fly quality hackle (size 18) was tied in at the thorax area and wound then tied off at the eye. The wing case was pulled over the top of the wound hackle and tied off at the eye. Again, a smaller diameter thread (14/0) may have been better.  I tied a bunch of these and they look way better to the camera lens then to my eyes.


Midge Male and Chironomids (Pupa’s, Emerger’s, Dry’s)


My ties below. With beads and without. Use V-Rib for some bodies and permanent marker for top portion of abdomen. Legs were either Starling hackle tips or reverse portion of hackle pulled from stem. A few bodies were simply black thread bodies and black, small or fine wire ribbing. Dry’s: Griffiths Gnat in two sizes; also, size 18 simple wets of black or gray thread body with a simple wound Starling wing. The Emerger is black biot body overlayed with black or red Krystal Flash strand. A chunk of white foam is tied in horizontally just back from the eye. A small Peacock thorax and simple dun wrap of hackle finishes it off. Frankly, the biot wrap in small flies has been problematic for me and I don’t believe worth the effort to affix the biot on such a small fly (14). I have successfully tied a few small strands of marabou or small black ostrich in and then ribbed it. Much easier.   

Pretty detailed stuff re Chironomidae (Midges). Greek ur Latin to me. Also, a more general entomology link with some good pics. 

 The Emerger to the right is an example of the abdomen built from a strand or two of black marabou and ribbed with red tinsel. Narrow ostrich feathers could also be used. The peacock is used to build the thorax and to cover the thread wraps securing the foam wing “bow tie”.   









Renegade (another old fly to resurrect)


Another old pattern, that I was introduced to by Harry Teel in the mid 80’s. A simple pattern that seems to not equate to any bug you have seen. I have used it with success on B.C. lakes and Oregon streams. Tie it in a size 20 Griffith’s Gnat style (midge cluster~no fore/aft hackle~palmered hackle) or a size 12 (caddis). The fore and aft hackle provide some movement and buginess and the peacock is magical. It is a fragile fly. After a dozen fish it will most likely come apart at the hackle. Just have enough on hand if traveling to have it available, should it be part of the solution to successfully solving the puzzle.   

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