Don's Fly Tying - The Black Gnat Dry


[the Black Gnat Dry]

In spite of the virus and while still taking adequate precautions, my good Vancouver Island friend Dave Upper did not miss out on his annual moose hunting trip way up north, near the Yukon border! He and a friend traveled all the way to the Swift River in northern BC and using his river boat, managed to bag a bull moose. Dave did send me a picture of the very large animal but I was more interested in another image of Dave holding a huge Swift River grayling! Now on the first occasion when I lived in Prince George, I fly fished for grayling in both the Crooked River which flows north of Summit Lake into McLeod Lake and also the Sukunka River which flows into the Pine River. These waters eventual reach the Peace River which is part of the Arctic watershed via the Mackenzie River. Now all of these rivers do support grayling and where there is a little distance from tourist stops, they attack flies with great ferocity! I have had great fun catching grayling on a black gnat dry fly although in areas where fishing pressure is light, grayling will strike at most any pattern, both wet or dry. However, this month we will examine my favourite grayling dry fly, the time blessed Black Gnat!




The image below is my buddy, Dave Upper, holding a magnificent Swift River grayling!





[Dave Upper holding a big Swift River grayling]







Materials








Instructions

I have found grayling will often cooperate extremely well on dry flies, particularly the ageless and time proven black gnat! Wing shape doesn't seem to matter to these huge dorsal fin fish so I just use a single white vertical feather which does help to more easily see the fly once on the water. I like to use an extra small silver wire rib so to counter this bit of weight, I prefer a black foam body with a moose hair tail for extra floatation. So start the the fly with a few moose hair fibers for the medium length tail. Next attach a very fine silver wire to the hook shank for later use as a rib. If you do not have extra fine wire, use fine white tying thread instead. Follow this with a medium black foam strip for the fly body. I simply lay the strip along the hook shank and using fine clear monofilament, secure the foam completely around the hook shank. Now wind the fine wire in spaced turns to near the hook eye. A full black hackle is the last step but first I tie in a vertical white wing about 1/4 distance from the hook eye. Now wind a long black cape feather, medium length, carefully with several turns, both in front and past the white wing feather. Fine black nano silk will do the job nicely but I wrap ultra fine (.004) clear mono back and forth through the hackle finishing at the hook eye, then complete a small black head with nano silk. Tie off, cement and you have a proven grayling winner!



Your comments are welcome at "dhaaheim at telus dot net"

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Monthly Fly Tying Articles from November 1996


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