10 classic dry flies for trout
To consistently catch trout on dry flies, you need to be ready to imitate practically everything they eat off the surface: caddisflies, stoneflies, chironomids, the most common terrestrials and the mayfly’s emerger, dun and spinner stages. You also need to consider the water itself. A fly that floats well in rapids or pocket water, for example, might prove overdressed for a spring creek. This may sound as if you need to carry a lot of flies, but you can keep it simple by narrowing down your choices to the following 10 patterns, each designed to fill a role in your dry-fly arsenal. Some are specialists, while others have many uses, but they all share one key feature: adaptability. By following the basic designs of these flies, and tweaking the sizes and colours to match local insects, you can raise brookies, browns, ’bows and more from Newfoundland to B.C. to Nunavut.
The following fly recipes include typical fly-tying materials, but not necessarily those appearing in the accompanying photos of completed flies (tied by Tim Hiltz and Paul Marriner). When tying these flies, only use dry-fly-quality cock hackle, except where noted.
Created by Dutch angler Hans van Klinken, this is the world’s leading dry fly for trout, in my opinion. Fundamentally, the Klinkhamer Special represents a mayfly emerger, the stage where the swimming nymph reaches the surface and begins to transform into a dun. However, it’s also a fine stand-in for other aquatic species. The Klinkhamer’s key element is the way part of the body hangs below the surface. Originally, van Klinken bent traditional hooks to get this shape, but for more than a decade, Partridge has offered specialty Klinkhamer hooks. Recently, Daiichi introduced the 1160 model, also designed by van Klinken. The fact that two
different hook companies offer a model for a single fly design speaks volumes about its popularity. One of my favourite Klinkhamer patterns features a white wing, black body and grizzly
hackle. In a size 18, it has seduced numerous rainbows feeding on midges.
Hook: Partridge 15BNX or Daiichi 1160, sizes 8 to 18
Thread: 8/0 Uni-Thread
Wing post: Poly Yarn or hair
Body: Waterproof dubbing or quill
Hackle: Wound parachute style