Fly Fishing the Sierra

Griffith's Gnat

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Griffith's Gnat
Tying Instructions
Materials: (to Order Material, click the link)
      Actual Midge Clusters
      Baetis

Notes: The Griffth's Gnat usually is used to imitate clusters of midge emergers or mating chironomids. The origin of the pattern is often attributed to George Griffith, one of the founders of Trout Unlimited. George GriffithHowever, according to a close personal friend of George Griffith, Mr Bob Summers, this is not so. Bob says, "George did not invent the fly, he told me that more than once." The fly was shown to George in 1939 by a man named Walt Shaw. It became George's favorite pattern, hence the name. No one knows exactly who created the fly. It can be fished as either a dry fly (mating chironomids) or subsurface as a cluster of midge larvae. A small amount of split may be necessary to get it down. Also use this fly in tandem with nymph patterns , using the Griffith's as an indicator with some floatant. The original pattern uses peacock herl for the body. However, many variations exist which using either dyed peacock herl or dubbing in colors of gray, olive, black , or tan. There are a couple ways to tie this pattern either with a rib or without. The typical pattern is without a rib and all of the material are secured at the bend of the hook. The herl is wrapped forward, then the hackle is palmered over the herl up to the eye and secured. A rib can provide additional durability to the hackle and, if you add a ribbing, start the hackle behind the eye and palmer back toward the bend of the hook, just like bugger patterns. The ribbing is then wrapped forward over the hackle quill and secured behind the eye. This method not only provides for a more durable fly but the thread head will be much easier to finish. The Griffith's Gnat pictured used a hackle that was undersized (a size 20 hackle with a size 18 hook). Note that the fibers reach the bottom of the hook due to palmering the hackle over a dubbed body. The variations provided used the same size hackle as the hook. The fibers on these variations extend below the hook. It's best that the pattern uses a hackle that does not extend more the 1.5 x's the gape. The hackle should be stiff fibers from a rooster cape or saddle. For the really small sizes, you might need to refer to the cape.

Roger Hill came up with a variation of the Griffth's Gnat by using a Peacock herl underbody and adding a wisp of muskrat underfur for a shuck. He named the pattern the Stillborn Midge, but most will identify the pattern as Roger Hill's Stillborn Midge. Roger developed the pattern while fishing on the South Platte sometime in the 1980's. He wrote about the pattern in his book, Fly Fishing the South Platte River (1992). Ed Engle considered the pattern one of the best trailing shuck patterns he has found and wrote about the pattern is his book, Tying Small Flies (2004).

Variations:



Griffiths Gnat, Olive
Griffiths Gnat, Olive


Materials: (to Order Material, click the link)


Griffiths Gnat, Black
Griffiths Gnat, Black


Materials: (to Order Material, click the link)


Griffiths Gnat, Olive Tan
Griffiths Gnat, Black


Materials: (to Order Material, click the link)


Roger Hill's Stillborn Midge
Roger Hill's Stillborn Midge


Materials: (to Order Material, click the link)

 

 

 

 

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