It’s a gnat! It’s an ant! It’s a midge! It’s a bundle of midges!???? It’s our next fly continuing our series on Summer trout flies for Pennsylvania brings us to our next pick:
#3 : Griffit’s Gnat
This fly is a must have for the summer Pennsylvanian trout angler who often encounters low & clear waters and bright clear days. There might not be another pattern I turn to more during the trying and testing days summer when nothing else seems to work. The dry-fly angler is often tormented when he or she find fish lazily rising with sporadic consistency and no apparent rhythm in clear and slow pools. Hiding in plain sight this bold method allows the fish to be aware of almost any predator that would approach it. These fish can be particularly intoxicating to cast to not only because of the intensity of the challenge associated with a proper presentation but because we begin to analyze and read their response to our presentation.
Much can be learned by fishing to these fish, on the other hand, you can waste a lot of time fishing to these fish. It is important to remember that the same fish some streams (like Clarks and Spring Creek) see people every day of the year and they have become particularly discerning. The fact that the fish have not run for cover at you presence doesn’t always mean you’re a stealth angler, it can sometimes mean the fish have become so accustomed to the constant presence anglers that it feeding in front of an angler has become a necessary danger in order to survive. More on that in another post, back to the fly at hand.
Part of the success of Griffth’s Gnat is it’s relative simplicity, this simplicity lends itself to versatility in variations and presentation a hallmark of several of our favorite patterns here in the Keystone State. Griffth’s Gnat is a must have for this time of year on waters such as Clarks Creek, The Yellow Breeches, as well as many of the spring creeks. It is said to imitate a midge or even clusters of midges and I am sure it has been even taken for an ant or beetle in larger sizes when I have used it. I carry the pattern in sizes ranging from #12 to #20.
Credited to George Griffth, one of the founders of Trout Unlimited, the fly is said to have originated on the hallowed waters of the Au Sable river in Michigan. It is now a part of a well rounded Pennsylvanian’s fly box and it’s a fun and easy pattern to fish and to tie. Charlie Craven is a great tier and he has a great breakdown of the pattern Here is a link to Charlie Craven’s recipe for the fly.
Here is an EXCELLENT video breakdown of the tie from Tightlines Productions. (Note there is a great reason for you to have a hackle gauge in this video in case you didn’t have a reason already)