The Griffith’s Gnat. Sometimes it’s as if this great fly is overlooked as anglers reach for a more hyped dry fly like a Caddis or Blue Wing Olive. I’ve found the Gnat to be productive when other flies just aren’t working — both on tailwaters like the Uncompaghre and freestones like the Roaring Fork. Do you have a Griffith’s Gnat in your fly box?
The Griffith’s Gnat was created by George Griffith, one of the co-founders of Trout Unlimited. Griffith organized the first meeting of TU at his cottage, “The Barbless Hook,” and was a lifelong conservationist. He died in 1998 at 97. Griffith and the other founders made a plan to unite the angling community around a common purpose: to take care of the wild and native trout and salmon we all enjoy and appreciate. You can read more about The Griffith’s Circle on the Trout Unlimited Website.
“The natural resources we love can and will respond to us with equal love.”
— George Griffith
The Griffith’s Gnat is a versatile little guy. It can imitate a midge cluster of mating flies or an adult single midge – depending on size. I have fished it when trout have been finicky and unresponsive to BWO patterns, and I want to give them a look at a different pattern. It works well as a second fly, trailing off of another dry. Fish seem to like it in slower, flat water and riding low in the foam.
Tying the Griffith’s Gnat
Charlie Craven, renowned tier, says he “prefers to tie mine with somewhat undersized hackle, to let the fly sit lower in the surface film. I often trim the hackle on the bottom of the fly flush to the body to further this low posture. This is truly a great fly for our western midge hatches and is a very simple pattern to tie.” You can see Craven’s recipe and instructions for tying the Gnat here.
Picture and recipe here from Pat Dorsey’s
book Colorado Guide Flies.
Videos for tying the Griffith’s Gnat:
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