Western Grey Drake - Medicine May (Spinner)
Text and Flies by Reg G. Denny
From: Patterns of the Masters, 1995 Oregon Council, Federation of Fly Fishers

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Fly Tying Terms

Western Grey Drake - Medicine May (Spinner)

This is the spinner of last week's Fly of the Week, nymph of the Great Western Grey Drake.

This method of dry-fly construction is often called the "Hatchmaker," "Two-Hackle Fly" or "Darby Fly" (after its creator, the late Harry Darbee, famed fly-tyer and angler from Roscoe, New York). The original Darbee creation used conventional vertically wound hackle but anyone having used horizontally wound hackle (parachute style) realizes the advantages for extended body mayfly patterns.

Materials List:

Hook:  Mustad AC80250 or Tiemco TMC 2487; #10 -12.

Thread:  Medium Brown.

Dubbin:  Medium Brown.

Tail, Body and Wing:  Barred flank of Teal, Widgeon, or Mallard.

Hackle:  Blue Dun Saddle.

Tying Instructions:

1. Apply four layers of thread on the hook shank ending at the hook eye. Apply head cement over windings. Build up the head with a small amount of medium brown dubbing, after which, wind thread to mid-shank and secure with a half-hitch.

2. Prepare a single feather to make the tail, body and wing and attach as per figures 1, 2, and 3.

3. Hackle is applied parachute style around wing, stem and hackle butt (fig.3).

4. Tie off and whip finish at base of wing. Cement center of wound hackle at wing. Cement center of wound hackle at wing base as well as the whip finish; let dry, then snip out wing stem and hackle butt (fig.4).

5. At the base of the tail section, select four fibers, (two each side) and snip out remaining fibers (fig.4). Do not cement tail or body fibers.

Fishing the Fly

This mayfly usually crawls from the water onto rocks or vegetation and then transforms from nymph to dun; consequently, the dun is not readily available to trout. Spinners [the last adult stage] return to fast water, (if available) to mate and oviposit [lay eggs]. Ranges throughout the Rocky Mountains of the northern United States and Canada. Peak activity July-August. The fly takes its name from Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta, part of a water system where the mayfly is prevalent. ~ Reg G. Denny

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