McClain’s Drake is a Michigan trout fly created by Jerry McClain of Grayling. The body was originally yarn from old World War II army sweaters of which Jerry had boxes full that he bought at a surplus store. But Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in Walnut color can now be used. The tip about the yarn came from commercial tyer Jerry Regan of Grayling.
McClain’s Drake Recipe:
Hook – 94831 size 10-12
Tail – Pheasant tail fibers
Body – Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky Walnut
Wing post – 2-4 colored feather tips. Maroon, purple, orange, or green. (I normally use claret or maroon.)
Hackle – Brown and Grizzly
Jerry spoke to me via phone a couple of years ago and told me a few stories. Another well known fly fisherman, Rowley Failing was a good friend and fished with Jerry quite often. Jerry grew up honing his skills on Lake Margrethe and the Manistee River. Later he fished the Au Sable as well. I have written posts about commercial fly tyer Clarence Roberts here on FrankenFly. Clarence was a game warden and Jerry said he was caught in violation by Clarence several times, but the two became good friends.
He talked about being on one fishing trip while using the McClain’s Drake and said he was catching fish quite well. So well that his fly was falling apart and it looked terrible. His buddy asked him if he was going to change to a new one. He said, “Heck no, it’s catching fish, I’m leaving it on!”
Jerry told another story about him having surgery. He said he wanted to go fishing so bad while in the hospital. After surgery that day, they let him go home. Instead, Jerry got in a boat with a friend and went fishing. He said he was out of it because the medicine they had given him. He fell asleep in the boat for a couple hours, but he said he caught one trout that day, so it was a good day and well worth it!
Jerry is known as one of the legends of Michigan fly fishing. In his 90’s now, he still resides in Grayling. The McClain’s Drake is well known in Michigan and is a good bet when there is a dark hatch of any kind.