Since I mentioned this fly in my Michigan Fly Fishing Expo recap I thought I would tell you a little more about this fly and its creator, Clarence Roberts.
Clarence Roberts was a game warden near Grayling, Michigan and a commercial fly tyer beginning in the 1950s. Clarence created this fly for his friend George Griffith, who incidentally is one of the primary individuals responsible for starting Trout Unlimited. George only had sight in one eye because he lost vision in the other one in a fishing accident. Clarence wanted the fly to be easier to see for his friend.
This is Clarence’s most famous pattern and is still used today. Many fishermen in Michigan use this as a general purpose fly and it’s a very effective pattern. In fact, when I was talking to Julie Nielson at the show, she said she really doesn’t enjoy tying the pattern, but it’s so effective that she just has to.
Below is the original recipe for this pattern and I’ve included a photo of a Roberts’ Yellow Drake tied by Paul Christensen. I thought it showed the pattern better than the one above. By the way, the fly at the top was tied by Clarence himself.
- Hook: Mustad #94840 Size: 8-14.
- Thread: Yellow, 6/0.
- Tail: Pheasant Tail Fibers, 3-4.
- Wing: White Deer Belly Hair, tied post.
- Body: Light Tan Deer Hair, tied parallel to the hook shank and flared at the tail. Body should be tied slender.
- Rib: Crisscrossed thread.
- Hackle: Ginger, tied parachute.