I’m a big Michigan trout fly geek! I love the old patterns and the history there. Especially surrounding the Au Sable. One of the most well known fly tyers and fly fishermen of the area was Rusty Gates, who owned Gates Au Sable Lodge in Grayling. One of his flies called Rusty’s Spinner resembled the body of a Roberts Drake, but much darker and it wasn’t tied as a parachute.
Hook: Dry Fly, Sizes 10-12
Thread: Dark Brown, 6/0
Tail: Moose Mane, 4-5 fibers
Body: Dark reddish-brown deer
hair, flared at the bend in
in the hook.
Ribbing: The thread becomes the
ribbing, tied crisscross.
Wings: Hen Grizzly tips, tied ¾
Hackle: Brown & Grizzly, mixed.
Josh Greenberg who took over operations of the lodge after Rusty passed away in 2009 still ties this excellent pattern as you can see from the image. One of the most difficult parts of tying this fly are the wings. Here is a tip from Josh that might help.
“I trim the stem of the hackle tips, and tie them with cupped side of wings facing outward. I tie them both on top of the hook, facing toward the hook bend. I then pull them vertical, wrap thread behind them to stand them up. Pull the feathers to the side — one toward you, one away from you — to split them, and figure 8 the thread between the feathers. If they aren’t perfect at this stage, usually you can manipulate them into position while you’re hackling, and let the hackle hold them in place.”
Josh is an excellent tyer, so I hope to have more from him in the future. Be sure to visit Gates Au Sable Lodge when you’re up near Grayling, MI.