Parachute patterns

Neek, all I want to do is feesh, feesh, feesh. Everywhere. All the time ... Pierre Affre to Nick Lyons

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Pat's perverse preferences for producing parachutes

1. I use Tiemco 101 straight eye hooks. Compared to the standard old Mustad 94840 dry fly hooks they're lighter and slightly longer (but more expensive). I've tried other hooks and they all work, so don't go out and buy them thar Tiemco's on my say-so.

2. For my clumsy hands a size 8/0 thread is practical. Some manufacturers actually specify the colors by the colors of the fly. If you like collecting threads like I do, then go buy them.

3. I think the tail fibers should be fanned out some. That way they'll give extra support on the water. The stonefly tails should be split in a V.

4. Quills don't work very well on parachutes so stick to dubbing for the body material. My preference in the type of dubbing is a hares-ear/antron blend, or an extra fine/superfine material. Anyway, don't look now but I take my scissors and trim any stray fibers.

5. For me the hackle size on a para is not as important as it is on a standard dry fly. Mine are usually slightly oversize (1 1/2 to 2 times the hook gap). Quality is important. Quality hackles wrap better, provide better support on the water, and last longer.

6. The wingpost on all my paras is white poly. I've tried red, purple, black, green, gray and yellow, and the only one of these that helped me see the fly was purple (don't ask me why). So, save yourself some money and stick to white. Plus, if you want, you can color it with waterproof markers.

7. Now don't read this next bit if you're a 'purist'. Manipulating a whip finish tool around all those hackles is beyond me so I use a half hitch tool to tie off !

Using scissors, I trim the hackle further up one side than the other. That way I don't crush the barbules on the first wind around the wingpost.



Tie on a long wingpost.
Mount the hackle on the farside of the post with the trimmed stem on top of the hook towards the bend.
Tie in the tail material.



Dub the body up to just a couple of turns beyond the wingpost.
Wind the hackle and tie off.
Finish dubbing the body and tie off.
Push the quill down where it is wound around the post and stroke the barbules outwards and down between thumb and forefinger.
Trim the height of the wingpost to between 1 to 2 times the hook gap. Apply head cement to the base of the post.



To wing or not to wing? Well, I do on the larger stoneflies, but I cheat and use pre-cut wings. An alternative and good source of material is Wapsi's Thin Skin. It comes in 23 colours, including mottled. Make sure the wing lies flat along the body of the stonefly. Sometimes I'll do this by using a thread rib and winding it over the wing.

These are the ingredients that I use for my parachutes (which don't make 'em necessarily right).
Fly
Hook
size
Thread
colour
Tail
colour
Body
colour
Hackle
colour
Black Stonefly
16
Black
2 short moose mane
Black
Black
Brown Stonefly
14 - 12
Brown
2 short moose mane
Dark brown
Brown
Black Quill (1)
14 - 12
Brown
Grizzly dyed dun
or Dark dun
Chocolate brown
Grizzly dyed dun
or Dark dun
Dark Hendrickson
14 - 12
Black
Dark dun
Dark grey
Dark dun
Hendrickson
14 - 12
Pale yellow
Medium dun
Pale pink
or March brown
Medium dun
Hendrickson spinner
14 - 12
Brown
Medium dun
Red-brown with
yellow egg sac
Grizzly dyed dun
Little Marryatt
14 - 18
Pale yellow
Light ginger
Pale yellow
or sulphur
Light ginger
Blue Winged Olive (2)
16 - 14
Olive
Grizzly dyed
golden olive
Olive
Grizzly dyed
golden olive
March Brown
12 - 10
Pale yellow
Mixed grizzly
and ginger
Pale pink
or March Brown
Mixed grizzly
and ginger
Grey Fox
14 - 12
Pale yellow
Light ginger
Cream
Mixed grizzly
and light ginger
Light Cahill
14 - 12
Pale yellow
Light ginger
Cream
Light ginger
Little Green Stonefly
16
Green
Short pale green
Apple green
Pale green
Yellow Sally Stonefly
14
Pale yellow
Short Pale yellow
Pale yellow
or sulphur
Cream or
light ginger
Golden Stonefly
10 - 8
Pale yellow
Short grizzly
dyed yellow
Gold
Grizzly dyed
yellow
Slate Winged Olive (2)
16 - 14
Olive
Grizzly dyed
golden olive
Olive
Grizzly dyed
golden olive
Tiny BWO (2)
24 - 22
Olive
Grizzly dyed
golden olive
Olive
Grizzly dyed
golden olive
Housatonic Quill
16
Pale yellow
Cream
Chocolate brown
Cream
Hexagenia (Green Drake)
10 - 8
Pale yellow
Grizzly dyed yellow
Creamy yellow
Grizzly dyed yellow

1. This is the mayfly found in "the hatch". Now I know what you're saying ... these are not the standard Black Quill dry fly ingredients. Well you're right ... what they are is a modified version to suit what I have seen on the water (although a Black Quill or any of the other alternatives work just as well).

2. The Grizzly dyed golden olive hackle, which I just happened to find in a store one day (and which I had to have), can be replaced with a Medium/light dun hackle.

Patterns Favourite patterns I Caddis pupa I Orange patterns I Minnow patterns I Golden stonefly I Tent Dweller flies
Zonker muddler I Lee's bakers dozen I Latin cross ref I Old timer patterns I Parachutes I Red/yellow flies

Pat Donoghue, Canada, ©1997