Klinkhammer Special Fly Step-by-Step

Klinkhammer Special Fly Step-by-Step:

While Hans von Klinken’s namesake parachute dry has been donning the ends of fly lines since the early 1980s, I admittedly only became aware of the fly while preparing for a spring trip to the South Platte in the spring of 2019. I was only just returning to coldwater fly angling after nearly 20 years in the south. And, suddenly aware of the vast wealth of knowledge shared on small blogs, I had begun to undertake an intensive refresher in trout on the fly.

My sights set on Colorado, I found myself drawn time and again to Dave Weller’s Fly Fishing Blog. A wealth of knowledge, I spent hours reading through Dave’s detailed field reports and perusing his fly tying posts.

Of the former, one recorded the prior spring was of particular interest. Fishing the same stretch of river that I would soon be visiting, Dave was faced with fish refusing his regular offering (a CDC Mayfly) during a BWO hatch. Digging into his boxes, he swapped his dry for a similar sized Klinkhammer. The result was refusals turning into strikes, and his daily fish count jumping from 3 to 19 as the fish keyed in on the tiny parachute emerger.

Though my trip was never to happen (more on that in the proof of concept), I found myself intrigued by the pattern and began found tying it in every size from #22 (BWOs) to #12 (Green Drakes).

Tied below in a #12 for demonstrative purposes, this low-riding parachute dry/emerger has become a regular part of my coldwater fly boxes (and occasionally my warmwater boxes as well).

Klinkhammer or light-wire scud (#12-24) 70 Denier or 12/0 (Olive)Materials Para-post or equivalent
Materials Ultra Wire (Chartreuse; Sm)Materials Synthetic Dubbing (Olive)Materials Peacock Herl
Dry Fly Hackle (Med. Dun; oversized)

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Klinkhammer Special Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Options bound – The Klinkhammer Special can easily be adapted to imitate any number of mayfly species or even an emerging midge. As a result, there’s countless opportunities to tweak both color and material combinations in an effort to match the hatch.
  2. Stuck in the Shuck – Trout, like every member of the animal kingdom, are not known for turning down an easy meal. And, during a mayfly hatch, there’s no easier meal than an emerging insect that becomes “stuck in the shuck.” Often referred to as cripples or stillborn, these mayflies that fail to emerge from their nymphal shuck are easy meals for hungry trout. Thankfully, they’re also easy to mimic with a slight tweak to the above pattern. All that is required is to tie in a sparse bunch of amber or cream antron fibers at the base of the abdomen. The effect in the water is a semi-transparent nymphal shuck trailing from the abdomen of your emerging mayfly mimic. Be sure to add a few to your box. If the original pattern above doesn’t do the trick, the “Stuck in the Shuck” version might do the trick.

Proof of Concept

As mentioned in the introduction, my spring 2019 visit to the South Platte was not to be. Arriving in the Denver Airport late on a Wednesday evening in late April, I turned on my phone as I caught a cab to the hotel where I would be attending a conference. Packed for work and play, I was loaded down with gear as my phone dinged in my pocket.

The message, from my would-be fishing partner, announced that he had had a work emergency and would not be joining me. The weekend reservations in his name, my plans were now up in the air, and I elected to try and find a flight home after the conference on Friday evening.

No flights were available until late Saturday, however, so I took that as a sign. Returning once again to Dave’s blog, I researched my options in the front range. Finding one within reasonable distance of the airport, I picked up a rental car, booked a cheap hotel and headed for the water.

To my luck, BWOs were coming off the water in numbers when I arrived. Tying on a small klinkhammer, I spent the late afternoon working the small stream. While I learned my reflexes were not prepared for the tiny trout, I did manage to hook a few. Salvaging a trip that would otherwise have been a loss.

Tight Line!


Klinkhammer Special Fly Step-by-Step
Species Caught on the Klinkhammer Special to Date:
  • Brown Trout
  • Bluegill

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