Winter is a great time, at least in the Central Okanagan when my favourite lakes are under a thick layer of ice, to work on more delicate dry flies in anticipation of the coming season! In the next few months, we will examine some dry flies that require a bit of extra work to tie but will produce excellent results when surface hatches bring vicious strikes from marauding trout! Because it tends to float higher and can be seen in more turbulent stream water, a parachute dry is a tackle box must. There are many variations of parachutes, both regular and hair wing, but we will look at one I particularily like, the mallard parachute!
Regular hackle is an option for the tail but moose hair has better floating quality and with a white cotton thread rib, serves as the body as well. Start by tying a length of white cotton thread to the hook shank and let it hang well past the hook bend. Now select several strands of moose hair for the tail and secure them through to the hook eye with your invisible tying thread to form not only the tail but also the body bulk as well. Next make a rib with several turns of the white cotton thread hook bend to hook eye. The following two steps are the tricky ones. First select a matched pair of medium mallard breast feathers and figure eight the feathers so that they stand vertically about one third distance along the fly body from the hook eye. The final step is to tie a long thin badger feather above the body encircling the two mallard feathers in a horizontal fashion. Ensure that enough hackle is left under the wings so that with the aid of the moose hair body, the fly will float high enough to clearly show the wings, especially if fishing a stream ripple. Cement, tie off and you have completed the Mallard Parachute dry fly!
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