Trout Food

Gunnison - Stefan Larsson-16

Every trout angler knows the satisfaction of watching a trout repeatedly rise to take the same insect on the surface. As you carefully note the trout’s position, you tie on a close imitation of the mayflies the trout is eating and as the first cast lands, out come is almost given.

Gunnison - Stefan Larsson-36

And we all love that situation, but it’s just not that common and if you’re just really keen on catching a fish on a dry fly, you need an attractor rather than an imitation, when nothing’s happening.

Attractors aren’t really supposed to imitate anything in particular, just look edible or more objectively, trigger the trout’s eating-response. The Stimulator is an excellent attractor, even if it was originally designed as a stonefly imitation. Another very popular and very effective attractor is the Humpy.

And when you try to lure trout to an attractor, what’s better than a truly time proven pattern? It’s hard to know for certain who really created the Humpy, but it seems to go back to before the 1950s, where it was tied commercially. The man behind its immense and well deserved popularity is Jack Dennis of Yellowstone, Montana.

Gunnison - Phil-02

The reason for the name is obvious – the humped back of deer hair that aids in floatation. The design is simple enough and originally, the wings and the back were tied of the same clump of deer hair, which meant that once the deer hair was tied in at the back, you’re locked and if the wings then turn out the wrong length when you come as far as to fold over the deer hair after tying the body, you can either live with that or go back.

Our friend, Joel Skoghäll has a simple solution for this – tie the wing and the back (and the tail for that matter) from three separate clumps of deer hair.

Humpy tied by Joel Skoghäll.

Check out Joel’s step-by-step here.

Joel says:

Humpy is a high-floating dry fly that seems to imitate everything, and at the same thing nothing. However, its effectiveness has been proven and it is most often tied in red or yellow (here in orange though). It imitates everything from mayflies and caddis flies, change the size and the colours and try it out for yourself to match the local conditions.

This pattern can be a bit tricky to tie but if you follow these steps you will be up and running producing dozens in no time.”


Hook: Ahrex FW501 sz 14

Thread: Danville 6/0

Tail: Moose body hair cleaned and stacked (Elk hair works fine as well)

Body: Orange Floss

Back: Moose body hair (Elk hair works fine as well)

Wing: Elk hair cleaned and stacked

Hackle: Mix of Grizzly and Brown dry fly hackle

Tie in the thread and make sure you have a thread base to tie down the elk hair on. If you want, add a drop of varnish or glue before you tie in the elk hair to secure it even more.
Cut, clean and stack a bunch of elk hair. Measure it to the length of the hook. Transfer that measurement to your left hand.
Make two loose wraps around the elk hair and tighten the thread.
Take a few turns of thread in front of the hair to put it in a vertical position. Cut the waste end.
Now split the wing in two equal parts and do figure eights, wrap a few thread wraps around the base of each wing as well.
Cut a small bunch of moose body hair and measure it against the hook.
Tie in as shown. Don’t put too much pressure closest to the tail as this will flare the hair too much.
Cut the waste against the bump from the elk hair. This way we get a smooth body.
Go back and forth with the tying thread to create that smooth body. This will make it easier to wrap the floss later on.
Now grab some more moose body hair. Cut the tips with your scissors and tie in as shown.
Tie in the floss. Still make sure you have an even and smooth underbody.
Wrap the floss to about 3/5 off the length of the hook.
Fold the moose body hair over the floss. Try to get the hair not to cross over each other.
Cut the waste off and make a smooth base for the hackle wraps.
Strip the lower parts of a grizzly and brown dry fly hackle and tie it in.
Take both feathers and wrap three turns behind the wing.
Now take another two wraps in front of the wing and secure it with a couple thread wraps. Whipfinish and you’re done!

Thank you, Joel, for sharing this with us!

Follow Joel on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and his website Habitats Fly Fishing.