Learn how to tie the Gray Drake Spinner dry fly pattern, including step-by-step instructions, a video tutorial, pictures, and much more. Improve your fly-tying skills here.

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Ed McCoy of Michigan came up with this mayfly pattern several years ago. It's a variation of a parachute dry fly in that the front and rear sections of hackle are cut from the para post to form a pair of spinner wings.

Material List

Step One

Secure your thread with a jam knot and then wrap rearward to where the barb would be.

Step Two

Cut a small clump of Moose Body Hair from the hide, then clean out any underfur and stack it in a hair stacker. Once the tips have been evened, measure the fibers so that they're as long as the hook shank and secure them on top of the hook. Instead of cutting the excess immediately after tying your tail in, wrap your thread over it to the initial tie-in point and then cut the excess, doing this provides a clean underbody to your fly.

Tip: Since Moose Body Hair tends to be quite hollow, using light thread tension when tying the tail in will prevent the fibers from flaring too much.

Step Three

Cut a small bunch of Deer Body Hair, from the hide clean out any underfur, then stack it in a hair stacker--less is definitely more on this step and overdoing the amount of fibers will lead to an unnatural body profile. Once you've prepped the hair, measure it to extend just into the tail, then tie the fibers in on top of the hook shank.

Step Four

After you've tied the Deer Hair in, manipulate the fibers 360-degrees around the hook shank and take some open wraps of thread all the way back to the tail. Then, repeat that process going up the shank until you reach where you tied the deer hair in. This creates the segmentation that is so common on mayfly bodies. You can now trim the excess deer hair.

Step Five

Select a bunch of McFlylon and remove roughly 50% of the fibers (for larger flies, you can leave more fibers in the bunch, and for smaller flies, less). Now create the wing by making some X-wraps in the middle of the bunch, then pull the wing upright and create the parachute post by wrapping around the bunch of fibers.

Step Six

Select a grizzly hackle that's roughly two sizes larger than the hook that you're tying on (e.g., if you're tying a size 14 hook, use a size 10 hackle) and tie it in. Once the hackle is tied in, wrap the stem up the parachute post.

Step Seven

Take a few turns of thread so that the thread is in front of the parachute post. Now wrap your hackle down the parachute post. Karl has turned his hook downward in the vise to make it easier on him. Once you've wrapped your hackle, tie the feather off and trim the excess. You can also whip finish the fly and cut your thread, as the tying portion is finished now.

Step Eight

After cutting your thread, trim the hackle in the front and rear of the parachute post to create the spinner wings. Once that's done, you can trim the post to the desired length too.

Step Nine

Now finish the fly with a drop of glue at the head.

The Grey Drake is now finished and ready for the next spinner fall you find yourself in.