Our Man From Canada


Tom Deschaine - December 20, 2010

Recently, while doing some research for an article I was writing I stumbled across nifty little pattern I wanted to share with your readers. The pattern is called the Herring Drake. It was designed for lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), which Michigan sportsmen erroneously call ‘herring’ (hence the name, Herring Drake).

Fly of the week - December 20, 2010Its distribution includes most of the Midwestern States and Canada. The fish live in deep inland lakes. Although extremely large ones do exist, they average about 16-18” long and average about 2-4 lbs. in weight. They are an extremely fragile fish with a delicate mouth.

During the summer months when the mayflies are on the water early in the morning and evenings these lake whitefish will feed on surface insects and rise to dry flies.



Fly of the week - Herriing Drake - December 20, 2010Wrap the shank with a good base of thread, add you pheasant tail fibers, secure with thread then run the thread forward down the shank of the hook.


Fly of the week - Herriing Drake - December 20, 2010Select, cut and stack a medium bunch of natural deer body hair.  Secure to the hook shank by laying the hair parallel to the shank.  Using a crisscross pattern tie in the deer hair down and back leaving the tips flared at one end and the butts flared at the other end.


Fly of the week - Herriing Drake - December 20, 2010Now invert the hook.  If you’re using a rotary vice, simply rotate 180°.  If you’re using a standard vice, simply remove the hook, turn it over and re-insert it into the jaws of the vice being careful not to damage the tail material.


Fly of the week - Herriing Drake - December 20, 2010Pull the butts of the deer hair into an upright post position and tie off with thread.


Fly of the week - Herriing Drake - December 20, 2010Tie in and wrap you hackle parachute style.  You may use either grizzly or brown.  Secure the hackle and finish tying off the thread.


Fly of the week - Herriing Drake - December 20, 2010Trim off the deer hair post to form a short stubby pad.  Be generous with head cement.


This pattern was created by Ann Schweigert of Roscommon, Michigan back in the 1950’s.  The inversion of the hook is interesting to say the least.  This is a common technique used with some bonefish, streamer, nymph and salt water patterns, but this is the first and only time I’ve ever seen it used on a dry fly pattern.  Although it was designed for Lake Whitefish, I strongly suspect it might be effective on trout as well. 
Next season will bring an answer to that question.

See you on the water…..

Tom Deschaine
Tom Deschaine


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