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Surprising Trout Slammer: The GT Triple Double Dry Fly

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February 27, 2012

Surprising Trout Slammer: The GT Triple Double Dry Fly

By John Merwin

Once in a while I run across a fly or lure that surprises me. It doesn’t look as if it would work, but turns out it works very well. Sometimes, extremely well. Such a trout fly is the GT Triple Double dry pictured here.

I first encountered this pattern while fishing with its originator, guide Gordon Tharrett on Utah’s Green River tailwater some years back. The first eight miles of river below Flaming Gorge dam, the so-called “A” section, is chock full of trout in extremely clear water. This section is hugely popular, is pounded hard by skilled anglers all year long, and most of the trout here have PhDs in being selective as to fly pattern.

We spent the morning casting to sippers that we could see along the riverbank rocks and grasses. Fine tippets, down to 6X and 7X, were the order of the day along with tiny dries, emergers, and terrestrials that fooled enough trout to make it a great morning. Being able to see the fish clearly as they eyeballed a tiny dry fly and then tipped up slowly to take--or sometimes reject--it was great fun.

After a while, Tharrett asked for my leader, to which he tied a multi-hackled monstrosity, at least monstrous in comparison to the little size 20 black ant I’d most recently been fishing. It was, he said, a Triple Double; a size 14 as I recall. “Try it,” he said, smiling. “You might be surprised.”

So I cast, mended line, and watched a brown trout tip and sip with the same confidence other fish had shown on smaller flies. I thought that was just a fluke, that we had somehow found the village idiot among trout. Not so. The Triple Double worked well all afternoon, at least as well as much smaller flies, and I was dumbfounded.

I don’t know why it works so well. It’s not precisely imitative of anything, or so I think. Maybe the trout take it for an ant or perhaps some bunched-up midges. But that doesn’t account for the effective body color: purple. At any rate, the pattern fits none of my theorizing, but it has found a home in my fly boxes. I use it often now as a searching pattern when there’s no big hatch happening.

It’s an easy fly to tie. For those who make their own, the photo should be sufficient direction. The fly is also available through Umpqua Feather Merchants in sizes 12, 14, and 16, and in body colors purple, amber, black, or olive. If you’re looking for something new to try this spring, the GT Triple Double is highly recommended.

Comments (10)

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Deeter always makes flies in blue and purple for those times when fish are off, I believe he made a blog post regarding why blue and purple work good for a searcher pattern, trout see those colors first with the way their eyes are built...

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fezzant wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Somebody (Dave Whitlock???) once observed, "Purple will either catch or clear the pool." I haven't fished with many purple flies. But when they are on, they can't be beat.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Bass love purple aka "junebug" why not trout.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Have heard the same of purple but have never had success fishing the color.

I would call that fly a Royal Bivisible.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Copying the Renegade fly.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

There are some spots that I fish in Montana where parahute purple haze and purple haze cripples work when nothing else will. I can't explain it but sometimes I think size, profile and a good drift are more important than matching color. For flies like the triple double dry, I bet the fish think it is more than one of the same insects huddled together, much like using a renegade or big griffitth nat to imitate a midge raft. That is just speculation of course. WHo can really be sure whats going through a fishes head??

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from Ol Krusty wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'll be surprised if any of the flies I've tied so far will catch anything besides my shirt. They look like they ran into a Volvo. Guess I need to get some purple to increase my chances.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Simple deal...Purple shows against a cloudy, lower light day. Not the magic of purple at all. The green peacock herl in a Royal pattern would also work well when the purple body fly works.

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'm going to try some bass colors in my trout flies. Mostly streamers and nymphs though I suppose some dries could get it too.

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from Charlie Woodman wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Could the purple coloring have highlights in the colorant that we cannot see? Per John's book trout see a wider spectrum of light going down into the spectrum we cannot see. Perhaps the fish see something completely different than just the purple we see. I am going to tie up some variations for the season using purple if i can find it soon. Tis the season.

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Post a Comment

from fezzant wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Somebody (Dave Whitlock???) once observed, "Purple will either catch or clear the pool." I haven't fished with many purple flies. But when they are on, they can't be beat.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Bass love purple aka "junebug" why not trout.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Have heard the same of purple but have never had success fishing the color.

I would call that fly a Royal Bivisible.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Copying the Renegade fly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

There are some spots that I fish in Montana where parahute purple haze and purple haze cripples work when nothing else will. I can't explain it but sometimes I think size, profile and a good drift are more important than matching color. For flies like the triple double dry, I bet the fish think it is more than one of the same insects huddled together, much like using a renegade or big griffitth nat to imitate a midge raft. That is just speculation of course. WHo can really be sure whats going through a fishes head??

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ol Krusty wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'll be surprised if any of the flies I've tied so far will catch anything besides my shirt. They look like they ran into a Volvo. Guess I need to get some purple to increase my chances.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Simple deal...Purple shows against a cloudy, lower light day. Not the magic of purple at all. The green peacock herl in a Royal pattern would also work well when the purple body fly works.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'm going to try some bass colors in my trout flies. Mostly streamers and nymphs though I suppose some dries could get it too.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charlie Woodman wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Could the purple coloring have highlights in the colorant that we cannot see? Per John's book trout see a wider spectrum of light going down into the spectrum we cannot see. Perhaps the fish see something completely different than just the purple we see. I am going to tie up some variations for the season using purple if i can find it soon. Tis the season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Deeter always makes flies in blue and purple for those times when fish are off, I believe he made a blog post regarding why blue and purple work good for a searcher pattern, trout see those colors first with the way their eyes are built...

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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