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.