The Griffith’s Gnat was designed by the famous sheriff from Mayberry, Andy Griffith, to catch those darned redears that he and Opie were so fond of chasing. It can imitate both a cluster of mating midges as well as a single adult midge when tied in the right sizes. I prefer to tie mine with somewhat undersized hackle, to let the fly sit lower in the surface film. I often trim the hackle on the bottom of the fly flush to the body to further this low posture. This is truly a great fly for our western midge hatches and is a very simple pattern to tie.
Hook: TMC 101 #16-26
Thread UNI 8/0 or 14/0 black
Hackle: Grizzly Hackle
Body: Peacock herl from the eyed quill
Start the tying thread right behind the eye and build a smooth thread base to the bend of the hook.
Select, size and prepare a grizzly hackle feather. I like to shoot for about one to one and a half gaps on the hackle length.
Tie the hackle feather in at the bend of the hook with the outside of the feather facing up. Wrap forward over the bare stem and clip the excess.
Select six or eight fine peacock herls from the eyed portion of the quill. The herls in the tip of the eye are much smaller and will be more proportioned to the size of these small flies. Clip the tips of the herls so they are even and tie them in by their tips at the rear edge of the hook eye.
Wrap back over the peacock with the tying thread to the bend of the hook. Return the thread to the hook eye.
Wrap the peacock forward in slightly overlapping turns to the back of the hook eye and tie them off with a couple tight turns of thread. Clip the excess peacock flush against the hook shank.
Wrap the hackle forward from the bend to the eye in tight spiraling turns. I usually go heavy on the hackle figuring I can pare it down later if needed. Tie the hackle off at the hook eye and trim the excess.
Finished fly, side view. Yes, I know it wasn’t really Andy Griffith.