Diane Blair demonstrates how to tie Michael Verduin’s Mighty Mite Hellgrammite fly in this fly tying video demonstration.
What’s A Hellgrammite
Hellgrammites are the aquatic immature (larval) stage of the Dobsonfly. The lifespan of the hellgrammite ranges from 2 to 5 years which constitutes the majority of a Dobsonfly lifespan for the pupal stage lasts for only 2-4 weeks, and the adult stage only lasts for 1 to 2 weeks. The hellgrammite is usually found beneath rocks in cold, fast flowing, well-oxygenated streams, lakes, or rivers and is intolerant of water pollution, which means they are present in many freestone streams where our friends Mr. Trout and Mr. Smallmouth Bass hang out.
The hellgrammite has a pair of hooked prolegs where the abdomen ends, as well as three pairs of segmented legs on the mid section of the body. It has short antennae and large pinching jaws, and it is thick-skinned and dark gray or black in color. The hellgrammite passes through 10-12 instars (development stages) and can be 35-65 mm in length at maturity and are a sizable meal for hungry trout and bass.
The hellgrammite is predacious and uses it’s strong mandibles (biting mouthparts) to feed on aquatic insects, small fish, amphibians, or any small invertebrate that is a bottom dweller. Among the organisms that they will prey upon, their main preferences are black fly larvae and net spinning caddisflies (how dare they!.)
When preparing for pupation, the hellgrammite crawls out of the water and either burrows into the stream bank or beneath rocks, logs, or debris. The adult dobsonfly usually emerges from the pupal stage during the month of June.
Sooo, if you fish clean freestone streams you might try spinning up this Hellgrammite fly pattern and give it a try this spring or summer.
Mighty Mite Hellgrammite Fly Materials
Hook: Mustaad 3366, Size 4
Thread: UTC 140, black
Tail: Zonker Strip, black
Legs: Schlappen Hackle, black
Body: Estaz Grande, black
Shellback: Swiss Straw (Raffia), black
Eye: Bead Chain, black
Pinchers: O-ring, black
photo credit: pfly