Floyd Franke's Delaware River Hellgrammite

Instructions & Illustrations

by Floyd Franke


above: Fly Tied by Floyd Franke, Scan by Mike Hogue


By chance I happened to meet Floyd Franke at the FFF National Conclave in Grand Rapids, MI this summer. Floyd's flies are close to perfection with a style that is crisp, detailed and well made. Some of you may not be acquainted with Floyd so here is a little background about him:

Floyd is based in Roscoe, NY and is a friend and associate of the Danish tier Poul Jorgensen. Floyd's flies have appeared in several books, magazines and publications. For example his beetles appear in Boyd Peiffer's Bug Making. Floyd is a registered guide for the Catskill region which includes rivers such as the Delaware, Esopus and the Beaverkill. Floyd serves as a casting instructor at the Joan Wulff Fly Fishing School. Floyd ties flies for collectors only as he hasn't the time to make them full time.

When I saw Floyd's fly my eyes immediately lit up. I realized that at last I had found one pattern which solved yet another problem........a realistic hellgrammite. No doubt several of you have tried the Murray Hellgrammite. I have never found this fly very effective. The motion and the sizes are all wrong and the basic design never seemed to work for me................sorry Harry.

The original Delaware River Hellgrammite first appeared in the September 1992 issue of Fly Fisherman. Floyd has fished this fly in NY, along the White River in Arkansas, the Madison River in Montana and the Suesquehanna in PA. The fly has caught many trophy fish from browns to smallmouth and steelhead.

With Floyd's permission and his blessing I have edited his instructions for tying the fly and scanned in all of the illustrations made by Floyd . Floyd asks only one thing......if you catch a really nice fish please send a photo of it to him. He will use your photo in his demonstrations and travels. His address is: Floyd Franke, PO Box 629, Roscoe, NY 12776.

Above: Top View of the DRH fly......Wow! Is this cool or what?


Hook: Mustad 3665A size 6 or Eagle Claw D281F size 6 ( use a 6XL hook)

Thread: 6/0 Black

Wire: .035" Lead , wrapped as a base.

Tails, Pinchers and Legs: Fine Black Rubber

Abdomen: Olive or Peacock Chenille wound through a Black Hen Hackle

Thorax: Large Olive Chenille topped with 1/16" thick Black Closed Cell foam

Note: Floyd tells me that for bass anglers in search of a wide gap you might try using a Mustad 79580 ............size 4 . The 3665A is a 6XL hook, the 79580 is a 4XL hook with a wider gap but will have the same shank length. You may wish to change the colors. In my region the hellgrammites are gray with a black head. Brown, all black and maybe variegated olive/black or brown/olive might be good colors as well. Ultra chenille may also be used . For foam, the fun foam or Scintilla foam is the right size. Floyd tells me that the critical item is the chenille which forces the the hen fibers apart......

Tying Instructions:

Tie heavy lead wire along both sides of the hook shank using criss-cross wraps leaving 2-3 eye lengths open in the front . Along the rear, stop above the hook point. Above the hook point, fold and tie one strand of rubber on the top of the shank. Bring thread forward , repeat above the eye.

Return tying thread to the tail and tie in chenille followed by a hen saddle feather. The hen feather is tied in by the tip with the concave ( or dull ) side facing forward.

Stick the stem of the feather into the eye of the hook. Spiral the tying thread through the feather barbs and stop at point 3/5 of the way up the hook shank. Secure the feather with extra wraps and cut off the excess.

Tie in a 1/4" wide stripe of foam on top of the hook shank. Tie in three pairs of legs on top of the hooks shank in the middle of the thorax section. ( Note: You may wish to use the Bett's Method to tie all of the legs in one bundle at once. This technique is shown on my E-Z Ant Page.)

Spiral the chenille forward through the hen feather. Continue wrapping chenille through legs covering the thorax. Make 2-3 wraps and cut chenille off. Pull foam over the legs and thorax to form the wing case and wrap just behind the eye. Whip finish. Trim excess foam.

Bend thorax of the fly up slightly. Trim the legs, pinchers, tails and gills ( hen feather ) to length. The hen feather should be tapered to an angle on each side. While the they legs on a natural hellgrammite are very small , the extra length may add some fish catching appeal and motion to the fly.

Fishing Notes:


Floyd fishes the DRH in well aerated riffles. Using a short line nymphing technique, he covers the entire riffle in a series of short drifts. Floyd's favorite spots are water behind rocks, heads of pools, seams and ledges or drop offs in rocky structure. Floyd often fishes the fly with extra split shot to get the fly down into holding pockets. If the fly taps rocks occasionally, the fly is drifting correctly. If the fly doesn't tap, it is not close enough to the bottom. Hope you enjoyed this. Special thanks to Floyd Franke for a great fly!


Email: Mike@eflytyer.com

For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946