If you’re looking for a go-to summer and fall attractor pattern, then look no further than the Purple Parachute. A long-time favorite among Missoula guides, this fly was fished west of the Divide for many years before making its way over the pass a few years ago. What was once only whispered about in hushed circles of Bozeman is now commonly found in many local fly boxes.
For anglers, this dry fly throws a solid curveball at the “match the hatch” mantra. What is it about the color purple that the trout like? We can’t think of an aquatic insect that is truly purple upon hatching. (Come to think of it, we haven’t seen any purple terrestrials either.) The success of this color could be that it’s different enough from all other bugs and flies the trout are seeing that it catches their interest. Whatever the reason, we know the trout like it and we’ve seen them eat it during a frenzy of hatch activity or when only a few bugs are around. It floats nicely and the white post makes it easy to see in most water and light conditions.
Hook: standard dry fly hook sizes 12-18 (TMC 100 or Dai-Riki 305)
Post: white CDC
Thread: purple 8/O or 6/O
Tail: grizzly hackle fibers
Body: purple floss
Hackle: grizzly (saddle or cape)
1. Using two pieces of your white CDC, tie in the post. (Wrapping the CDC partially down the shank of hook gives the fly a little extra floatation and starts the taper.)
2. Using eight to ten of your grizzly hackle fibers, tie in the tail starting just above the bend of hook.
3. Tie in your floss just above the tail. Bringing the thread up to the eye of the hook, wrap the body with the floss.
4. Using one grizzly saddle or two grizzly cape feathers, wrap your hackle four to five times to get your hackle around the post.
5. Finish off with a whip finish or half hitches.
Sarah Clark (“Shark”) and Jim Carter (“Yankee Jim”) work at the River’s Edge Fly Shop in Bozeman.