The Dryret is a Norwegian pattern designed by Gunnar Bingen on the Rena River. It goes by a number of different names and descriptions of it can be found under Dyret, The Animal, or the Rough Water Caddis. Though it’s been around for a number of years it’s relatively uncommon in the United States. It’s a high-floating caddis pattern that checks a lot of boxes for me: it is a good, impressionistic caddis fly pattern, in sizes 12 and up it can be fished as a terrestrial, it triggers strikes as an attractor when there isn’t a clear hatch, and its high buoyancy makes it a great lead fly for a dropper setup, even to the point of floating beadhead nymphs. The Dyret is a useful jack of all trades fly that doesn’t match the hatch but blurs the line between enough different insects to be effective in multiple situations and on all but the pickiest of tailwater fish.
A secondary consideration is how easy the fly is to tie. I started tying this pattern when I was looking for alternatives to Stimulator and Elk Hair Caddis patterns that I felt consumed too much time at the vise and lacked the durability I needed from a regularly fished fly. My concerns with both the Stimulator and Elk Hair Caddis patterns came down to the hair wing used in these flies. It is certainly functional, keeping these patterns floating in rough water and providing a clean wing imprint on the water’s surface, but it is relatively easy to damage the wing and decrease the fly’s ability to float. I quickly tired of changing out mangled EHCs for one with a fresh wing. The Stimulator faces the same issue but bears the burden of several extra steps in construction and more materials. While Stimulators shine as a size 10 or larger stone fly I found that the smaller Stimulators I generally tied, size 16 and 14, don’t hold up to multiple fish and took too long to tie.
The sound design principles that Gunnar brought to the Dyret are apparent if you analyze the various parts of the fly. The deer hair tied along the top of the hook shank provides a wedge-shaped head profile with the trimmed butts and what could be either a wing profile or a trailing shuck on the water’s surface. The dubbed body can be endlessly changed to match the insects in your home water. The dry hackle palmered across the body provides floatation and creates dimples on the water that imitate legs or wings. And trimming that hackle flat on the bottom of the shank keeps the fly flush to the water’s surface, triggering strikes on the surface and in the film. All of the materials involved will float all day long and the dubbing-covered deer hair body absorbs floatant like a sponge, keeping the Dyret high and dry.
Start the thread one eye-length behind the eye. Wrap a smooth base of touching turns back to the bend and then spiral the thread back to the eye.
Select a bunch of deer hair to form the body and tail. When you pinch the hair on the hide, roll the hair between your fingers until the bunch is flat and fan shaped. The correct quantity of deer hair should be equal to or just slightly larger than the hook gape when flattened like this. Brush out the underfur and stack the hair to even up the tips.
Lay the stacked deer hair across the top of the hook shank. The tail should extend roughly one half the length of the hook shank beyond the bend.
Tie in the deer hair behind the hook eye. Make sure to tie it in one to one and a half eye-lengths behind the eye so that the trimmed butts won’t obstruct it.
Spiral the thread back along the hook, keeping the deer hair centered along the top of the hook. Anchor the deer hair at the hook bend with two tight wraps and then spiral the thread back to the tie in point for the deer hair. Spiral the thread in close, non-touching wrap to create a slim, compact, and even body.
Lift the deer hair butts up from the hook shank and make two or three wraps of thread around the hook and below the butts to build up a small thread dam that angles the hair slightly up and above the hook eye. Trim the deer hair butts of at an angle, leaving a wedge-shaped head.
Select a dry fly hackle with fibers just slightly longer than the hook gape. Strip a quarter inch of fibers from the base of the hackle and tie it in behind the trimmed deer hair. Make sure to trim off the base of the hackle.
Dub a thin body back toward the hook bend. Store your bobbin and thread off the back of the hook in the materials clip. This step feels backwards but puts the thread and bobbin in a position to counter-wrap the hackle back towards the hook eye and eliminates the need to tie in a separate rib.
Palmer the hackle backwards towards the bend. Five or six close wraps is enough to create a high-floating fly.
Tie in the hackle at the bend with two tight wraps and then palmer the thread forward through the hackle fibers. Clip off the excess dry hackle at the back of the hook.
Whip finish behind the deer hair butts.
Trim the hackle fibers flat on the bottom of the hook shank.
Your favorite standard length, barbless down-eye dry fly hook, size 16-12
6/0 thread to match the insects in your area
Fine-tipped deer hair ( I prefer Comparadun hair)
Dry fly hackle, measured against the hook with fibers slightly longer than the hook gape
Fine dubbing to match your tying thread