This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the H & L Variant.

H & L Variant |

Sure, I’ve heard of this fly before, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to describe it to you. I just remembered the name.

The fly is credited to R.C. Coffman of Colorado. Legend has it that he tied this fly for President Dwight Eisenhower who purchased so many of the fly, Coffman was able to build a “house and lot”, hence the H & L name. I believe the “lot” was on the Fryingpan River in Colorado.

The H & L Variant has a lot of similarities to the Royal Wulff. Perhaps that’s why the name includes the word “variant”.

I was reminded of this fly when completing a little research for my upcoming fly fishing road trip to Idaho and Montana. It was listed in Montana Fly Fishing Guide by John Holt. The Guide concentrates on the west side of the Rocky Mountains and includes drainages of the Bitterroot, Blackfoot, Clark Fork, Flathead, Glacier National Park, Kootenai, and the Swan.

Tied with calf body hair for the tail and wing, the fly should float like a cork!

It is listed as a fly to fish during a Green Drake hatch.

The H & L Variant is listed as a popular fly in the 1990’s. I wonder if it still is?

Enjoy…go fish!

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One Comment

  1. Hi John,
    Our favorite 2-fly, Gallatin River rig is the H&L Variant as the point fly with a Renegade on the dropper. It’s a must-have pair on that river and many others in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

    In years past in the ’70s & ’80s when getting genetic hackle was next to impossible and we often had to resort to India capes, we tied the fly with over sized variant hackle. Today, we usually tie it with standard size hackle and call it the H & L. Take care & …

    Tight Lines – (Gretchen &) Al Beatty

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