This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Lempke’s Extended Body Green Drake – TBT.

Lempke Extended Body Green Drake - Courtesy
Photo: Courtesy of Sandy Pittendrigh (

Cyril ‘Bing’ Lempke (1917 – 1991) was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, but moved to Idaho as a youngster. He fished the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and the Teton River during his teens. It was there he learned to tie flies.

Bing moved to California in the late 1930s to work for Southern California Gas Company. World War II interrupted his career and he served in the Merchant Marines helping transport supplies to troops in the Pacific.

Lempke returned to Idaho with his wife in 1947 to work, fish, and tie flies. And tie flies he did. He became known for his extended body flies. He shared his knowledge and skills at the 1978 Conclave in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. National acclaim followed him over the years and Bing was awarded the Federation of Fly Fishers’ Buz Buszek Memorial Award in 1988.

I met Bing in the late 1970s or early ’80s on my first trip to the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and Yellowstone Country with a good friend of mine. I purchased Fishing Yellowstone Waters (1984) by Charles E. Brooks in anticipation of this road trip and poured over those pages in preparation for fishing these fabled waters. Bing’s picture is on page 117 of that book. Somehow, I was able to get him to inscribe – “To John Kreft, A friend from Henry’s Fork…Best wishes, “Bing” Lempke.”

I remember seeing this fly, as well as a few others, and was amazed how someone could tie such exquisite flies.

Thanks again to Sandy Pittendrigh for allowing me to use this photo of the Lempke Extended Body Green Drake, one that Bing actually tied!

If you follow RiverKeeper Flies, you know how much I love the Green Drake hatch on the Metolius River. Perhaps a little more research is in order to tie up a few of Bing’s flies.

I found this fly pattern in Bruce Staples book entitled Snake River Country Flies and Waters (1991). Older books are a good resource for me to find a few fly patterns to use as Throw Back Thursday flies. Thanks for the memory.

Be sure to check out the fly pattern sheet – Lempke Extended Body Green Drake.

Enjoy…go fish!

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One Comment

  1. Hi John,
    I knew Bing well and had the pleasure of tying at the demo table next to his the last time he did so before his passing. What a gentleman! Take care & …
    Tight Lines – Al Beatty

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