Icons of the Fly Vest: Griffith’s Gnat

George Griffith is one of the founding fathers of Trout Unlimited, the international angling and conservation organization, and the earliest TU meetings happened in his house on the Au Sable River, near Grayling. The Griffith’s gnat works magic on Michigan rivers and many other rivers as well. But there’s a bit of a mystery surrounding the Griffith’s gnat’s true heritage. Some say George Griffith invented it. Some say he worked with a friend to invent it, but did not actually tie the first one himself. Some say a friend of Griffith’s invented it and just named it after him. Some say Griffith himself denied inventing it. Off the record, two icons of Michigan fly fishing said, “I don’t want to be the one to dispel the myth.” So they left it up to us. If you know anything about this situation, feel free to drop a comment below. In the meantime, tie on a Griffith’s gnat next time a midge hatch is underway. After all, there’s no disputing the gnat’s allure.

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Article Comments

  • sarah

    Hi – I tried to post and it didn’t work – so I’m trying again before I rewrite everything.

  • sarah

    OK! It worked!
    I’ve grown up with the family story that my great-grandfather invented the Griffith’s Gnat. A few years ago I looked it up on the internet and everything that was known about the gnat meshed with my family history- so I was a bit disappointed when I decided to google it again today and found that some Trout Unlimited guy is getting all the credit (even as he’s denying it).
    The story when I first looked up the fly (about 2002) was that it originated in Pennsylvania in the early-mid 1980s – which went right along with our Griffith Gnat.
    If you wouldn’t mind emailing me, I’d be happy to give you more details.