Parachute Emerger / Klinkhamer Special


Tying a parachute hackle




The parachute emerger is a superb all-round pattern. Changing size of hook and indeed colour, you can imitate most emerging up-wings and caddis and it does very well as a terrestrial imitation too.


Hans van Klinken's 'Klinkhamer Special' has earned fly-fishing fame due to its success. It rides well, creates a great footprint and is very durable. Parachute emergers are an essential pattern in any River Fly Box.



The parachute emerger makes up a huge part of my river fly arsenal and is a great choice for prospecting the river. It is also very useful for those days when you are getting regular takes. During these times, I prefer the parachute emerger over a CDC pattern.




Some people struggle with tying parachute hackles. There are options of using Gallows tools, but in fact, with a little practice, tying a neat, well proportioned parachute hackled - emerger is simple without extra tools or hassle.


The step-by-step opposite looks long. However this belies its simplicity. I have explained each step in detail so you can see exacly how I tie in the post and the wing. The method opposite is the one I prefer to use. It is not the only way and it is not the 'correct' way. You choose.


I find this method gives me the following advantages:


1) A durable hackle

2) A neat thorax

3) No unnecessary build up of the body (often a danger when tying the post in first and under the thoorax / dubbing)

4) The wing is in the perfect position with no need to add extra thread wraps to get it in position


If you struggle with the parachute hackle or you are aiming for a fly with a slimmer profile, give it a try.



When choosing materials, there are some important considerations:


Thread: Choose a thin enough thread that you can tie around the post without up-setting the hackles. I find Sheer 14/0 excellent. Danvilles' Spider web is also very good and Hends's Synton is excellent for tying in the smaller sizes.


Wing post: I prefer either TMC Aero-dry or Funky Fly Tying's 'Funky Fibre'.


Hackles:Use the best quality you can afford. Higher barb-count and softer stems allow for a neater more durable hackle. Try not to over-hackle the fly. Just two or three turns of hackle is enough for the fly to float. I carry a number of more heavily-hackled versions for fishing in very fast, turbulent water.




The materials used for this tutorial:


Hook: Partridge 15BNX - Extreme Klinkhamer

Thread: 14/0 Sheer, grey

Abdomen: Orvis Spectrablend, Olive

Wing post: Funky Fibre, dun

Thorax: Squirrel

Hackle: Whiting, Golden Badger



Although this specific tutorial is for the emerger, I tie all my parachute hackled flies with this method.








Fly: Dave Wiltshire  Photograph: Hans Weilenmann



Fly: Dave Wiltshire    Photograph: Hans Weilenmann







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Cast on the thread and wind to the bottom of where you will want the thorax to begin.


Dub the thread with the colour you want for the abdomen.


Now dub the body down the bend of the hook. Aim to create a gentle taper in the abdomen. The thread should finish at the base of the fly.


In open wraps, wind up through the dubbing to form the rib.


Your thread should finish where you want the hackle post to be.


Now with your post material, 'pick up' the hanging thread.


Allow it to sit on the top of the fly.


Now turn the post through 90 degrees - as though you were tying the wings in the 'spent' position.


Here you are looking down on the top of the hook.


Pull both sides of the wing downwards, either side of the hook.


Then, holding the wing together and under tension, swing the wing up to the top of the fly.


It should now be in the perfect position as a post for the parachute hackle.Make thread wraps either side of the post and then just two or three wraps around the post - no more though!


Choose your chosen thorax dubbing and make wraps either side of the post.


Start to build a small, neat thorax.


Take the dubbing to behind the eye and complete the thorax.


The thread should finish next to and behind the post.


From now on you should only make thread wraps around the post.


Select the hackle you want. Strip the fibres from the last inch of stem.


Offer the hackle feather up to the base of the post.


Catch it in with two wraps of thread around the post.


Start to wrap the hackle around the post and under the bare hackle stem.




Make each wrap of hackle underneath the previous one. When you have the required hackle, pull the hackle tip down and catch it against the post with the thread. With two wraps, the hackle should now be secure.




I choose to whip finish under the hackle because I find it neater.


You could now sweep the fibres back and wind though the thorax and finish at they eye ~ your choice!


Cut the wing to the desired length. I prefer approximately the equivalent length of the hackle barbs.


The parachute emerger is finshed. A tiny drop of head cement at the base of the wing / in the hackle will give you a very durable fly.



Now trim the remaining hackle tip and stem