This time of year, when dry-fly fishing is about all I do here on the creeks and streams of the Yellowstone region, I have become a fan of the silica-based fly “dusts” that help soak up water from spent dry flies and give them a second life.
Most of us, when fishing dries, apply that initial coating of a greasy “floatant,” and that can work great for a dozen casts or so, or until a hungry trout comes calling. After that, reapplying the floatant is generally pointless. This is where the “dust” or the powder comes in that serves as a desiccant—I use Loon Dust, simply because I trust the company and know that the product is, at worst, environmentally inert. There are other brands, however, and they all generally perform the same service—making wet flies dry again.
A simple application of the desiccant to a water-logged dry fly can literally keep a fly that’s been working all day floating all day, too. But a lot of anglers never think about what this stuff can do on a traditionally wet fly, like a nymph, for instance. Applied near the head of a nymph, the desiccant can give the drifted fly the impression of having that air bubble that a lot of nymphs have as they rise in the water column on the way to actually hatching out.
Silica desiccant is a handy tool, particularly for dry-fly anglers. Don’t get caught on the water without it.
— Chris Hunt