What is Orvis Hy-Flote Dust?
Orvis Hy-Flote Dust is a powdered dry fly floatant that can be used to both restore damp dry flies to make them float and keep your fresh dry flies buoyant so they sit upon the surface where the fish can see them. It seems to be based on the same kind of very fine off-white powder used in other dry fly floatants, such as Frog's Fanny and Fulling Mill High Glide. These incorporate hydrophobic fumed silica, which repels water amazingly and makes flies float like corks.
How do you use Hy-Flote Dust?
Some other products that use hydrophobic fumed silica, such as Fulling Mill High Glide, are applied to the fly by placing it into the pot with the tippet attached and then shaking it for a few seconds. However, Frog's Fanny and Orvis Hy-Flote Dust come with an applicator brush. This really does make a massive difference to the effectiveness of what is essentially a very similar product.
With Hy-Flote Dust, you simply dip the brush into the powder and rub it into the fibres of your dry fly. It can bring wet and even slimed flies back to the surface and make unused dries stay afloat far longer. As it doesn't clog fine fibres, such as those in cul de canard or CDC feathers, as silicone gels like Gink do, it works on pretty much every dry fly pattern going.
How well does it work?
While they might be based on similar ingredients, the applicator brush used in Frog's Fanny and Orvis Hy-Flote floatants really gives them the edge over the products that rely purely on shaking the fly within the pot of powder. Hy-Flote Dust seems to be easily on par with Frog's Fanny and works brilliantly for both drying out wet flies and maintaining buoyancy.
However, if you want your flies to sit within the surface film rather than upon the water surface, then you need to apply the powder only to keep parts, or use a silicone gel product instead. Gehrke's Gink, Fulling Mill Dry Sauce or Orvis' own Hy-Flote Gel are all pretty similar and work well if you're looking for a silicone gel alternative.
How much does it cost?
Orvis Hy-Flote Dust costs around £5.99 for a small pot with a brush. It may not look like you get a lot, but that's easily enough to last you a couple of seasons of regular fly fishing, and the price comes in cheaper than the more widely-used Frog's Fanny equivalent. The Orvis packaging is much nicer too.