You're kidding, right? The gaps on these traditional de-barbed single hooks from Redditch are narrower than my pinky! Well within regulations, and fished without split shots or buckshot in parachute cord and swung like a real steelhead fly; a turned loop eye with a double-turle on a Spey rod in the North Cascades.
The spirit of the gap rule is to prevent snagging. That would be just about impossible with a swung fly in spring conditions. You never see anyone snagging for spring steelhead in the PNW... I know that's a big problem in the G/L. Fishing for spring natives is a game of covering miles of water, searching with one's will and wit for the Holy Grail.
People don't stand shoulder to shoulder drifting tiny flies in the same spot over and over trying to break down a steelhead's resistance in a crowded holding pool below a hatchery like some fisheries I've seen (Lake Ontario).
There is more than one way to skin a cat, or in this case hook a steelhead. Really, we're not all smokin' crack out in the PNW, big ass flies work just fine for spring fish!