Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of methods and flies that used-to-be. These flies were tied with the only materials available. Long before the advent of 'modern' tying materials, they were created and improved upon at a far slower pace than today's modern counterparts; limited by materials available and the tiers imagination.

Once long gone, there existed a 'fraternity' of anglers who felt an obligation to use only the 'standard' patterns of the day. We hope to bring a bit of nostalgia to these pages and to you. And sometimes what you find here will not always be about fishing. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you will fish the flies. Perhaps?


Deanna Lee Travis - September 26, 2011
Old flies - spuddler - Deanna Lee Travis
Spuddler – Image courtesy of Amato Press – Trout Country Flies

This pattern was inspired by the Muddler Minnow and the Spruce Fly, and was one of the first western flies to simulate the sculpin minnow. Originally it was created by Red Monical and Don Williams who both worked for Dan Bailey in Livingston, Montana. The fly gained prominence when its creators, avid fishermen themselves, and others used it to catch brown trout from the Yellowstone River.
Old flies - spuddler - Deanna Lee Travis
Livingston Enterprise

When those big brown trout won big fish contests the fly's reputation was set. After a few decades of publicity, the popularity of this pattern spread from local use to waters around the west.

The Spuddler - Originated by: Red Monical and Don Williams, 1960s.

  • Hook: Mustad 79580, or equivalent, size 2 12.
  • Thread: Brown 3/0.
  • Tail: Short brown calf tail.
  • Body: Cream wool.
  • Shoulder: Red Wool.
  • Underwing: Brown calf tail.
  • Wing: Four dyed brown grizzly neck hackles tied in to curve outward.
  • Head and collar: Spun reddish-brown antelope hair clipped to shape.

Credits: Photo, recipe and quoted text from Trout Country Flies, by Bruce Staples, Published by Frank Amato Publications

Big fish photo Livingston Enterprise.

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