This pattern is another of my flies that took
years to develop. I wanted a small, light-olive
leech to compliment the rest of my Hirudinae
collection. While I hadn't found very many
olive colored leeches, I figured a few specimens
would show up here and there.
Hook: Mustad 9672 (or 3XL equivalent), 8 - 14.
Thread: Light-olive 6/0, prewaxed.
Tail: Light-olive philo from base of dyed grizzly
Body: Dark-olive and gold variegated chenille
(dark-olive and yellow will work), medium to extra small,
depending on hook size.
Ribbing: Light-olive dyed grizzly saddle hackle,
palmered and trimmed short.
The pattern started out consisting of a yellowish
marabou tail, a solid colored medium olive chenille,
and a light olive palmered saddle hackle. The fly
may have caught some fish, I don't really remember.
I eventually relegated it to my "maybe someday" box.
"Maybe" they will work "someday"...maybe not.
Then a few years ago, I dug the fly out and decided
to try it again. I had been using Ruel Stayner's
dark-olive and gold variegated chenille for my shrimp
pattern, and thought it might pep up my little olive
leech. I had been dying my own hackle for the Taylor
Shrimp and thought it might also be right for the leech.
I used the new chenille and the dyed hackle (trimmed)
on my old leech pattern, and...bingo! It caught fish.
Lots of fish. It eventually became a solid member of
my DEADLY DOZEN.
The only thing was...it wasn't a leech pattern. I came
to the conclusion that the trout were taking it for a
Over the past 40 odd years, fly tyers have been vying
with each other to develop the perfect damsel nymph for
Henry's Lake. I've watched dozens become one season
killers and fade quickly out of the picture. Others
make it through a few seasons before they too are
forgotten. I remember one in the early '80s we called
the "Grassy Green." It was by far the hottest pattern
at the Big H for one whole season. I came home that
winter and tied up five or six dozen. I wanted to
have enough so I wouldn't have to tie any the next
summer. I'll bet the Grassy Green didn't catch a
dozen fish the next summer.
While my Little Olive Leech has not yet become a
standard at Henry's, it is more than just hanging
on as an excellent damsel nymph pattern. In a
Henry's Lake Foundation winter newsletter, Mike
Brickner- a good friend from Upatoi, Georgia, and
the cover subject on my book, Float-tubing
The West - wrote a glowing report on the
pattern. He said it had become one of his groups
best flies for the Big H in '92 and '93.
Mike first saw the fly the summer of 1992. I had
joined Mike and Barbra Brickner, John and Pat O'Neall,
and six of their friends on the Blackfeet Indian
Reservation. While we did fish several other lakes
on the reservation, we spent more than half our time
fishing Mission Lake.
I had excellent luck with my Little Olive Leech, gave
the party a few, and taught Mike to tie the pattern.
By the end of the trip everybody was taking fish with
the fly, and they had begun to call it Marv's Fly.
The name just sorta hung on. ~ Marv
Marv Taylor's books, Float-Tubing The West,
The Successful Angler's Journal,
More Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume I) and More
Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume II) are all available from
Marv. You can reach Marv by email at
email@example.com or by phone: 208-322-5760.