Welcome to Just Old Flies

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 todays 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?

Part One hundred-thirtytwo

Carey's Parmachene Bucktail

Carey's Parmachene Bucktail

Arthur James Lingren

The Parmachene series of flies owes it name to Parmachene Lake in Maine and to an eastern brook trout fisherman, H.P. Wells. Wells developed the Parmachene Belle in 1878 as an imitation of a brook trout fin, a common bait used at that time. The fly proved a good fish catcher and its use spread throughout North America. When and who introduced it to British Columbia is difficult to determine, but A. Bryan Williams, in Rod and Creel in British Columbia (1919), highly recommends it and says it "is used from one end of the Province to the other" (page 42).

Sometime in the 1920s bucktails became the fly to use, and Colonel Carey, of Carey Special fame, must have developed the Parmachene bucktail pattern after bucktails became popular. In later years, after 1935, polar bear replaced bucktail in the wing, but that did not result in a name change.

In the 1930s there was confusion among fishermen about Colonel Carey's patterns and Rod Haig-Brown wrote Harkley & Haywood about this. Haig-Brown was under the impression that the Parmachene Bucktail was referred to by some as Carey's Special and that there was another pattern called Col. Kerry's Special of which he enclosed a sample for Mr. Haywood to verify.

The 12 July 1939 return letter from Haywood says:

Enclosed herewith please find the Col. Carey's special as known to the Interior of B.C. people. The coast [fly fishers] have always called it the Dredge, and incidentally that is the way it is used. The correct name for the other one is Col. Carey's Parmachene Bucktail.

Colonel Carey's Parmachene Bucktail is little used today; however, it provided many years service. Patrick attests to its popularity in Pacific Northwest Fly Patterns, 1964 edition, when he says that this fly "has been very good for both interior lake fishing and migratory [trout fishing] on the coast.

The recipe is: Carey's Parmachene Bucktail

    Hook:   Number 6 and 8.

    Tail:   Red Swan.

    Body:   Yellow silk.

    Rib:   Oval, silver tinsel.

    Throat:   Grizzly.

    Wing:  White bucktail with strips of orange swan along side.

~ Arthur James Lingren Credits: From Fly Patterns of British Columbia by Arthur James Lingren. We thank Frank Amato Publications, Inc. for use permission!

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