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
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 fourty-one
Leisenring Black Gnat
Compiled by Deanna Birkholm
Archive of Old Flies
From Dick Surette's Trout and Salmon FLY INDEX,
"One of the indications of a well-tied fly is not overdressing or
making the fly too full, this is a pitfall of most beginners. The proper
sparseness will allow the fibers, furs, and materials to work or act
more lifelike in the water. Insects have tremendous movement as they
swim about in their environment.
Jim Leisenring (JL), one of the best wet fly tyers of all time, was a master
in selection of the proper materials for tying his overall sparse but
effective flies. His time-consuming efforts show in his work as he did
indeed have some excellent flies that were simple but yet very effective.
The book The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymp
by Leisenring and Vernon Hidy shows the patterns, materials and
painstaking efforts to secure just the right material for each and
The framed photo of JL, shown above, is courtesy of Rod Rohrback,
owner of the Little LeHigh Fly Shop. Chat Room Host Ron Koenig
borrowed it to photograph for use here when he picked up an old copy of
Leisenrings book on The Art of Tying The Wet Fly.
Ron says, "the fly in the shadow box next to the photo was tied by JL and it looks
like it's a wet Quill Gordon."
Quoting Surette again, "Black is a predominant color in many aquatic
insects; at least, may are on the dark side and black is a very visible
color in any trout stomach analysis."
Leisenring Black Gnat - Dressing
Credits: Quoted text, recipe and fly photo from Dick Surette's Trout and
Salmon Fly Index published by Stackpole Books. Photo of Jim Leisenring
and fly from Little LeHigh Fly Shop, thanks to Ron Koenig.
Hook: Mustad #3906, sizes 12-14-16-18.
Thread: Crimson or claret silk.
Body: Black silk or two or three fibers from a crow's
secondary wing feather.
Wing: Dark starling (optional).
Hackle: Purplish black feather from the shoulder of
a cock starling.
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