If I had to pick one word to describe this Haig-Brown-1930s-originated
pattern, I would say "beautiful." Although designed by Haig-Brown for anadromous
trout, the Silver Lady, because of its attractiveness to the eye, is one of those flies
that cathes fishermen as well as fish. Haig-Brown also recommends the fly for
greased-line, summer-run steelhead fishing and for cutthroat trout when the salmon
fry are running.
I have found the Silver Lady an effective spring-time fly for late winter coastal
steelhead fishing, Squamish River sea-run Dollies and Harrison River cutthroats.
I remember the first fish I ever caught with the Silver Lady. Fishing the Squamish
River on March 16, 1980, I took two fine sea-run Dolly Varden char of 16 and 21
inches. Two weeks later from that same river, a 7-pound steelhead was lured to
this fly. However, there is one steelhead taken on a Silver Lady that has stuck in my
mind for the past dozen years.
Often in the spring I make sojournes to some of Vancouver Island's steelhead
streams, and in early April 1982 I made my usual trip and fished some of the
Upper Island streams. There were few fish around and the trip unrewarding fish-wise.
On my way back home, I stopped to visit relatives in Nanaimo and the day I was
to return to Vancouver, I decided to make the 1 1/2 hour trip and try the Cowichan
River above Skutz Falls. In the late morning, just below Bear Creek as I dangled
my #4 Silver Lady over the lip of the pool's drop-off, it was taken by a nice 8-pound
male steelhead. This put some icing on what was an otherwise poor fishing trip.
The Silver Lady has saved the day on other occasions. On April 25, 1993, I snuck the
afternoon from work, drove the 70-odd miles to the Harrison River, and fished into
the spring evening. Cutthroat sometimes target a fry of a certain size or colouration
and can be very difficult to catch. Harrison River cutts in particular. I can remember
at times fishing the darkening evening knee-deep in water and having cutts almost
at my legs taking fly and having a difficult time enticing them to my fly. However,
on this particular day, I did find some fry-feeding fish and chose a #8 Silver Lady
as my weapon. I managed to hook one short of a dozen fish up to 20-inches that
afternoon and all but one came to the Silver Lady.
I highly recommend it. ~ Arthur James Lingren
The Silver Lady
Credits:Text from: Fly Patterns of British Columbia
by Arthur James Lingren, Published by Frank Amato Publications, Inc.
Hook: Number 6 or larger low-water salmon.
Tail: A small, whole golden pheasant tippet feather.
Body Flat, silver tinsel.
Throat: Badger hackle.
Wing: Two badger hackles side by side, slender strips of teal,
four strands of peacock herl, with a golden pheasant topping overall.
Cheeks: Blue chatterer or kingfisher substitute.
Orginator: Roderick Haig-Brown.
Intended Use: Wet fly for cutthroat trout.
Location: Campbell River.
P.O. Box 82112, Portland Oregon 97282