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 sixty-six

Trout Fin

Trout Fin

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

While most streamers and wet flies represent some insect or baitfish, here is one which imitates bait.

One of the best baits for brook trout in eastern Canada and the lakes of the northeast is the pectoral fin of a brook trout. (No one mentions what happened if you didn't catch the first brookie to use the fin). However, assuming the inventors of this fly were fly fisherman, they may have been aware of the success of the fin as bait, and specifically created it for that use.

It appears the Trout Fin fly was developed entirely independently by Robert H. Cavanagh, Jr., of Woburn, Massachusetts, and by the Gulline Brothers, Montreal, Canada. The time seems to be the 1920s.

Trout Fin

    Hook:   Mustad #3906, sizes 8 to 16.

    Thread:   Pre-waxed black nylon.

    Tail:   Red duck quill.

    Body:   Flat siver tinsel with a very fine oval silver rib.

    Hackle:   Light ginger, tied back collar style.

    Wing:   Three layers, married matched duck, goose, or swan, Top to bottom - white, black (thin) and red.

Credits: Information fromTrout and Salmon Fly Index by Dick Surette, published by Stackpole Books. Photo from Forgotten Flies published by Complete Sportsman. ~ DLB

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