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-nine

Collie Dog Tube Fly

Collie Dog

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm


The Collie Dog is one of the 'old' flies which has refused to disappear. It probably originated during the eighteenth century, either as a result of the movement to hairwing flies, or out of necessity. No at-hand supply of the feathers used at that time for Atlantic Salmon flies.

As was quoted in an earlier article here: "People used what they had, and they quite sensibly named each fly from its ingredients, so its name told the neighbors exactly what was used to catch the 'big one' of the day." Nearly every British landowner had a Border Collie, and the hair from them is what is used for the Collie Dog fly.

The modern version, above is tied as a tube fly, and is still in use in the United Kingdom. The second version, below, is the original pattern as it is still tied and used today in Iceland.

Icelandic Collie Dog

This is the original pattern.

Collie Dog

    Body:   Flat silver tinsel.

    Ribbing:   Round silver tinsel.

    Wing:   Black or mixed black and white hair from Border Collie.

    Head:   Black.

Credits: Information and photo from Fishing Atlantic Salmon by Joseph D. Bates, Jr., and Pamela Bates Richards, published by Stackpole Books. ~ DLB

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