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?


Compiled By James Birkholm

Quoting from Fly Patterns and Their Origins, "This pattern, one of the earlier hair flies and the first known to have been tied in this fashion, in which hair was used as a substitute for feathers in making the wings, was created in fun by Carter H. Harrison in 1903, while a guest on the A.S. Trude ranch, in Idaho.

Red worsted from a rug for a body and a bunch of hair from a red spaniel dog, put together with a squirrel tail hackle in the spirit of fun on an over-size muskie hook, and presented to Mr. Trude, looked so good that a few more serious samples were made up with a red yarn body wrapped with silver, squirrel hair tied long enough to show the dark band, and red rooster hackle. They caught all the fish the party could carry away from the Snake River, near the ranch.

Mr. Trude was a resident of Chicago, a noted criminal lawyer and prosecutor of Patrick Prendergast, who was hanged for slaying the elder Carter H. Harrison in 1893. Alfred S. Trude died in 1933.

Mr. Harrison has successfully used this pattern on Lake Superior fontinalis and small mouth bass, and states: "It's a great fly and the ancestor of a big family."


Originator:  Carter Harrison, 1900s.

Hook:  Mustad 94840, or equivalent, size 6 - 12.

Thread:  Black 6/0.

Tail:  Reddish brown hackle fibers.

Body:  Scarlet wool yarn.

Rib:  Silver tinsel.

Wing:  Red fox squirrel tail.

Hackle:   Two reddish brown neck or saddle hackles.

Another quote, this one from Trout Country Flies by Bruce Staples, "That Carter Harrison created this fly in 1901 as a practical joke on his host A.S. Trude is a well known story... What is less realized is the impact of this fly's wing on future fly tying. "Trude-style wing" is as recognizable as "Royal Coachman body" or "tied in the round." Hundreds of patterns are tied with this wing style." ~ JC

Credits: Quoted portions and photo from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedley, photo and recipe from: Trout Country Flies published by Frank Amato Publications.

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