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?

Pink Lady, Dry

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm

"To George M. La Branche, of New York City, goes all credit for the popular Pink Lady.

Mr. La Branche's father's favorite fly, and consequently his, was a Queen of the Waters. Once when preparing for a trip, and failing to obtain his desired patterns, the clerk sold him some flies called "King of the Waters." A King is not unlike the Queen, except it has a scarlet body, instead of orange. In drying some after using, the red dye in the body faded to a pink.

This pink bodied fly, tied in Mr. La Branche's pattern with upright wings and a tial, in appearance not unlike the imago of the Mayfly, is the Pink Lady.

Mr. La Branche tells of it in his fascinating book, The Dry Fly and Fast Water, written in 1914, rated as one of the best American trout books. He was one of the organizers of the Angler's Club of New York, in 1905, and one of the incorporating directors of the National Association of Scientific Angling Clubs, in 1909.

Mr. La Branche describes his fly as - Wings, medium starling or duck. Body, pale pink floss, ribbed with flat gold tinsel. Legs, ginger or light reddish brown hackle. Tail, three whisks of same."

The version shown here is the palmered, dry version of the Pink Lady.

Quoting Dick Surett's Trout and Salmon Fly Index, "A historic party of four anglers, Roy A. Thompson, Colonel Ambrose Monell, Dr. Orrin Summers, and George LaBranche worked on dry fly patterns on the Upsalquitch in New Brunswich around 1910. By 1924 the flies were proven and well tested and were presented in LaBranche's book the Dry Fly and the Salmon. Many anglers were doubtful that the dry would work on salmon, but this party of four fished in New Brunswick when the fish were plentiful and more cooperative than today."

Credits: Text from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedley, Published by Westshore Publications. Fly photo from Forgotten Flies. We appreciate use permission.

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