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
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 Deanna Birkholm
Ray Bergman Tier
Archive of Old Flies
This fly, dating about 1866, was first tied by
Charles Orvis to specifications furnished him
by L.M. Morrison, 1830-1898, of Lock Haven,
Mr. Morrison was a civil engineer engaged in
railroad work. He participated in the construction
of numerous railroads in Pennsylvania, Vermont and
New York State. His work took him into many remote
parts, where trout fishing was available and he took
advantage of the opportunities offered.
He was often referred to as Colonel Morrison,
which was a courtesy title, given him because
of his courteous, gentlemanly and companionable
The Morrison is a dark fly. Except for a claret wool
body, the ribbing, tail, hackle and wings were all black.
Serious consideration to dark flies should be given in
cold early spring weather and in far northern waters.
Few flies are found at such times or in such waters that
are not dark. Hewitt Wheatly pointed out in his
Rod & Line, 1849, that dark colors attract warmth
in a greater degree than light colors. Thus dark flies
might live by attracting more light and heat in an
atmosphere which might destroy paler kinds. Many such
flies are called black whereas they are dark claret.
The dark Montreal is just such a fly.
Ray Bergman gives the recipe for this fly as
Credits: from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by
Harold Hinsdill Smedley 1942. Photo from Forgotten
Flies published by the Complete Sportsman.
Body: Claret wool.
Rib: Black silk.
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