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?

Parmacheene Belle

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm
Fly tied by Eric Austin

This fly of Henry P. Wells, 1842 - 1904, by his admission, is "his own child." This fly, "born" about 1878, was named after Parmacheene Lake, in the Pine Tree State, Maine, favorite fishing locale of Mr. Wells when fishing for ouananiche. The lake was named after Parmacheene, son of Indian chief Metalluk.

Henry P. Wells, born in Providence, R.I. served in the Army 1863-65, 13th N.Y. Artillery; and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1869.

He wrote Fly Rods and Fly Tackle, the most authoritatve book of its kind up to that time 1885, and still good. He also wrote American Salmon Fishing, 1886. Wells was president of the National Rod and Reel Association in 1887-1889.

He was one of the first to advocate steel for rods, an idea carried by Everett Horton, who patented a steel rod on March 8, 1887.

The Parmacheene was supposed to imitate the fin of a trout.

There is no practical difference between this fly and the Gold Ibis.

Here is the pattern for the Parmacheene Belle:

    Body: Yellow.

    Hackle: Scarlet and white.

    Wing: Scarlet and white.

    Tail: Scarlet and white.

    Rib: Gold.


Credits: Text and recipe from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedley.

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