This fly was made and named the "Nameless" by
Mr. John Shields, as a reminder of the Nameless
Creek featured in W.H.H. Murray's book Adventures
in the Wilderness. I would very much like
to get hold of this book, as it was important in
drawing sportsmen and invalids to the Adirondacks.
The Adirondacks were known to have a curative effect
on the sick, and the Will Rodger's Institute, a
famous sanatorium for Tuberculosis victims, was
located in Saranac Lake. There were also many
health spas in the area, and grand hotels at the
turn of the century, through the 20s. In many ways,
this era was the golden age of the Adirondack
There is a passage in Mary Orvis Marbury's book
from Murray's book, which I find beautiful and
compelling. I'm quite sure it is a description
of the view from atop Whiteface Mountain, though
it doesn't say so explicitly. There is even a
reference to John Brown's grave at Lake Placid.
I've seen this view many times, and climbed
Whiteface in my '40s with my brother. There is
also a road up, which is the way I'll be getting
up there from here on. It's a stunning view,
because Whiteface is isolated, not part of the
other Adirondack peaks. This passage says it all:
"With what words shall I be able to make you
see what we saw? The air was pure and clear as
a newly-cut diamond, white and colorless as
mountain air always is, - a perfect lens,
through which, with unimpeded eye, we saw the
marvelous transfiguration from day to night
go on. Five thousand feet beneath us Lake
Placid slept, verifying its name. In the
south, a hundred mountain peaks were ablaze
with the peculiar red sunset light. For a
hundred miles the wilderness stretched away,
- a deep green sea, across whose surface the
sun was casting great fields of crimson. Amid
the darker portions eighty patches of gold
flashed, representing as many lakes. Eastward,
the valley of Champlain lay in deep shadow. To
the north, bounding the vision like a thread
of silver, gleamed the St. Lawrence. In the
valley of the south lay the martyred dust of
him who died on a Virginia gallows, that American
manhood and American liberty might not perish.
The closing moment had now come. The heavens
to the west were swathed in the richest tints
of scarlet and orange. A thousand colors lay
on forest and lake. The mountain summits flamed.
The sun, like a globe of liquid fire, quivering
in the intensity of its heat, stood as if balancing
on the western pines. Down into them it burnt its
way. Pausing for a moment, and only for a moment,
it poured its warm benediction upon the forest,
bade a crimson farewell to each mountain top,
kissed the clouds around its couch, quivered,
dropped from sight! And in the crisp air we
thus stood, and gazed in silence westward, until
the shadows deepened along the sky; the fog
crept in and filled once more the valley at our
feet; and the wilderness which had been to me
and mine a nurse and home, and which we feared
we should never see or enter together again,
lay wrapped in silence and in gloom." ~ W.H.H. Murray.
This is the recipe for the fly depicted in the
Mary Orvis Marbury Book Favorite Flies and
Their Histories, or as close as I can come
to it by looking at the picture:
Tip: Silver Tinsel.
Here is another recipe for the nameless, as follows:
Tail: Yellow Goose or Mallard.
Tag: Orange floss.
Body: Embossed tinsel.
Hackle: Palmered yellow.
Wing: Ring neck pheasant quill
over barred wood duck.
Head: Red thread or wool.
Tail: Mallard Dyed yellow.
Credits: Text from Favorite Flies and
Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury.
Body: Embossed silver tinsel.
Hackle: Scarlet tied palmer half way.
Wing: Light pheasant, light brown mottled. ~ EA