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?

The Lake George

By Eric Austin

The Lake George is featured among the wet flies in Ray Bergman's Trout, and caught my attention immediately because I'm from upstate N.Y. originally, and grew up not too far away from Lake George. It's a beautiful lake, very clear, and very cold, even in the dead of summer. I was never able to completely enjoy swimming there. I never fished the lake, but I note that there are charter boats in the vicinity, so there must still be fishing there.

Many of the flies in Mary Orvis Marbury's book were designed to be fished in the north country lakes of the Adirondacks and Maine. Flies like Mooselucmaguntic, Parmacheene Belle, Kineo, Tim, B. Pond, and of course the Rangely streamers are all flies named after lakes in Maine, while the Lake George, Saranac, Adirondack, the Romeyn from Keeseville N.Y., the Beaverkill, the Neversink, all celebrate the waters of northern N.Y. Many were brook trout flies, very much "attractors," designed to excite the trout and bass of the region into striking. Among these, the Parmacheene Belle was quite important, and the Lake George falls into the group I like to call the Parmacheene Belle-based flies. Many flies are pretty much versions of the Parmacheene Belle, and these include flies like the Ibis and White, the Lake George, Tycoon, Belgrade, and Dr. Breck. The Lake George was created by John Shields.

Although my lake fishing with flies was limited growing up, I do have a story to relate. My family was invited to Lake Titus near Malone by good friends who had a camp there. I discovered a bamboo fly rod and an old wallet of wet flies and streamers in a storage room, along with a canoe. I took them out on the lake, and began fishing along the shore line, casting a royal coachman wet fly out, and slowly retrieving it back to the canoe. Lo and behold, I caught a 13" rainbow trout! I had never seen a rainbow before that day, just browns. I can still see that fish to this day, it was just beautiful, and quite a surprise. There are so many lakes up there you could never fish them all. There are small lakes with huge lake trout in them, such as Taylor Pond. There are brooks teeming with small native brook trout, such as the one that parallels the climb up Mt. Dix. I couldn't say how the fishing is these days, but I would venture a guess that you can still find brook trout up there, even now. I'd love to go back and find out.

Recipe: The Lake George

    Tail: Scarlet mallard quill

    Tip: Gold tinsel.

    Body: Scarlet floss.

    Ribbing: Gold Tinsel.

    Hackle: White.

    Wing: White with scarlet stripe.

~ Eric Austin

Credits: Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury; Trout by Ray Bergman.

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