There appears to be little or no information regarding
this fly which appears in Mary Orvis Marbury's book
Favorite Flies and Their Histories. She
has this to say:
"We cannot ascertain who is responsible for the Golden Rod.
It is popular for Maine, and whoever named it may have had
in mind a pretty little story the scene of which is laid at
Mount Desert, in that State, and added to the fame and
romance of that picturesque summer resort."
Mt. Desert is an Island off the coast of Maine that contains
Acadia National Park, which in turn features many freshwater
lakes and ponds. Acadia is the former French colony in North
America that encompassed present-day New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,
Prince Edward Island, and parts of Quebec and New England.
This fly certainly would be considered a
lake fly assuming that association. Famed Bar Harbor is
also located on the Island, and is the better known tourist
Mecca these days. I can't speculate as to the story Mary
references; it quite possibly has been lost to history as
the originator of this fly has been. I've done a little bit
of research on-line, and can't find any references to fresh
water fishing on the island, though I would imagine there
must be some.
The Golden Rod is not mentioned as a favorite by any of
the Maine fly fishers who wrote Mary. That said, it is a
lovely fly, and uses Ring Neck pheasant feathers and Jungle
Cock body feathers to great effect. Here is the recipe:
The Golden Rod
Tip: Gold tinsel
Tail: Scarlet goose
Butt: Black ostrich
Rib: Gold tinsel
Body: Orange dubbing, picked out
Wing: Cock pheasant brown body feather, (mottled)
Shoulder: Jungle cock body feather
Hackle: Orange ~ Eric Austin
I started fly fishing as a teen in and around my hometown
of Plattsburgh, New York, primarily on the Saranac River.
I started tying flies almost immediately and spent hours
with library books written by Ray Bergman, Art Lee, and
A. J. McClane. Almost from the beginning I liked tying
just as much as I liked fishing and spent considerable
time at the vise creating hideous monstrosities that
somehow caught fish anyway. Then one day I came upon a
group of flies that had been put out at a local drug store
that had been tied by Francis Betters of Wilmington, N.Y.
My life changed that day and so did my flies, dramatically.
Even though I never met Fran back then, I've always
considered him to be one of my biggest influences.
I had a career in music for twenty years or so and didn't
fish much, though I did fish at times. The band I was with
had its fifteen seconds of fame when we were asked to be in
John Mellencamp's movie "Falling From Grace." I am the
keyboard player on the right in the country club scene in
the middle of the movie. Don't blink. It's on HBO all the
time. We got to meet big Hollywood stars and record in John's
studio. It was a blast.
So how did I wind up contributing to the Just Old Flies
column on FAOL? I'm not sure, it was something that I simply
wanted very badly to do, and they let me. Many of the old flies
take me back to the Adirondacs and my youth, and I guess I get
to relive some of it through the column. I've spent many happy
hours fishing and tying over the years, and tying these flies
brings back memories of great days on the water, and intense
hours spent looking at the flies in the fly plates in the old
books and trying to get my flies to look like them. And now,
here I am, still doing that to this day. ~ EA