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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 today's 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?


By Eric Austin, Ohio

There was a second, later version of the Cupsuptic found in Ray Bergman's Trout, shown here:

Bergman Version

Ths is an advertisement from the Boston and Maine Railroad's "Fishing and Hunting" pamphlet printed in 1895:

Fishing and Hunting

The Rangeley Region's prime industry was logging. Tourism was a distant second, with trout fishing a small part of that. Logging was done in the Winter, and logs floated out in the spring when the water was high enough. The dams were built to facilitate this, and the railroad came to ship the timber out. The Boston and Maine Railroad realized that they had these routes established, and it was not a big leap to put some passenger cars on there and get some tourism going. Hence the promotion you see above. Here is a little more information on rates:

The Rates
Over time, as the word got out about these huge brook trout, thousands came to the region looking for that fantastic lunker. By the end of the 1800s 3000 visitors a year were arriving, and upper dam was a zoo. Ripley Hitchcock states in an article for Outing magazine written in 1886:

"With tender regard for the comfort of anglers, the Union Water-power Company of Lewiston, which owns this property, has built easy stairways from the gate-house to the piers of the dam, and at the ends of these piers are seats and foot-rests. In June or September each seat will be occupied, there will be boats hovering about the pool below, and more boats beyond the rapids and about the point a quarter of a mile away, where the little river flowing from the dam enters the lower lake. The story is told of men who used to send their guides out to sleep on the rocks or piers over night, that good place might be assured them for the morning's fishing."

It is no wonder that fishermen began to fan out among the lakes, going north/west to Cupsuptic and Parmachene, also called Parmacheene and Parmachenee. Cupsuptic lake appears to be one of the few bodies of water in the entire region with only one name. Even Bemis stream was called Bema and Beamis. I'm not quite sure why it was neccessary to call every single body of water in the area by two or more names, but that certainly has been the custom.

I've found this description of Cupsuptic lake from the same Boston and Maine Railroad publication:

"Cupsuptic Lake is by many persons thought to be the most beautiful of the chain. It was in this water that Senator Frye landed a trout weighing upwards ten pounds, -said to be the largest ever taken on a fly. Upon the surface of Cupsuptic numerous beautiful islands are dotted, and the shores are indented in the most picturesque way by coves and miature bays, overshadowed by the forest growth that comes down to the water's edge. From the shores the lands mount abruptly upwards on every side until they encircle the lake with a broken crest of hills, fair to look upon, and holding the water sheet as the cup holds its contents."

The large brook trout are gone from the rivers, lakes and ponds that make up the Rangeleys. To this day it is a quality fishery however, with good size brookies and salmon in abundance. In the next article we'll have a look at some factors that may have resulted in the brook trout's decline in both this region and the Adirondacks. In the meantime, here are the recipes for both versions of the Cupsuptic wet fly.

Cupsuptic, original

    Tail: Blue fiber and peacock.

    Body: Silver tinsel.

    Hackle: Scarlet palmer.

    Wing: Brown turkey, guinea over.

    Cupsuptic, Bergman

    Tail: Yellow hackle.

    Body: Silver tinsel

    Hackle: Crimson palmer.

    Wing: Narrow guinea over brown turkey

Credits: Fishing and Hunting by the Boston and Maine Railroad Passenger Department; Flies by J. Edson Leonard; Trout by Ray Bergman; Carrie Stevens by Graydon R. Hilyard; Outing Volume Vlll Issue 3 June 1886 "Trout Fishing In Maine" by Ripley Hitchcock; ~ EA

About Eric:

Eric Eric lives in Delaware, Ohio and fishes for brown trout in the Mad River, a beautiful spring creek. More of his flies are on display here: Traditionalflies.com -- Classic salmon and trout flies of Europe and the Americas.

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