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 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?


Green Ass McGee

Green Ass McGee
By Larry Bordas, Pennsylvania



The Green Ass McGee is an old wet fly well known by Pine Creek fly fishermen, but is relatively unknown outside the Pine Creek Valley of Pennsylvania. It would be difficult for me to state with any certainty the exact history of this fly which still remains a mystery as to exactly when or who originated the fly. It has been stated by several local commercial tiers that to the best of their knowledge, the Green McGee has been popular since the early 1900s and was originated by a tier named McGee near Wellsboro, Pa. To most people, I suppose these facts are not all that important. But, to a fly fisherman, what is important is that the McGee catches fish and has a faithful following.

The Green Ass McGee, or simply "McGee" as local fishermen call it, was usually fished in tandem with a muddler minnow by old timers, but is just as effective fished alone. The McGee can be tied with a green, yellow or red butt, with the green butt being by far the most popular. The McGee usually has a head tied with thread the same color as the butt.

Yellow Variation

Red Variation

Almost any guinea feather can be used for the wing on the McGee. Don't worry about the guinea wing being perfect. Using guinea body feathers for the wing can be a little difficult to tie and may seem a little shaggy, but that shaggy look doesn't seems to discourage the fish and seems to actually help. Sometime I like to use the guinea wing quill if I am tying for a display.

While the Green Ass McGee is better known as a Pine Creek fly, I have had good success fishing it on other streams. I have had good results fishing the Yellow McGee for landlocked salmon in New York on the Salmon River and on the waters of the Adirondacks.

I can still remember exactly when and where I first encountered a Green Ass McGee and the first time I fished with it. The Green Ass McGee has provided me with great fishing memories on the water and it's name has provided great conversation away from the water.

Green Ass McGee

    Tip: Green wool (variations can be done with red or yellow wool)

    Tail: Brown

    Body: Peacock herl

    Hackle: Brown hen

    Wing: Guinea

    Head: Green, to match tip (variations can be done with red or yellow)

Credits: I would like to thank all my fellow Pine Creek fishermen who helped me by giving their time and shared with me the Green Ass McGee ~ LB

About Larry:

Larry My mother always said that I got my love of the outdoors from my grandfather and it was this love of the outdoor life and to be near the great hunting and fishing that led me to relocate to Lycoming County of northern Pennsylvania. While I have been a fisherman since I was six, I have only been fly fishing and tying for the past 15 years and consider myself at best only an average fly tier and fisherman. I started teaching myself fly fishing and to tie flies by reading books and talking to other fly fishermen and as I learned about the nuts and bolts of fly fishing, such as casting, drag and matching the hatch, I slowly developed an appreciation of the history and great tradition of the sport. While learning about the history and tying these old wet flies has given me hours of enjoyment, my real enjoyment and memories comes from fishing with and sharing with others information about these historic flies. ~ LB

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