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Fly-fishing for trout

Artificial Flies and their Varieties.
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In the preceding chapter I have indicated generally the flies to be used in the various months and seasons. I will now describe the material of which they are made, and their general names, which, however, vary in different localities. There is not a fly mentioned but what has been tested by experience to be useful for trout and grayling throughout the United Kingdom. I am not an advocate for u large assortment of flies. If tie angler knows the district and the waters he intends fishing, half-a-dozen varieties, adapted to the season and the circumstances, will prove as a rule sufficient. In giving the following list I have selected those adapted to various localities.

In the earlier months of fly-fishing, say from February to the end of April, the first ten will be found good and effective: -

  1. The February red. - Body dark red, squirrel's fur, equally mixed with claret-coloured mohairs, but the latter predominating at the tail of the fly. Let it be warped with brown silk, and the wings taken from a reddish dun covered feather of the wing of a mallard. Legs, a hackle stained of a claret colour. Hook, Nos. 9 and 10.
  2. The blue, dun. - This fly remains on the angler's list until October. The body of water-rat's fur ribbed with yellow silk, a dun hen's hackle for the legs. The wings, a feather from a starling's wing, with a double strangled or grizzled cock's hackle for tail. Hook, No. 10.
  3. Hofland's fancy. - This is an evening fly, useful for dace. Dark brown silk body, red hackle legs, with tail formed of two strands of the same; wings, woodcock's tail. Hook, No. 10.
  4. Furnace fly. - This useful fly derives its name from the furnace hackle, which is not often met with. The outside fibres are a beautiful dark red, while that portion of them next the stem is black. They are obtained from the neck of a cock. This fly is made with an orange-coloured silk body, with a fieldfare's feather for wings, and a furnace hackle for the legs.
  5. The March brown. - This is a showy fly, and bears many names, as the dun-drake, cob-fly, brown-caughlan, and turkey-fly. It is a nearly universal favourite. It may be thus made of three sizes, on Nos. 8, 9, or 10 hooks. Body, deep straw-coloured silk wound over with reddish-brown fox hair. The wings should stand erect, made of the light fibres of a hen pheasant's wing; a honey dun hackle may be used for the legs, and two fibres of tin wing may be used for the tail. When more than one fly is used at the same time, the tail-fly should be ribbed with gold twist., and the colour may be slightly varied.
  6. A March brown, as it is called, is also made with water-rat's for, ribbed with yellow silk, partridge hackle for legs. Wings, tail feather of the partridge, and the tail two fibres of the same. Hook, No. 10.
  7. The red spinner is a fine showy fly, dressed thus: body, red-hog's down, ribbed with gold twist and tied on with brown silk; wings, starling's wing feather; legs, bright amber-red hackle; tail, two fibres of the same feather. Hook, No. 9.
  8. Carshalton cock-tail. - A dun fly, and will be found a good killer in many streams as well as its native Wandle. Body, light blue fur; legs, dark dun hackle; wings, the inside feather of a teal's wings; tail, two fibres of a white cock's hackle. Hook, Nos. 9 or 10.
  9. The pale yellow dun. - Excellent from April to the end of the season. Body, yellow mohair, or marten's pale yellow fur, tied with yellow silk; wings, the lightest part of a feather from a young starling's wing, Hook, No. 12.
  10. The soldier palmer. - Body, bronze-coloured peacock harl, ribbed with fine gold twist, and two black-red or furnace hackles, struck with strict regularity from the tail to the shoulder. Hook, Nos. 10 or 11. A general fly and special favourite with grayling.
  11. Coch-y-bondhu. - Body, short and full, of black ostrich and brilliant peacock harl twisted together; wings and legs, a dark furnace cock's hackle of the purest black and red colour. Hook, Nos. 10 and 11. This is a famous fly, says Ephemera; if fish will not rise at it, you may conclude they are not " on the feed." They either take it for a small red and black caterpillar, or for a round black and red beetle. Fine, warm, cloudy days are the best for its successful use.
  12. The orange dun. - Another fly in request on the TVs', and other southern streams. Body, red squirrel's fur, ribbed with gold thread; legs, red hackle; wings, from the starling's wing; tail, two fibres of red cock's hackle. Hook, No. 9.
  13. Cow-dung fly is in season throughout the year, and is used chiefly in dark, windy weather. Body, dull lemon-coloured mohair; legs, red-hackle; wings, from feathers of the landrail, or starling's wing. Hook, Nos. 8 or 9.
  14. Stone-fly. - Wings, a mottled feather of the hen pheasant, or the dark-gray feather of a mallard, rather inclining to red, to be dressed large, long, and flat; body yellow-brown mohair, mixed with light hare's-ear fur and ribbed with yellow silk, so distributed in making the body of the fly that the under and hinder parts may exhibit most yellow to the fish; legs, a brown-red hackle; tail, two fibres of the brown mallard. Hook, Nos. 5, 6, or 7.
  15. The oak-fly or down-looker. - During the last fortnight in April the fly-fisher should never angle without this fly. It is called by some the ash fly, cannon-fly, and woodcock-fly. It is found on the trunks of trees by the river side in a state of quietude, its wings lying close to its back, and its head looking downwards; hence one of its names. In May and June this fly is also in season, and it will kill well in deep streams, and on pools that are raffled by a strong but tepid wind. I shall give but- one way of dressing it, as follow s: - Body, yellow mohair, ribbed regularly with dark brown silk; legs, a honey-dun hackle, wound tin ice under the wings, which are to lie flat and short, and be made of the wing feather of a young partridge or hen pheasant. To be tipped with pale gold twist. Hook, Nos. 8, 9, or 10.
  16. The sand-fly. - Equally good for trout or grayling, from April to the end of September. The fur from a hare's neck, twisted round silk of the same colour; legs, a ginger-hen's hackle; wings, the feather from the landrail's wing. Hook, No. 9.
  17. The alder-fly. - Body, any dark claret-coloured far, as that which a brindled cow yields, and that of a copperish hue, from a dark-brindled pig or a brown-red spaniel's ears; upper wings, red fibres of the landrail's wing, or red tail feather of the partridge, lower wings of the starling's wing feather; legs, dark-red hackle; horns and tail of fibres, the colour of the legs, the horns or antennae to be shorter than the body of the fly, but the tail a little longer. Hook, Nos. 9 and 10.
  18. The hare's-ear dun. - A killing fry, and in great favour in Hampshire. Body, the fur of the hare's ear; wings, the feather from a starling's wing; tail, two fibres of the brown feather from a starling's wing. Hook, No. 10.
  19. The blue blow. - Wings, from the tail feather of a tomtit; body, a blue water-rat's or monkey's fur; legs, a fine light-blue hackle; tail whisks, two blue hairs.
  20. Gravel, or spider fly, appears towards the latter end of April; where it is met with it may be fished with all day, and the trout take it freely. Water-rat's fur; logs, black hackle; wings, the feather from a partridge. Hook, Nos. 10 or 11. It may also be made with a dark dun hackle, which I prefer instead of the partridge feather.
  21. Black gnat. - A capital fly for dace as well as trout, and may be used from April to the end of the season. Body, black hackle, or ostrich had, tied with black silk, wings, the feather from a starling's wing. Hook, No. 13.
  22. Red ant. - This is the small red ant, and there is another of the same size, called the black ant, and two others named the large black and red ants. Body, peacock's had, made full at the tail and spare towards the head; legs, red or ginger cock's hackle; wings, from the light feather of the starling's wing.
  23. The bracken-cloth is a kind of beetle. If made upon a large hook, it will be found an excellent fly for the lakes in Scotland. Body, peacock's harl, made full at the tail and spare towards the head; legs, red or ginger cock's hackle; wings, from the light feather of the starling's wing.
  24. Brown palmer-hackle. - Body, brown floss silk, or brown fur, or mohair of a deep amber, or a rich Brown ostrich harl, ribbed alternately with gold and silver twist legs, a red cock's hackle. Hook, Nos. 4, 5, or 6.
  25. Bed palmer-hackle. - Body, dark-red coloured mohair, with a little richly-tinted red fur intermixed, to be ribbed with gold or silver twist; legs, a blood-red cock's hackle. Hooks, Nos. 6 or 7.
  26. Golden palmer-hackle. - Body, green and gold peacock's harl, ribbed with gold twist; a bright-red cock's hackle, worked with a rich green silk. Hook, Nos. 5, 6, 7, or 9.
  27. Peacock, palmer-hackle. - Body, a rich full fibre of peacock harl, ribbed with wide silver platting. Make a head to this palmer with a bit of scarlet mohair. Legs, a dark grizzled hackle, dressed with red silk. Hook, Nos. 5 or 6. This hackle, dressed very large, will kill Thames trout and chub.
  28. A good general palmer. - Body, long and tapering, of yellow mohair; legs, a good furnace hackle, wound on from tail to shoulder; head, black ostrich harl. Hook, Nos. 5, 6, or 7.
  29. The whirling dun. - Body, water-rat's fur, ribbed with yellow silk; wings, cock starling's wing-feather; legs, blue-dun hackle; tail, two fibres of a grizzled hackle. Hook, Nos. 8 or 10.
  30. Dotterel hackle. - Body, yellow tying silk, with a very little blue rabbit's fur spun on it, so as to show the yellow of the silk; wings and legs, dotterel hackle round the shoulder. Hook, No. 12, sneck bend.
  31. Golden plover hackle. - Body, yellowish-green floss silk; wings arid legs, golden plover back feathers. Hook, Nos. 10 and 11.
  32. Green drake. - Appears late in May or early in June. This short-lived insect is not to be found on every stream. Body, yellow floss silk, ribbed with brown silk; the extreme head and tail coppery-peacock's harl; legs, a red or ginger hackle; wings, the mottled wing of a mallard stained (dive; tail or whisk, three hairs from a rabbit's whiskers. Hook, No. 6.
  33. Gray drake. - Body, white floss silk, ribbed with dark brown or mulberry silk; head and top of the tail, a peacock's harl; legs, a grizzle cock's hackle; wings, from a mallard's mottled feather made to stand upright; tail, three whiskers of a rabbit.
  34. The little yellow sally. - Body, light buff-coloured fur; wings, the yellow feather under the thrush's wing to stand erect; legs, a very small yellow dun hackle; tail, two fibres of the same.
  35. Moths. - White: body, white floss silk; white wings and legs, and black head. Brown: wings, light brown mallard; legs, a twine or two of red hackle, with a fibre or two for the tail; body, brown silk, twisted tightly with gold wire. Green moth: brown mottled wings, with a twist of brown hackle for wings; body, light brown, finished with bright green silk; no tail. Hooks, 9 and 10.
  36. Fern fly. - This is an admirable May and summer fly. The proper sized hook is No. 10, and when the water is very low, a size smaller. The body is to be made of deep brilliant-coloured orange silk, whipped sparingly with fine gold wire; wings, lying rather flat, to be made of the light mottled fibres of a young partridge's wing feathers; legs, a turn or two of a small fiery-red hackle. Hook, Nos. 11 and 12.
  37. The wasp fly is dressed thus: Body, light-orange mohair, dubbed in very thin ribs, and alternated with black ostrich harl, neatly and finely. Form the head of bronze harl; legs, two turns of a light-brown red hackle. Hook, 7, 8, and 9; and make the wings of a partridge hackle or mottled mallard's feather.
  38. The governor. - Body, bronze-coloured peacock's harl, tipped with red silk; legs, black; red hackle; wings, from the starling or partridge tail feathers. Hook, No. 8.
  39. Horse-fly. - Body, black ostrich had, dressed rather full; wings, a lark's wing feather to be flat and extended; legs, a dark dun hackle. Hook, Nos. 9 arid 10. In autumn, on windy days, this fly is often greedily taken by trout and grayling. It is a better fly for chub and dace.
  40. The May-fly - Tins fly is very difficult to dress. The body is formed of yellow-green mohair; wings, mallard's feather, dyed yellow; a black head; legs, yellowish hackle; tail, three strands from a rabbit's whisker, or from a black bear.

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