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?

Part One hundred fourty-three

Silver Lady

Silver Lady

Tied by Thomas C. Duncan, Sr., Text by Arthur James Lingren


If I had to pick one word to describe this Haig-Brown-1930s-originated pattern, I would say "beautiful." Although designed by Haig-Brown for anadromous trout, the Silver Lady, because of its attractiveness to the eye, is one of those flies that cathes fishermen as well as fish. Haig-Brown also recommends the fly for greased-line, summer-run steelhead fishing and for cutthroat trout when the salmon fry are running.

I have found the Silver Lady an effective spring-time fly for late winter coastal steelhead fishing, Squamish River sea-run Dollies and Harrison River cutthroats.

I remember the first fish I ever caught with the Silver Lady. Fishing the Squamish River on March 16, 1980, I took two fine sea-run Dolly Varden char of 16 and 21 inches. Two weeks later from that same river, a 7-pound steelhead was lured to this fly. However, there is one steelhead taken on a Silver Lady that has stuck in my mind for the past dozen years.

Often in the spring I make sojournes to some of Vancouver Island's steelhead streams, and in early April 1982 I made my usual trip and fished some of the Upper Island streams. There were few fish around and the trip unrewarding fish-wise. On my way back home, I stopped to visit relatives in Nanaimo and the day I was to return to Vancouver, I decided to make the 1 1/2 hour trip and try the Cowichan River above Skutz Falls. In the late morning, just below Bear Creek as I dangled my #4 Silver Lady over the lip of the pool's drop-off, it was taken by a nice 8-pound male steelhead. This put some icing on what was an otherwise poor fishing trip.

The Silver Lady has saved the day on other occasions. On April 25, 1993, I snuck the afternoon from work, drove the 70-odd miles to the Harrison River, and fished into the spring evening. Cutthroat sometimes target a fry of a certain size or colouration and can be very difficult to catch. Harrison River cutts in particular. I can remember at times fishing the darkening evening knee-deep in water and having cutts almost at my legs taking fly and having a difficult time enticing them to my fly. However, on this particular day, I did find some fry-feeding fish and chose a #8 Silver Lady as my weapon. I managed to hook one short of a dozen fish up to 20-inches that afternoon and all but one came to the Silver Lady.

I highly recommend it. ~ Arthur James Lingren

The Silver Lady

    Hook: Number 6 or larger low-water salmon.

    Tail:   A small, whole golden pheasant tippet feather.

    Body Flat, silver tinsel.

    Throat: Badger hackle.

    Wing:  Two badger hackles side by side, slender strips of teal, four strands of peacock herl, with a golden pheasant topping overall.

    Cheeks: Blue chatterer or kingfisher substitute.

    Orginator: Roderick Haig-Brown.

    Intended Use: Wet fly for cutthroat trout.

    Location: Campbell River.

Credits:Text from: Fly Patterns of British Columbia by Arthur James Lingren, Published by Frank Amato Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 82112, Portland Oregon 97282
Phone: 503-653-8108

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