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 Two hundred-thirteen

Black June

The Black June

Compiled By James Birkholm


With a black peacock herl or black chenille body and a gold or silver tag, black hackle and crow wings, this pattern by J. H. Keene is a good one. Its general form is that of the Coachman.

John Harrington Keene, a resident of Greenwich in Washington County, New York, was an experienced and authoritative fisherman and writer. He was born in England in 1855 and died about 1911.

Another of his favorite patterns was the Golden Palmer, which was a gold ribbed Brown Hackle.

He tied one of his fly patterns with wings made from fish scales which he named the "Diaphine."

Another of his ideas was an interchangable fly, constructed of two detachable parts, the body and tail on the hook enclosing a tube, and the head, wings and hackle on a pin to insert in the tube. Thus twelve bodies and twelve heads could make a gross of different patterns.

He was the author of The Practical Fisherman, 1881; Fly Fishing and Fly Making, 1887; and Fishing Tackle, 1887.

His Fly Fishing and Fly Making was unusual in that it contained thirty-seven specimens of actual tying material in various colors.

His father was Queen Victoria's professional fisherman in Windsor Great Park.

For several years after Mr. Keene's death, Mrs. Anna Keene continue the fly tying business at Queens, New York." ~ Jim Birkholm

Credits: The quoted text and drawing from Fly Patterns and Their Origins, by Harold Hinsdill Smedley. Color photo from Forgotton Flies, published by the Complete Sportsman.

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