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?


Ken Lockwood Streamer

By Deanna Birkholm


A Bulletin Board request for information on this old fly sparked the research which eventually involved Gerald Wolfe, (Host RW) who dug through many years of back issues of his magazine collection to find the real stuff.

Ken Lockwood was a noted journalist, having written the outdoor column for the once prestigious but now defunct Newark Evening News. He was also and avid hunter expert fly fisherman and, above all, a dedicated conservationist. Mr. Lockwood died in 1948.

Mr. Lockwood's column on fishing and game was called "Out In The Open" and was featured in the Newark News for 35 years. "Out in the Open" was one of the earliest known outdoor columns. Over the years it grew from a semiweekly to a daily feature. In the 1940's his column usually contained timely news on fish and game, a write-in question and answer section on outdoor topics, as well as information on tides and local fishing and hunting conditions. The articles frequently reported where the best New Jersey hunting and fishing action was. Unusual catches were reported, along with much news pertaining to the state and local sportsmen's organizations. The column often included material contributed by a guest columnist with special insights and unusual areas of expertise. "Out in the Open" was a "lighthouse" for conservation, stressing this aspect above all other outdoor topics.

Ken was a leader as well as a top journalist. He was a former president of the Fish and Game Conservation League, a trustee of the New Jersey Audubon Society, a former national director of the Izaak Walton League of America, as well as a two-term president of the Rod and Gun Editors Association of Metropolitan New York. In other related areas he was a member of the advisory board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and also a past president of the famous Newark Bait and Fly Casting Club.

Mr. Lockwood was an accomplished speaker and often addressed sportsmens' meetings and instructional classes. In November 1947 the Newark News started a series of Friday night broadcasts over radio station WNJR. The broadcasts featured Mr. Lockwood along with important guest speakers as an extension of "Out In The Open.

Ken Lockwood was an enthusiastic trout fisherman and an accomplished fly caster. He contributed to the widespread popularity of the irresistible fly and even had another pattern named after him. (The Ken Lockwood Streamer).

On Friday, April 2, 1948 Mr. Lockwood died enroute to his EAst Orange, New Jersey home from the studios of radio station WNJR, where he had broadcast a program on the opening of trout season. He had been in poor health for some time.

Through his "Out In The Open" column Ken Lockwood introduced two ideas which were to have important effects on hunting and fishing in New Jersey. The first was the concept of stocking adult fish in trout streams. The adoption of this policy by the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife has made trout fishing available to almost everyone in the state. Because of this practice many new trout waters were created in brooks, streams, and lakes that previously had supported few, if any, native trout.

The concept of public shooting and fishing grounds in New Jersey was also fostered by Mr. Lockwood. In an area of decreasing habitat where most private land is posted, the Wildlife Management Areas, as they are now called, are, in this writer's opinion, the salvation of hunting in New Jersey.

South Branch Raritan River

Thus it is befitting that one of the most beautiful wildlife management areas in New Jersey bears Ken Lockwoods name. The tract was acquired in 1948 and includes approximately 260 acres of woodlands and a two and one-half mile portion of the South Branch of the Raritan River. The area was purchased through the State Green Acres Program along with funds from hunting and fishing license fees. It is also maintained and supported by license money from New Jersey Sportsmen.

There is a granite memorial dedicated to Ken Lockwood in the Gorge with this inscription:

Dedicated to Ken Lockwood
"When mists and shadows rob pool and run of shape and substance

When the voice of the wood thrush stills and the Dog trout shakes his lethargy

We will remember a stalwart, gentle master of the anglers art,

Half submerged in the smother, Unerringly shooting that long line, watchfully Mending the drift.

Nevermore will your skilled hand tempt the Patriarchs of the flood.

Farewell, old timer

The Ken Lockwood Gorge can be reached by traveling east or west on U.S. Route 22 and heading north on NJ State Hwy 31. Next take Route 513 to either Califon or High Bridge. The tract lies between the two towns.

Recipe Ken Lockwood

    Body: Scarlet floss.

    Rib: Gold tinsel.

    Throat: White bucktail or hackle fibers.

    Wing: Black bucktail.

    Cheek: (Optional) Jungle cock.

    Source: Cross, R.R. (1936) Tying American Trout Lures, p.55.
    ~ DLB

Credits: Ken Lockwood information from the 1983 March/April edition of "New Jersey Outdoors" written by Larry Boa. Especially to RW for his never ending diligence in the course of fly fishing history and research for finding this for FAOL. Color fly photo and recipe from Forgotten Flies published by the Complete Sportsman.

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