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?


Blue Jay

Compiled by Deanna Birkholm
Fly tied by Eric Austin


In the 1890s the Blue Jay was considered one of the very top flies in Maine as well as eastern Canada.

There are both English and American Blue Jays. American Jays are protected.

The Blue Jay flies are not imitations of any insect, but derive their names from the feather of their wings, obtained from the plumage of either the common American blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) or that of the English blue jay (Garrulus glandarius). The color and marking on the feathers of the two birds are equally beautiful, but quite different, though apparently equally effective.

The under portions of most of the feathers are without the blue and black bars, but they give some fine dun shades, of most delicate transparancy, for small gnats and "floating flies."

Recipe Blue Jay:
(from Fly Patterns and Their Origins)

    Tail: Barred wood duck.

    Body: Silver tinsel.

    Wing: Blue, white and black feathers from the jay's wings.

    Hackle: Black.

    Tag: Scarlet chenille.

~ DLB

Credits: Text from Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury and Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedley, Fly and photo by Eric Austin.

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