I was surprised to learn that the Blue
Doctor was the first fly in the 'doctor
series.' The doctor series of flies
consists of the Blue Doctor, Silver
Doctor, Black Doctor, Helmsdale Doctor,
and the White Doctor. I'd always assumed
that the original was the Silver Doctor,
the most popular fly of the series, but no,
it was the Blue. In fact, it's such an old
fly that no one is really sure who originated
it. Dr. James Wright was the first to dress
the Black Doctor, and is credited with the Blue
as well, but indications are that it may be of
As usual, there are many differing versions
of the fly. The oldest version is from Francis
Francis. It differs a bit from the one I've tied
here in that the tail veiling is omitted, along
with the golden pheasant tippet underwing. Beyond
that, it's quite similar to the versions of Kelson,
Hardy and Hale, and the one which I've used in my
example from H. Jackson.
The Blue Doctor is indicated by Kelson as
being one of the early, spectacular Tweed River
flies, and is still thought of in those terms
today. Sir Herbert Maxwell reported that "the
Blue Doctor was said to be incapable of luring
a salmon on the north Tyne river," but that he
himself would only be too pleased to try. In
other words, he liked the fly anyway.
Pryce-Tannat's version has golden pheasant
tippet as the tail veiling. All versions
show blue jay as the throat feather used,
and I attempted to use jay myself. I came
up "short" however, and I've added blue-dyed
gallina instead of the jay. Here is H. Jackson
of Dunfrie's recipe for the Blue Doctor, one
that Taverner's Fly Tying for Salmon
says is really the first, and the one I used
to tie the fly shown:
Tag: Silver tinsel, yellow silk.
~ Eric Austin
Tail: Gold pheasant crest and a Chatterer.
Butt: Scarlet Berlin wool.
Body: Light blue silk.
Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel.
Hackle: A light blue cock hackle from second turn.
Throat: Jay or Gallina dyed light blue.
Wing: Tippets in strands, light mottled
Turkey, Swan dyed light blue and yellow, Ibis,
Gold pheasant tail, Pintail, Summer duck, Gallina,
Mallard, and a topping.
Horns: Blue and yellow Macaw.
Head: Scarlet wool.
Credits: Classic Salmon Flies by
Mikael Frodin; The Salmon Fly by George
Kelson; Fly Tying for Salmon by Eric
Taverner; www.Classicflies.net website, Wolfgang Von