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?


Lake Edward


By Eric Austin


Walter Greaves of Ottawa, Canada designed The Lake Edward while on a fishing trip to Lake Edward. Here is what he says about the fly in Mary Orvis Marbury's Favorite Flies and Their Histories:

"I made this fly in July, 1888, when at Lake Edward (on the Quebec and Lake St. John Railway, where the trout fishing is first-class), and found that it generally proved the most taking fly I used whilst there. Body reddish-brown mohair; silver twist; tail golden pheasant; hackle claret; wings dark bronze or brown turkey, with thin strips of dyed bright yellow and purple feathers on each side."

Well, I tied my fly before reading the above, using Forgotten Flies as a reference. So my fly has a claret seal dubbed body, and a black wing with blue and yellow, as the Forgotten Flies tie used crow for the bulk of the wing, with blue and yellow goose. But I don't feel too badly, because E.C. Gregg in How to Tie Flies has the wing as Pea green. Ray Bergman has it as yellow, blue, and dark brown turkey. Even Mary Orvis Marbury gets it confused, as she puts the fly in the bass flies section of the book, when Mr. Greaves clearly talks about trout fishing in his letter. Anyway, just so we all can feel better, I'll list the various recipes here, and you can decide for yourself which version you prefer.

Mr. Greaves goes on to say that the fly works best tied on a 1/0 hook, and that part I've gotten right. Here are the recipes:

Forgotten Flies Lake Edward

    Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest

    Body: Claret Dubbing

    Rib: Silver Tinsel

    Wing: Black Crow, blue and yellow topping

    Hackle: Claret


    Trout Lake Edward

    Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest

    Tip: Gold Tinsel

    Rib: Gold Tinsel

    Body: Light brown wool or fur

    Hackle: Scarlet

    Wing: Brown turkey, blue and yellow topping


    How to Tie Flies Lake Edward

    Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest

    Rib: Gold Tinsel

    Body: Claret wool Wing: Brown turkey, blue and yellow topping

    Hackle: Claret

    Wing: Pea green

Credits: Forgotten Flies by Paul Schmookler and Ingrid V. Sils; Trout by Ray Bergman; Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury; How to Tie Flies by E.C. Gregg. ~ Eric Austin

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