Fly Of The Week
Rio Grande King Trude
Rio Grande King Trude
By Terry Hellekson, Photos by Jim Schollmeyer

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

The Trude

This pattern was originated in the summer of 1906 by Carter H. Harrison of Chicago, Illinois, while he was a guest at the A.S. Trude Ranch near Big Springs, Idaho.

The fly was created one evening on a whim using red yarn from a cabin rug for the body and hair from a red spaniel for the wing. It had enough appeal that is was later tied as I have described here except it had no tail. . .

Original Trude

    Hooks:  TMC3761 or DAI1550, sizes 6-10.
    Thread:  Black.
    Tail:  Narrow red goose quill section.
    Ribbing:  Flat silver tinsel.
    Body:  Dubbed with #4 red lambs wool.
    Wing:  Fox squirrel tail over the body.
    Hackle:  Dark ginger tied on as a collar and tied back.

. . . It proved itself well on the Snake River where everyone caught more fish than they could carry. The word then spread to other parts of the Rocky Mountain West. Bill Beaty, one of Montana's commercial tiers of the time, added the red goose quill tail. Cliff Wyatt of Santa Monica, California later added his variations of the pattern. . . . Pat Barns of West Yellowstone, Montana, took the two ideas and combined them, creating the Sofa Pillow. This time the fly emerged as a dry fly. Dan Bailey of Livingston Montana, not wanting to be left out of the action, came up with his variations of the Trude. They had red, yellow and orange bodies with hackle tied Adams style.

From Harrison's original hairwing style, fly tiers all over the country started experimenting on both wet and dry flies.

By substituting the feather style wings with hair they often concluded that they had a Trude fly, never stopping to think that what they had was a hairwing variation. Such patterns as the Royal Coachman came to be known as the Royal Trude when it fact it could only be defined as a "Hairwing Royal Coachman." Substituting hair for feathers on all manner of flies took place. In reviewing just the streamers, steelhead and atlantic salmon flies alone one will quickly see where many of their original dressings called from feather wings. There may have been whose who used the idea of "hairwings" prior to Harrison but it is doubtful that any were ever as successful as his original Trude.

At this point I want to go through the step of tying a Trude style [dry] fly.

Materials List for the Rio Grande King Trude:
(Rio Grande Bucktail)

    Hook:  TMC9300 or DA11550, sizes 10-16.

    Thread:  Black.

    Tip:  Flat gold tinsel.

    Tail:  Golden pheasant tippet barbs.

    Body:  Dubbed with #1 black poly.

    Wing:  White calf tail tied over the body.

    Hackle:  Brown tied on as a collar in front of the wing.

Tying Instructions:

1. Tie in and wrap flat gold tinsel for the tip. Then tie in golden pheasant tippet barbs for the tail.

2. Tie in a strand of black plush chenille. Plush chenille is not always available, so I recommended poly dubbing in the pattern listed. Rayon chenille absorbs water too quickly and is not the best choice for this pattern.

3. Wrap your plush chenille forward and tie off. Leave enough space for the wing and hackle yet to come.

4. Tie in white calf tail for the wing.

5. Tie in two brown dry fly quality hackles.

6. Wrap the hackles and finish off the head.

Tiers Comments

There are many variations of the Trude, among them are: Grizzly King Trude, Orange Trude, Yellow Trude, Red Trude, Black Gnat Trude, and Fire Coachman Trude.~ Terry Hellekson

We thank Frank Amato Publications Inc. for use permission for this excerpt from Fish Flies, Volume One.

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