I recently finished an order of Fanwing Royal Coachman dry flies and some Royal Coachman wet flies along with the drys. The Fanwing Royal Coachman was among the most popular of all fanwing patterns, which grew to popularity in the late 1920′s. A wide variety of existing dry fly patterns were adapted to fanwing versions, largely due to their popularity. Fanwings remained popular through the 1950′s and even into the early 1960′s. The Fanwing Royal Coachman remained on Ray Bergman’s “Favorite List of Dry Flies” in all three of his trout fishing books, covering a time span of twenty years.
I tied my first Royal Coachman nearly fifty years ago, and it was a favorite top-water pattern of mine. See also: http://donbastianwetflies.com/2011/02/08/fan-wing-royal-coachman-dry-fly/
And the forerunner to the dry fly Royal Coachman, the Royal Coachman wet fly:
The original version of the Royal Coachman wet fly had a tail of barred wood duck, but the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918 put an end to that. I’m guessing at that time the present golden pheasant tippet fibers for tail came into use for this pattern, since wood ducks, hunted to near-extinction, along with the wide-scale 19th century logging that severely reduced their favored nesting sites – tree cavities, were given national protection and were not legally hunted nationwide until 1959.
Hackles on the wets are hen, wound as a collar. White duck wing quill sections on the wet flies, and white male wood duck breast feathers on the fanwings. There are tinsel tags on both dry and wet patterns, and the body is red floss and peacock herl.