Silver Doctor Trout Wet Fly

Silver Doctor – Trout Wet Fly Pattern Variation from How to Tie Flies, 1940, by E. C. Gregg.

This Silver Doctor wet fly pattern is tied using the recipe from a book that was given to us by my father on the day he demonstrated his one and only fly tying lesson to my brother Larry, and me. I was 12 at the time. He had given us this tying lesson shortly after Larry and I caught bluegills on wet flies for the first time in a Pennsylvania farm pond near our “farm” cabin in Tioga County. We always called it the farm because it had been a family farm since the 1800’s. After that initial tying demo, which included dad tying three flies – a Royal Coachman wet and a dry, and one other pattern I can not recall, he unloaded the old roll top desk and gave us everything in it pertaining to fly tying: tools, materials, accessories, and containers. This included a copy of How to Tie Flies, 1940 by E. C. Gregg. It is a first edition too, part of the Barnes Dollar Sports Library.

The back of Gregg’s book contains standard pattern dressings for 0ver 300 trout flies, and this version of the Silver Doctor, while including my substitutions of guinea fowl for the original teal and brown quill for the original mottled brown turkey or bustard, is the recipe from that book. I was inspired to create the quill-winged version about eight years ago simply while looking at commercially tied Silver Doctor wet flies for sale in the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville, Maine. These patterns had a simple duck quill wing consisting just of married blue and yellow. Seeing the duck quill married wing gave me the spark of an idea to create this version of the wing, using wing quill sections rather than the usual side feathers of teal, turkey, and goose shoulder. This wing, minus the strip of green, is the version I demonstrate in my DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies. I really like the four-color married strip in the tail on this version. The photo was taken with the fly pinned onto the windowsill in the classroom of Fishing Creek Angler Fly Shop and Bed & Breakfast, Benton, Pennsylvania, in 2009 during one of my weekend wet fly classes.

Silver Doctor – Trout Wet Fly

Tag: Red floss

Tail: Yellow, blue, green, red – married

Rib: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Hackle: Mixed guinea fowl and blue

Wing: Married sections of duck quill: brown, guinea fowl, red, green blue, & yellow

Head: Red. I prefer to use Wapsi red lacquer to finish the head, even when tied with red thread. Clear lacquer applied as a final coat smooths out the red finish, because they are both lacquer-based products. Each time a new coat is applied, it softens the previous coat, blends into it, and then as it dries, continues a process of binding all coats of head cement together as one solid layer. The variation of this is when cements of different chemical composition are used. For example, I found out you can’t paint black and yellow eyes on the heads of streamers and use a clear lacquer based cement to coat them, because the final coat softens the eye paint and makes them run. Clear nail polish works well on this because the cements are different.

The Silver Doctor wet fly was a very popular fly in the 19th century and still remains a favorite of wet fly tiers today.

Custom-framed Don Bastian Wet Flies

Custom-framed Don Bastian wet fly and wild Adirondack brook trout photo. Barry Mill, owner of Sawdust and Stitches, did the custom framing.

This photo is of a framed combination of an Adirondack brook trout with a selection of traditional wet fly patterns selected by my customer. The framing was done by Barry Mill, owner of Sawdust and Stitches, a custom framing business  in south-central Pennsylvania. Barry is a fly tier and fisherman, and also does a very nice job of custom framing.

Left to right the patterns are:

Parmacheene Belle, Cahill, Cowdung, Colonel Fuller, Scarlet Ibis, Pink Wickhams, and Fontinalis Fin. They are tied on vintage Mustad 3399 size #6 Sproat Bend wet fly hooks.

Olive Dun Wet Flies

#10 Olive Dun wet flies

This wet fly pattern was part of a commercial custom order I tied for Fishing Creek Angler Fly Shop and Bed & Breakfast in Benton, Pennsylvania. These flies and some of the others here in this series were tied in the late summer of 2009.

Olive Dun:

Hook: Standard Ox long wet fly hook, size #6 – #12; these are vintage Mustad 3399, ball-eye, Sproat bend

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #100 Black

Tail: Olive hackle fibers

Body: Olive rabbit dubbing

Hackle: Olive hackle fibers

Wing: Slate – natural mallard wing quill sections

Head: Black. This fly could also be tied with olive thread.

Silver Doctor – Trout Wet Flies

#10 Silver Doctor Wet Flies

These Silver Doctor wet flies were tied for a custom order of fishing flies. They are tied on Mustad #10 style 3399 Sproat Bend wet fly hook. (the phone number on the card is no longer current).

I used my version of component variations for the wing (posted elsewhere on this site, and incidentally the same used on the Silver Doctor in my second wet fly DVD, Advanced Classic Wet Flies. Here is a link to the product page on where this DVD may be purchased:  All orders placed on are personally received and processed by me.

I also changed the usual tail of golden pheasant crest to yellow hackle fibers because it’s easier to use on small hooks. Here is the recipe, ingredients are listed in order of tying sequence:

Silver Doctor

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #56 Red

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Yellow hackle fibers

Tip:  Red floss

Rib: Oval silver tinsel

Body:  Silver tinsel

Hackle: Mixed guinea fowl and blue

Wing: Duck wing quill married in order from top down, except for the guinea: Brown, guinea fowl wing quill, red, blue, yellow.

Head: Red thread, also lacquered with red

The Silver Doctor was one of Pennsylvania author Jim Bashline’s favorite night flies.

Jock Scot – Trout Wet Flies

Size #10 Jock Scots, custom order of fishing flies.

Jock Scot – Trout Wet Fly

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #1 White to tie the fly, black for the head.

Tag: None

Tail: Golden pheasant crest (this used yellow fibers) and short scarlet tuft

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Rear ½ yellow floss, front ½ black floss

Hackle: Guinea fowl fibers

Wing: Blue, yellow, scarlet, & white-tipped turkey – married; peacock sword topping, jungle cock eye **

Assembly of the trout version of the Jock Scot wing can be variable. The white-tipped turkey is more easily mounted first, with the blue, yellow, and red married over. Also white-tipped blue mallard can be used on smaller sizes with the remaining colors veiled above them.

Gray Hackle Peacock – Soft-Hackle Wet Fly

#10 Gray Hackle Peacock wet fly

The Gray Hackle Peacock is a great fishing fly. It’s a simple soft-hackle wet fly, and may be as simple a tie as employing just the use of the peacock herl body and the grizzly hackle, that’s it. This version has the added bling of the gold tinsel tag and tinsel rib as well. The flash adds extra factors that appeal to the fish. The soft hen hackle moves in the water; this fly may be fished on a traditional down-and-across wet fly cast, singly or with one or two other patterns, or it may also be twitched, jigged, jiggled, and retrieved upstream through water that the angler suspects may hold trout. The Gray Hackle Peacock is also deadly when used in a single or two-fly indicator rig when dead-drift nymph fishing. The recipe is:

Gray Hackle Peacock

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #100 Black or #47 Tobacco Brown

Hook: Standard wet fly hook, #6 to #18

Tag: Gold tinsel

Body: Peacock herl; use several strands on larger hooks to as few as two on smaller ones. Use of one strand of peacock herl on all but the smallest hooks invites the risk of breakage. Two or more strands wound together provides added strength.

Rib: Gold tinsel, can be either flat or oval

Hackle: Grizzly hen hackle

Head: Black

Queen of the Waters Wet Fly

This pattern is a very popular old standard wet fly. It is listed in Mary Orvis Marbury’s Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892. I fished it often as a kid and a young man. This was part of the custom order I received in the summer of 2009 from Fishing Creek Angler Fly Shop and Bed and Breakfast, near Benton, Pennsylvania.

The Queen of the Waters is a fairly simple fly, containing only three ingredient components. Here is the recipe:

Queen of the Waters

Hook: Standard ox long wet fly hook, sizes #4 to #12 as desired.

Thread: Danville Flymaster #1 White for body, #100 Black for head

Hackle: Brown hen tied palmer, the soft webby fibers near the base of saddle hackles may also be used. depending on the density of the hackles barbs, you may decide to strip one side of the stem before winding.

Body: #7 Danville Orange floss

Wing: Gray mallard

Head: Black

Campbell’s Fancy Wet Fly

This 1/2 dozen is the Campbell’s Fancy wet fly. They were part of an order I received from a fly shop here in my home state of Pennsylvania, Fishing Creek Angler, where I’ve done business and custom tying for over ten years. Considering the small #10 hook size, I altered the dressing slightly by changing the normally used golden pheasant crest to yellow hackle fibers, and the usual wing of teal breast feathers to guinea fowl fibers. Here is the recipe for the Campbell’s Fancy:

Campbell’s Fancy

Hook: Standard Ox long wet fly hook. These are Mustad 3399.

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6+/0 #100 Black

Tail: Golden pheasant crest or yellow hackle fibers.

Hackle: Brown tied palmer. It’s always a good thing to make a few additional wraps of thread at the head of the fly.

Body: Gold tinsel

Wing: Teal flank feathers, guinea fowl was used in this variation.

Added April 12, 2012,edited June 25, 2013: This was the very first post I made when I began my blog. I did not know much about blogging then, or even better, “What’s a blog?” That was where I was. This has progressed very nicely in three years, and I am grateful to my subscribers and regular visitors for that. Thank you!