Silver Doctor

Here is a size #10 Silver Doctor wet fly pattern. I realize that I have already posted other pattern variations of the Silver Doctor here, but it is a fly that seems to rate rather high on search engine fly pattern lists. This is a recent and slight variation (two weeks ago) of my initial variation from Bergman’s Trout recipe, created in 2005 that I included in my second DVD, where I used brown duck or goose and guinea fowl wing quill sections instead of brown turkey and teal flank. This pattern uses dark brown turkey while still retaining the guinea fowl. The reason for that is that it’s still easier and faster and more durable to use the turkey, guinea fowl, and duck or goose wing quill sections in red, yellow and blue, than trying to marry turkey to teal flank, and then having to use goose shoulder. Ease of marrying wings is all about maintaining uniformity of the feather slips. Goose shoulder marries well to turkey and barred wood duck and teal, but not so well to wing quill slips.

This pattern was one of 23 wet fly patterns that I tied for a recent project that I’ll soon be posting here on my blog. I have looked, and there is nothing on the internet about this, but in 1927 a man named Frederick L. Whiting wrote a whimsical poem titled, The Fly Young Knight. It was copyrighted in 1950, and also made into a 12″ x 22″ poster with medieval-looking script writing. The verses name the different wet fly patterns throughout, with spaces to mount the flies, weaving a tale of adventure of the encounter of a mythical medieval knight, the Gray Knight (which to me, was a totally unknown wet fly pattern), who meets in a field to do battle with the Grizzly King. Apparently the two had some sort of disagreement over their respective Ladies-in-waiting, Parmacheenee Belle and Jennie Lind.

The original poem, as I understand it, is framed with the flies mounted in place among the verses, and hangs in the clubhouse of the Adirondack League. There is also one in The New York Angler’s Club. Former New York City fly shop owner Jim Deren, of The Angler’s Roost, also figures in this story, a far as where the poem had its last hurrah. More on that later.

The following is excerpted from a March 24, 1985, The New York Times article: “The Angler’s Roost was first situated at 207 East 43rd Street, then in the Chrysler Building and, finally, at 141 East 44th Street near Grand Central, where Mr. Deren held forth until shortly before his death in 1983. Space was limited in each of those locations. At the last place, one felt crowded if more than two other customers were present.” To read the entire article:

Silver Doctor, Size #10, Mustad 3399.

Silver Doctor

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Yellow fibers and short dash of blue fibers

Butt: Red floss

Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Hackle: Guinea fowl and silver doctor blue hackle fibers

Wing: Dark brown turkey tail, guinea fowl, red, blue, and yellow duck or goose, married

Head: Red (Wapsi lacquer)

I’ll be posting the poem and inserting all the fly photos on my blog in a few days. For now this size #10 Silver Doctor will have to do. The smallest I’ve ever tied this pattern in is a size #12.

8 comments on “Silver Doctor

  1. Kelly L says:

    I love this pattern Don. Well done! The colors alone are so eye catching!!
    You did a wonderful job.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Thanks Kelly, I am glad you like this fly…I’ll be posting the others along with the poem. I’ve always liked this pattern…thank you for your support and comments!

  2. Terry Chapman says:

    There’s just something about the color combinations in this fly that are arresting! I can’t wait to see the poem and the originality of the idea.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Thanks very much for your comment Terry!
      I am excited too, about posting the poem. Right now I’m working on a photo-blog post of a recent stream improvement project on my local stream, Lycoming Creek. Glad you like “The Doctor.” It’s a favorite pattern of mine to tie! Thanks again!

  3. Ray Henley says:

    As a kid growing up in the NYC area, the only place I could get my tying materials was the Roost. Just seeing the name brings back lovely memories for the late 50’s.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Ray;
      The first I ever read of The Angler’s Roost was in Ed Zern’s book, To Hell With Fishing, which also contained cartoons by H. T. Webster. I had written a post mentioning that book and Webster’s cartoons some months ago. I am glad that my mention of The Angler’s Roost stirred pleasant memories for you. Thank you very much for your comment! Appreciate it!

  4. John Larsen says:


    That poem sounds interesting. My wife writes poetry and it would be a good writing exercise for her to use wet fly pattern names in a poem. I think I will make up a list for her, although I don’t know if she would be up for 23. I look forward to seeing the poems and flies. The Silver Doctor is very well done, as always.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Thank you John, very much for your comment and consideration on your wife creating another poem incoporating fly names. The Fly Young Knight is interesting, and as I indicated, whimsical and humorous.
      Thanks for your compliment on my tie of the Silver Doctor!

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