Fitz-Maurice Lake Fly

This pattern as represented in Trout by Ray Bergman is a little different than the old, original 19th century version I discovered on the 1893 Orvis Display Plates at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont. Bergman’s book obviously includes the Fitzmaurice as a trout pattern, while as represented in size on the Orvis display, it could be a either a Lake Fly, intended for brook trout and landlocked salmon, or a Bass Fly, or perhaps both.

Here is the version replicated from the recipe of Trout:

Fitzmaurice wet fly, recipe from Trout by Ray Bergman.

Fitzmaurice wet fly, recipe from Trout by Ray Bergman.

Fitzmaurice, Trout version:

Tag: Oval gold tinsel – the addition of the tinsel tag is mine, note the flat gold tinsel tag on the Orvis version

Tail: Peacock sword fibers

Butt: Black chenille

Body: Red chenille

Wing: Bronze mallard

Hackle: Yellow

Head: Black

Following is my photo of the Fitz-Maurice from the 1893 Orvis Display:


Fitz-Maurice from 1893 Orvis Display, hook size is approximately a #1/0. The Lake Flies were traditionally tied in sizes this large, as were the Bass Flies.

Fitz-Maurice – Orvis Dressing:

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Peacock sword fibers

Body: Rear 1/2 red chenille, front 1/2 black chenille

Hackle: Golden yellow, wound full over front 1/5 of hook shank

Wing: Gray mallard, two whole feathers; this could be classed as a spoon wing. The stems were tied reverse-wing.

This pattern has a gut loop eye, often referred to back in the day as a snood. The chenille is very dense, most likely a fine grade of silk chenille. The Fitz-Maurice is not listed in Mary Orvis Marbury’s Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, but as you can see it is on the 1893 Orvis Display, and it will be among more than 200 additional 19th century fly patterns, beyond the 291 in Marbury’s book, that will be listed by name with the accurate recipe, determined by visual inspection of actual flies, and from study of my collection of fly photos, in my upcoming book in progress, Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892. The additional fly patterns from the 1893 display include flies in all categories of Marbury’s book: Hackles, Lake Flies, Trout Flies, Salmon Flies, and Bass Flies.

4 comments on “Fitz-Maurice Lake Fly

  1. Kelly L says:

    Don, I love both of these. I am very fond of the bass fly look. I think I will have to try some of these in the future. I really like them. I won’t do the gut with it, just an eyed hook though. Thanks for the brief look into history again. I love it!

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Kelly;
      I found it interesting, the differences in the wing and body between Bergman’s book – while not his recipe as some may think, and the Marbury / Orvis dressing. I like the older pattern myself. I wonder where the bronze mallard wing came from? Thanks for your comment!

  2. Don, You are inspiring me. I have gone through many different tying passions. These passions never leave. However like a mothers love for her children there is always room for more passions in fly tying. One of the first streamer patterns I tied and I still have some that I tied 20 years ago is the grey ghost. The older I get the more nostalgic I get. I opened the trout season with one inspiration, to catch a trout on the grey ghost. I accomplished that goal. I have tied the first ghost since that time this year. I have artificial jungle cock and a few feathers suitable for feather wings. I have just worked 3 straight nights of overtime double shifts. My sleep dep may be stirring me for this reply, forgive me. I am looking for the best feathers and a nine foot five weight for the casting competition so I can compete with Dave at Carlisle in September. Oh, I can’t wait for your book. I will take the first you can get to me. I apologize for the grammar. I am going to bed.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hello Sir!
      Thank you for your detailed comment and reply!
      I can identify with your “older, more nostalgic” feelings. 😉 For example, I love music, and am getting more and more into big band music. But I can still switch from that to classic rock at the drop of a hat.
      I caught lots of trout right here in Pennsylvania on the Gray Ghost while in my late teens and early twenties. Then when I discovered the Wooly Bugger in 1978 all hell broke loose. :mrgreen: That fly almost ruined my traditional fly tying and fly fishing habits. Fortunately I have returned to my roots of fly tying, being very interested in the history of flies; that matches my interest in human history.
      So are you competing with Dave or against him in Carlisle? He and I were to be partners in one of those contests, back in ’05 I believe. Good luck finding the “right rod.”
      Glad you made it safely home from work, working three double night shifts, I’d be exhausted.
      I’m glad you have interest in my book, and thanks again for your comment!

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