Golden Doctor – Classic Wet Fly

The first time I ever saw or heard of the Golden Doctor wet fly was in Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. Along with the Silver Doctor it was an attractor pattern, and like the recently posted Fletcher wet fly, it has a three-color married tail. Between that fancy tail and the red and blue goose shoulder “splits” over the gray mallard wing, the Golden Doctor is another beautiful, yet little known classic wet fly. I recently discovered in doing research for my upcoming book, Favorite Fishing Flies – 1892, that the Golden Doctor is an older pattern than I previously realized. Reading through Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury, I found some text where Mary mentions the Golden Doctor, so that means it dates at least to the early 1890’s. My guess is that the pattern is even older than that. I have always liked the Golden Doctor, it is another very beautiful wet fly. The color combinations of materials, the claret hackle and the red head, all make for a dashing pattern. Here is a photo and recipe for the Golden Doctor:

Golden Doctor wet fly -

Golden Doctor wet fly – dressed on a Mustad #4 – 3906 standard wet fly hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Golden Doctor

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #56 Red

Tail: Red, yellow, green – married

Body: Flat gold tinsel

Hackle: Claret

Wing: Gray mallard flank, with splits of red and blue goose shoulder

Head: Red

I used two full mallard flank feathers, paired, that is, a left and a right, and cut opposing sections from each feather, then I mounted the slips with the tip down, the wing curving downward in the traditional 19th century style. The claret hackle was wound from the tip of a schlappen feather, several turns. These feathers make great collar hackles, because the stems are so fine and flexible.

This is yet another pattern I confess to having never fished, but how could you not? Just look at it, the colors and form are perfect for brook trout and land-locked salmon.

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6 comments on “Golden Doctor – Classic Wet Fly

  1. Tim Dwinal says:

    Don, I’ve been quietly following your posts. The flies that you have tied are works-of-art. I’ve been enjoying your posts including the educational value along the way.

  2. Don Bastian says:

    Hi Tim;
    Thank you very much for your comment! It’s nice to hear from you! I’m happy that you have been enjoying my posts! Tell Sarah I said, “Hi!”

    PS: There’s more to come; I have another eight wet flies on #4’s to post, all old classic patterns.

  3. Paul says:

    Oh my is that one sweet looking fly, I’d eat it myself !!! And as a heretic I’d say it would do wonders at driving a bass crazy.

    Any idea if it was part of a trend in certain regions to come up with these colorful artistic patterns? It seems to be a bit of a signature.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Paul;
      Thanks for your comment and appreciation of the Golden Doctor. These colorful, “fancy” wet flies were created in the mid-1800’s for the native brook trout that inhabited the eastern US and Canada. The Silver Doctor came from Europe as a salmon pattern, but in making that fly smaller, it was discovered that it was a favorite of brook trout and landlocked salmon. No doubt other colorful flies were developed by creative fly dressers specifically for the brook trout and salmon. Many of the fancy Lake Flies of the 1800’s bear no resemblance to anything living.
      Thanks again for your comment!

  4. Great looking Fly – very bright!
    And it has my fav nightmare winging material!!!! 😉

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Darrell;
      Thanks for your compliment! Ha, ha, on the winging material. It’s actually not that bad, once you get used to dealing with it. If I don’t do the left and right paired slips, then I make a gray mallard (or bronze) wing by stacking several smaller slips in place, usually two or three on a larger size hook. I finish that off by capping the top with a wide slip, folded over onto both sides similar to roofing a salmon fly with bronze mallard, but usually wide enough to equal the full wing width. Thanks again for your comment!

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