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.

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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!