Robert Barnwell Roosevelt.

Superior fishing; or, The striped bass, trout, and black bass of the northern states. Embracing full directions for dressing artificial flies with the feathers of American birds; an account of a sporting visit to Lake Superior, etc., etc., etc online

. (page 14 of 18)
Online LibraryRobert Barnwell RooseveltSuperior fishing; or, The striped bass, trout, and black bass of the northern states. Embracing full directions for dressing artificial flies with the feathers of American birds; an account of a sporting visit to Lake Superior, etc., etc., etc → online text (page 14 of 18)
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chocolate color, and the female a greenish brown.
It lives three or four days, and then changes into the
great red spinner.


Body. — Sandy-brown mohair, ribbed over with
olive silk.

Tail. — Two fibres of a brown hen's feather.

Wings. — From the mottled wing-feather of a
brown hen, which may be found of the exact shade.

Begs. — A brown hen's hackle, or the small brown
body-feather of the widgeon.

No. 8. Great Red Spinner.

This is the metamorphosis of the March brown,
and may be used on warm evenings through the
season. It is a very excellent fly.



Body. — Orange and brown mohair mixed, ribbed
with fine gold twist.

Tail. — ^Two fibres of a bright amber red hackle, or
the body-feather of the golden pheasant, which is a
strong, durable feather for this purpose, and may be
found from a bright yellow to deep red.

Wings. — Light-colored feather from the robin's

Legs. — A bright amber red hackle.

No. 9. Sand Fly.

This fly comes from a water larva^ and is one of
the best flies which can be used during April and
May. Its wings are long and full, and lie flat upon
its back.


JBody. — Sandy-colored mohair, spun on sUk of the
same color.

Wings. — From the wing-feather of the brown
thrush, or the mottled brown feather of a young hen.

Legs. — A light ginger hackle. Cut oflT the upper
fibres of the hackle, that the wings may lie flat.

No. 10. The Stone Flt.

This fly also comes from a water larva. It is
heavy in its flight, but runs with great rapidity, and
is generally found in streams, amongst the stones or
close to the sides of the water. Its body is nearly
half an inch in lenscth.

FLY-nsHiNa 225


Body. — Brown and yellow mohair mixed, and
ribbed with yellow silk.

Tail. — Two strands of brown hen's wing.

Wings. — From the mottled feather of a brown hen
made full, and to lie flat.

Legs. — ^A grizzled hackle.

N'o. 11. The Geavel Bed, or Spider Fly.

This fly is found only in running waters, but
where it is found it is very numerous. It may be
used all day, and is a very delicate fly. It will raise
fish in clear water when no other fly will.


JBody. — ^Lead-coiored silk thread, with which the
fly is tied. Fine and thin.

Wings. — From an under covert feather of the
wood-cock's wing. To lie flat.

legs. — Two turns only of a black hackle.

No. 12. The Graknom, or Green Tail.

This fly comes from a water larva., and is found
chiefly at morning and at evening. The green tint
of its body is derived from the color of the bag of
eggs near the tail. There are a number of species
in the United States, and in some the bag of eggs is
yellow, and in some orange. The green is the most




Body. — "Work in a little tuft of green at the tail,
and then finish the body of sandy-colored mohair.

Wings. — A light brown mottled hen's feather, to
lie flat.

Legs. — A pale ginger hackle.

The body of the male is yellow, without the green

No. 13. The Yellow Dun.

This beautiful ephemera is one of our very best
flies. There are several varieties, and some of them
are an inch in length. It changes to a spinner, very
similar to the metamorphosis of the blue dun (No. 2),
only lighter and yellower, and should be so tied.


Body. — Yellow mohair spun very thinly on pale
blue silk.

Wings. — From the lightest part of the feather of
a robin's wing.

legs. — A pale yellow dun hackle.

This fly must not be finished off at the head with
the blue silk, but a yellow must be tied in for the
purpose when the body is done.

No. 14. The Iron Blue Dun.

This is one of the smallest of the ephemeridcBy
but not the least useful. It lives only two or three
days before changing its coat, when its body becomes
almost white, and its wings transparent.



Bochj.—P3i\Q blue mohair, very thinly spun on
reddish-brown silk, with which the head must be

Tail — Two whisks of the yellow body-feather of
the golden pheasant.

Wings.—Fvom the wing-feather of the blue-bird.

Legs.— A very small yellow dun hackle.

No. 15. The Jenny Spinnee.

This is the name of the iron blue dun (ISTo. 14) in
his new dress, in which he lives four or five days.
It is a killing fly towards evening in clear water in
summer. There are in the United States at least
some hundred varieties of these small ephemeridm^
of every conceivable color, and the skilful dresser
will take pleasure in tying them, using the feathers
of the small domestic and foreign birds which he can
procure. Such are the sky-blue, the orange dun, the
pale evening dun, the July dun (blue and yellow),
the whirling blue dun, and the little pale dun.


Body. — ^White floss silk, tied at head and tail
with brown silk thread.

Tail. — Two whisks light dun hackle.

Wings. — From a blue-bird's wing-feather

Legs. — A very small and very light dun hackle,
nearly white.


No. 16. The Little Yellow Mat Dun.

This is another of the ephemeridce^ and a most
useful one to the fisherman. It is not so small as the
preceding one (No. 14), and changes to a very light
red spinner.


Body. — ^Pale ginger-colored mohair, ribbed with
yellow silk.

Tail. — Two whisks of yellow, or ginger hackle.

Wings. — Mottled feather of the mallard, dyed a
greenish yellow.

Legs. — Light ginger hackle, dyed the same color
as the wings.

No. 17. The Black Gnat.

Every fisherman is familiar with this little insect,
and has taken trout with their mouths and throats
filled with them. It is, however, not properly a gnat,
but a midge.


Body. — Black ostrich herl.
Wings. — ^The darkest feather of a robin's wing.
Begs. — A black hackle.

The black midge should be made similarly, but
with a thin black silk body.

No. 18. The Oak Fly, also the Down Head
Fly, and Down Hlll Fly.
This is a land fly, and may be found upon the


trunks of trees or on posts near the water. It is car-
ried on the water by the wind, and is consequently
used with most success on windy days, like the cow-


Body. — Orange floss silk or mohair, ribbed with
black silk.

Wi7igs. — The darkest part of the wing-feather of
a curlew.

Legs. — ^A furnace, or red and black hackle.

No. 19. The Tuekey Brown.

This ephemera is common to most of the waters
of New York, and is found on nearly all the Long
Island ponds, where it is eagerly taken by the trout.
It appears about the middle of April, and changes
to a little dark spinner, which is a most killing fly
just before dusk.


Body. — Brown mohair ribbed with purple silk.
The female is of a greenish brown.

Tail. — Two fibres of the same feather as the wings.
Wings. — Of the brown mottled feather from the
back- of a ruffed grouse.

Legs. — A red-brown hackle.

No. 20. The Little Daek Spinnek.

This is the perfect, or Imago., state of the turkey
brown (No. 19) just described. It is as fragile as it


is beautiful, and can hardly be touched without
maiming or killing it.


Body. — Light reddish-brown floss silk, ribbed
with purple.

Tail. — Three whisks of a light dun hackle.

Wings. — From a feather of the robin's wing, or
the under feather of a young grouse's wing.

IJegs. — ^A light dun hackle.

No. 21. The Yellow Sally.

This is a water fly, which continues in season for
four or five weeks from the middle of May. Its
wings are transparent, and lie close and flat. It is
sometimes called " the flat yellow."


JBody. — Yellow mohair, ribbed with pale green silk

Wings. — White pigeon wing, stained a pale
greenish yellow.

Xegs. — ^A white hackle, dyed the same color as
the wings.

No. 22. The Fekn Fly.

The two most common varieties of this fly are
known as the "Soldier" and the "Sailor." The
wing coverings of one are red, and of the other blue.
They are both well taken by the trout until the end
of July, on hot days.



Body. — Orange floss silk.

Wings. — The darkest part of a robin's wing-

Legs. — ^A red cock's hackle.

Two or three fibres of some blue feather may be
tied in with each wing, on the outside, or of red, to
represent the wing-covers.

No. 23. The Alder Fly.

This fly comes from a water nympha. It lays its
eggs upon the leaves of trees which overhang the
water, whence they drop into it. It is in season dur-
ing May and June.


Body. — Peacock's herl tied with black silk.
Wings. — From a feather of a brown hen, made
large and full.

legs. — A black cock's hackle.

No. 24. The Geeen" Dkake.

This is the most famous of all the English ephe-
meridce. It is a large and beautiful fly, but is not
found, so far as known, except in running waters.
For ordinary streams and ponds here the "little
yellow May dun" (No. 16) will be found preferable.


Body. — Straw-colored floss silk, ribbed with
brown ; the head of peacock's herl.


Tail. — Three hairs from a fitch's tail.

Wings. — From a mottled feather of the mallard,
stained a greenish yellow.

The female of this fly changes to the grey drake,
and the male to the black drake. They are little

N'o. 25. The Hazel Fly.

This is a beetle, the pupa of which inhabits the
earth. It is found upon poplar-trees, and a species
very similar is found upon fern. It is blown upon
the water, and is to be used on windy days.


Body. — A black ostrich herl and a peacock's herl,
twisted together on red silk.

Wings and Legs. — Made buzz with a dark fur-
nace hackle.

As this fly never alights upon the water, it is gene-
rally seen struggling with its Avings in motion.

No. 26. The Dark Mackerel.

This is the imago., or perfect state of another kind
of green drake, darker than No. 24. It is found in
some waters where the true green drake is not, and
is used in its stead.


Body. — ^Dark mulberry floss silk, ribbed with fine
gold twist.

Tail. — Three hairs from a fitch's tail.


Wings. — From the brown mottled feather of the
mallard, which hangs from the back over a part of
the wing.

JOegs. — A dark purple hackle.

No. 27. The Gold-Eyed Gauze Wing.

This beautiful insect is not found upon all waters,
but where it is, affords great sport on windy days.
It may be used from June till the end of September.


Body. — Pale yellowish green floss silk, tied with
silk of the same color.

Legs. — Pale blue dun hackle, with one or two
turns in front of the wings.

Wings. — A pale transparent mallard, or wood-
duck feather, stained slightly green. Very full, long,
and to lie flat.

No. 28. The Weex Tail.

This is a species of Ao^:)per, sometimes called '^ ant
hop29ers.^^ They hop and fly for about twenty yards,
and sometimes drop short and fall upon the water.
The light and dark brown, and the greenish blue,
are the most common.


Body. — Ginger-colored mohair ribbed with fine
gold twist, short.

Wings and Begs. — Feather from a wren's tail,
wound on hackle-wise.


A brown mottled hackle may be used in place
of the wren's tail feather.

No. 29. The Ked Ant.

There are many species of these winged ants, and
they are familiar to every one. The red and black
are those generally used.


Body. — Copper-colored peacock's herl, wound
thickly, for two or three turns, at the tail to form a
tuft ; the rest of the body dark red silk.

Wings. — From the lightest part of a robin's wing.
To lie flat.

Legs. — A small red hackle.

The black ant is made of black ostrich herl
body; wings from the darkest part of a robin's
wing ; legs, a small black hackle.

No. 30. The Silver Horns.

This fly is an excellent one until the end of
August, principally in showery weather.


Body. — Black ostrich herl tied with black silk,
and trimmed down.

Wings. — A wing-feather of the black-bird.

Legs. — Small black cock's hackle.

Horiis. — Two strands of the grey feather of the

The male has black horns. To make it buzz,


the body is to be ribbed with silver twist upon the
black ostrich herl, and a black hackle wrapped the
whole length of the body.

No. 31. The August Dun.

This fly comes from a water nympha^ lives two
or three days, and changes to a red spinner. This
fly is for August what the March brown is for


Body. — Brown floss silk, ribbed with yellow silk

Tail. — Two hairs from a fitch's tail.

Wings. — Feather of a brown hen's wing.

Legs. — Plain brown hackle.

Made buzz with a grouse feather, in place of
Avings and legs

1^0. 32. The Orange Fly.

This is an Ichneumon Fly. It is furnished with an
ovipositor., for the purpose of piercing the skins of
caterpillars, in which it deposits its eggs, the grub
from which grows in, and ultimately kills, the insect
in which it was hatched.


Body. — Orange floss silk tied on with black.
Thick and square at the tail.

Wiiigs. — ^Darkest part of a robin's wing.
Legs. — A very dark furnace hackle.


No. 33. The Cinnamon Fly.

This fly comes from a wsLier pujm. It should be
used after a shower, and on a windy day. It is a
very kiUing fly on some waters, and somewhat re-
sembles the land fly, but does not appear so early.


Body. — Fawn-colored mohair, tied on silk of the
same color.

Wings. — Feather of a yellow-brown hen's wing,
rather darker than the thrush feather. To lie flat.

liegs. — A ginger hackle.

The pinnated grouse's small wing-feather, dyed a
pale cinnamon with madder and copperas, is an ex-
cellent feather for the wings of this fly, and of No.

No. 34. The Cinnamon Dun.

This ephemera is found in abundance on the
streams in Pike Co., Pa., and in some other locali-
ties. It is similar to the little yellow May dun, but
is of a bright cinnamon color, and comes on in July
and August. Its metamorphosis is of a light red
brown, with wings almost white.


Body. — ^Red and yellow mohair spun on yellow
silk, and ribbed with the same.

Wings. — The light feather of a grouse's wing,
dyed cinnamon with madder, or the feather of a
curlew's wing.


Tail. — Two fibres of the same feather as the

Legs. — A ghiger hackle.

No. 35. The Blue Bottle.

This and the house fly become blind and weak in
September, are frequently blown upon the water,
and afford good sport. They may be used especially
after a frosty night, but are not unsuccessful earlier
in the season.


Body. — Bright blue mohair, tied with light brown
gilk. The body thick.

Wings. — The lightest feather of a robin's wing.

Legs. — Two turns of a black hackle.

The Souse Fly may be made thus :

Body. — Light brown and green mohair mixed.
Wifigs. — Light-colored feather from a robin's

Legs. — A blue dun hackle.

Head. — Green peacock's herl, with two or three
turns under the wing:s.


No. 36. The Red Palmer.

This is the caterpillar of the garden tiger-moth.
This palmer is found early in the spring, and is
chiefly recommended for streams where trees over-
hang the water. Cuvier states that this caterpillar
changes its skin ten times during its growth.



Body. — Peacock's herl, with a red cock's hackle
wrapped the whole length, and tied with red silk.

Ronalds's palmers are made long, and have a
second hook tied in about half way up the body. It
is a killing fly in streams, and of little use in ponds
in the United States.

No. 37. The Beown Palmer.

The preceding remarks on the red palmer apply
equally to this and the succeeding description. The
white and yellow are equally successful on wooded
streams, and they all may be used through the


Body. — Light brown mohair spun on brown silk,
and a brown cock's hackle wrapped all the way up.

No. 38. The Black and Red Palmee.

Body. — Black ostrich herl, ribbed with gold
twist, and a red cock's hackle wrapped over it.

The feather at the shoulder should be a large fur-
nace hackle, and the herl should be thickest there.
Show the gold twist clearly at the tail.



It is a great advantage to the fly -fisherman to joos-
sess the knowledge of dyeing his materials, as it is
by no means easy to procm*e them at all times of
the desired color. It is, besides, an amusement and
an inducement to study the colors, sizes, and habits
of the insects which he wishes to imitate. The
colors for salmon-flies should be as rich and brilliant
as possible ; those for trout are of soberer hues.
Hackles should be selected with much care, of fine
fibre, of even taper. White hackles are requisite
for yellow, orange, blue, and green ; red hackles for
claret, red, brown, and olive. They should be
washed in soap and water before dyeing, and tied
in small bunches for convenience of handling.

It is important in dyeing all kinds of feathers to
dress them thoroughly. They should be rinsed in
clean water when taken from the dye, wiped as dry
as possible, and dressed with the hand in the direc-
tion of the fibres until dry. This gives them a
smoothness and gloss which can be given in no
other way.

Naturally-colored feathers are perhaps preferable,
as a general thing, for trout-flies; but there are
some which cannot be had of the proper color, and
for salmon-flies the dyer's art is indispensable.


To Dye Yellow.

Put two table-spoonfuls of ground alum, and one
tea-spoonful of cream of tartar into a pint of water.
When perfectly dissolved and boiling, put in the
feathers, hackles, or hair, and simmer for half an
hour. Take them from this mordant bath, and put
them in the yellow dye, made by infusing a table-
spoonful of ground turmeric in a pint of water, and
immersed until the color is extracted.

Boil until the color is deep enough, and then wash
them in clean water. Dry, and dress them as

There are several materials for yellow dyes, such
as fustic, quercitron bark, yellow wood, Persian ber-
ries, and weld ; but turmeric is the best for the pur-

To Dye Orange.

To produce orange the feathers or other material
should be first dyed yellow, according to the pre-
vious recipe. They should then be boiled in a dye
made with madder and a small quantity of cochineal,
until the requisite shade is obtained.

To Dye Scarlet.

Make a strong infusion of cochineal, put in a few
drops of muriate of tin, which will make a crimson,
and then put in a little cream of tartar, which will
make a clear scarlet. The proportions in weight
are one part of muriate of tin to two parts of cream
of tartar. It is best to boil the feathers first in the


solution of alum. Simmer them until the color is

To Dye Crimso]^-.

Boil the materials to be dyed in a solution of alum
and cream of tartar, for half an hour; bruise two
table-spoonfuls of cochineal, and simmer them in
water until the color is extracted.

Take the, materials from the alum water, and boil
them in the cochineal liquor until you have the color
you wish.

"Wash them in clean water, and if feathers, dress
them until dry.

To Dye Beown.

Brown may be procured by boiling walnut shells
to a strong solution, and of a more chestnut hue by
boiling in a bath composed of a small handful each
of sumach and alder bark, boiled in half a pint of
water, with half a drachm of copperas.

To Dye Blue.

Boil your material in the solution of alum and
tartar already described.

Then make a blue dye by dissolving the prepared
indigo paste in water, the quantity of which must
depend upon the color you wish to produce. Boil
until you have the shade you desire.

The prepared indigo paste is made by dissol^g
indigo in oil of vitriol and water in a well stoppered


bottle, but it is some trouble to pre^Dare, and may
be had already made at a dyer's.

It requires a white ground to produce a good

To Dye Purple or Yiolet.

First dye your materials blue and let them dry,
according to the recipe already given. Then bruise
a couple of table-spoonfuls of cochineal, which boil
until the color is extracted; then put in the blue
hackles, or other feathers, and simmer them over
the fire until the purple is obtained.

Wash and dress as before directed.

To Dye Claret.

Bruise a handful of nutgalls and boil them half an
hour, with a table-spoonful of oil of vitriol in half
a cup of water. Put in your material and boil for
two hours ; add a piece of copperas the size of a
walnut, and a little pearl ashes. Boil until a fine
bright claret is produced.

Wash and dress as before. •

To Dye Black.

Boil two handfuls of logwood with a little
sumach and elder bark for an hour; put in the
hackles or feathers, and boil very gently. Put in a
little bruised copperas, a little argil, and some soda ;
leave the feathers in for some hours with a gentle
heat, then wash the dye well out of them, dry and


dress them. The argil and soda must be used s^Dar-

To Dye Lavender, oe Blue Dun.

Boil ground logwood with bruised nutgalls and
a little copperas. The shade of color may be varied
by using more or less of the materials.

You may have grey, and duns of various shades,
by boiling with the logwood a little alum and cop-

To Dye Geeen.

Dye your material a light shade of blue first,
according to the directions for that color ; then put
them into the yellow dye, and examine them fre-
quently while boiling to see that you get the proper
shade. You may get any shade of green by dyeing
the blues darker or lighter, and then boiling them a
shorter or longer time in the yellow dye.

The blue and yellow dyes may also be mixed to
produce any shade of green, but this requires judg-
ment and considerable experience, and the result is
not superior. It must be remembered that the blue
becomes developed by time, and the color should be
at first more yellow than is required.

To Dye a Mallaed's Feather eoe the Green-
Drake, AND Little Yellow May Dun.

Boil the feathers in the mordant bath of alum
already described.
Then boil them in an infusion of fustic to produce


a yellow, and subdue the brightness of this yellow
by adding copperas to the mfusion.

It is better to add a little of the indigo paste to
this dye. It gives a brighter, clearer tone of color.

To Dye Gut.

An Azure, or JVeutral Tint.

I drachm logwood,
6 gi'ains copperas.

Immerse the gut 2|- to 3 minutes.

An Azure Tint, more FinJc,

1 drachm logwood,
1 scruple alum.
Immerse the gut 3 minutes.

A dingy Olive.

1 drachm logwood,
1 scruple alum,
3 scruples quercitron bark.
Lnmerse from 2 to 3 minutes.

A light Brown.

1 drachm madder,
1 scruple alum.

Immerse from 5 to 6 minutes.

A light Yellow, or Amber.

l^ scruples quercitron bark,
1 scruple alum,



6 grains madder,
4 drops muriate of tin,
1 scruple cream of tartar.
Immerse 2^ minutes.

An Olive Dun.

Make a strong infusion of the outside brown
leaves or coating of onions, by allowing the ingre-
dients to stand warm by the fire for ten or twelve

When quite cold put the gut into it, and let it re-
main until the hue becomes as dark as may be

All the above dyes for gut are to be used cold.




In fly-fishing, a rod, and a good rod, is one of the
prime requisites, npon the excellence of which de-
pends, in a great measure, the successful exercise of
the angler's skill. An excellent rod may be made of
different materials and in different manners, a choice
among which will depend upon fancied, more than
real superiority ; but each writer has his ftivorites,
and, if able, is entitled to give the reasons for his

Fly-fishing is mainly confined to salmon and trout-
fishing ; for these, essentially different implements are
required ; for the long casts and heavy play of the
former, amid the rapids and cascades of the foaming
river, a stout, stiff, two-handed rod is requisite ;
while for the feebler efforts and shorter casts of the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17 18

Online LibraryRobert Barnwell RooseveltSuperior fishing; or, The striped bass, trout, and black bass of the northern states. Embracing full directions for dressing artificial flies with the feathers of American birds; an account of a sporting visit to Lake Superior, etc., etc., etc → online text (page 14 of 18)