There has always been a lot of discussion about the fly called the Maynard’s Marvel here in New Hampshire. The reason is there are two flies that use the same name and they are very different. After some research, watching some tyers interviews and discussing some of the facts with noted fly scholars I’ve come up with this to share. The first photo is what I like to refer to as the Pittsburg NH Maynard’s Marvel. This fly is attributed to a guide from that area with the last name of Maynard. In Dick Surette’s Trout and Salmon Fly Index it mentioned it was popularized by Carl Stilphen from North Conway in 1931. My research has uncovered that our guide named Maynard was very popular and this was the fly he used while guiding. If one of the anglers wanted the fly at the end of the day he would take the one he gave them to fish with back and give them a slightly different version never giving away the real Maynard’s Marvel. Fished near the bottom this remains a very productive pattern. In Surette’s book he also shares that it is used to troll on Lake Winnipesaukee.
The next pattern is the Maynard’s Marvel that often is referred to as the Golden Marvel and which has been attributed to Keene, NH tyer Ora Smith. Good friend Bill Thompson one told me this fly was often called the Keene Fly by the locals. In an interview I saw of Ora speaking about this fly he tells the story that another tyer, Bill Zimmerman actually came up with this pattern and named it after Doc Maynard who owned Maynard’s Camps on Moosehead Lake in Maine. In fact Ora would by these flies from Zimmerman for his personal use and one day when he went to purchase some he was told by Zimmerman that he stopped tying them. Ora goes on to say he bought the materials and started tying his own. Maybe this was the beginning of Ora’s tying career. I have a number of Ora’s tied Maynard’s Marvels and they all have slight differences, over time he stopped using the GPCs and replaced them with a synthetic material.
The third photo is Smith’s Marvel. This fly came about from a customer that wanted a Marvel styled fly with no shoulders and an orange tail and throat.
The fourth fly is Mike Martinek’s Bloody Marvel. Tied in the Marvel style this fly is and excellent fly for trout. In some of the trout ponds in NH this is an excellent pattern throughout the season.
The last fly tied in the Marvel style is pattern called Kelly’s Hero. Martinek popularized this after seeing it at the 1969 Sportsmen’s Show in Boston. This too is an effective fly in the summer months.
So if you were confused about the “Real Marvel” maybe this will help you out...until someone finds another Marvel style fly that will get a new discussion going. These flies have been tied on Sprite and Partridge Hooks and Ive used both Ewing hackle and hen feathers. The heads are all sealed with Solarez Bone Dry. Once the eyes are painted and dried I seal these again with the Bone Dry Plus
Scott Biron is a fly tyer from New Hampshire.