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Brown Owl Fly
About once a year I sit down and tie up a handful of these flies. Usually I end up with two and the friends I fish with are the beneficiaries of the remainder. This is a true New Hampshire pattern which was originated by Bob Broad. Bob ran the Brown Owl Tackle Shop in Errol, NH. Most of what I have learned about this fly has come through my good friend Rick Estes. I like to tell him that he ties this fly the best and each time I sit down I look at his to get mine just right.
The fly is to be fished in the surface film, imitating a struggling adult stonefly which hatches in late June and July in the Errol area. This hatch occurs right at dark and beyond. It is also seen in the Connecticut River in Pittsburg, NH. My friend Chuck Cosseboom uses these on the Magalloway River with great success. These stones are very large and I often make a few in size 4 and then in size 8.
One of the common mistakes of this fly is to over dress it. This often occurs if you use too much bucktail for the collar. Additionally if you flare the bucktail too much it will end up in a less than desired result. I tie my bucktail in on top of the last 3 wraps of the oval gold tinsel and then I touch the tread with varnish and lock the fibers in. As the varnish sets I pinch the bucktail to get it to lie more parallel to the hook.
Over the years I've looked for the right color grizzly hackle for the fly and recently I found it in a Ewing Feather Birds Brown Grizzly Hen. Years ago I remember standing on the dock of my grandfathers camp just below Bragg Bay on the Androscoggin River in Errol. Just at dusk (and if you could handle the black flies) we would see trout take these stones floating in the surface film. It's one of the essential NH patterns.....never go north without it.
Hook: Partridge 4-7x (you can tie these up to a size 4 but 6 and 8 are the most common)
THREAD: BROWN (6/0 DANVILLE #47)
BODY: Oval gold tinsel,
Collar: Sparse yellow buck tail from the brown side of the tail near the rump end, extend the
tips slightly beyond the bend of the hook
Wing: Teal flank feather, tent style to slightly beyond the bend of the hook, (roll the teal in your fingers before tying it in)
Hackle: Soft brownish grizzly, originally wrapped like a collar and trimmed on top.
Head: Brown thread
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Scott Biron is a fly tyer from New Hampshire.