Today was my second double check of the Colby Sawyer College classroom where I will be offering the class. I use Apple Keynote and making sure the cables all work to project the presentation on the 3 screens got its test. Everything checked out perfectly. Part of each class is a live streamer tying demonstration so ensuring everyone can see the fly from their seats is important. The room set up is incredible and all of the equipment is new and state of the art. I can stream the fly tying from my iPhone to my MacBook Pro and then to the screens in the room with great clarity. The video gives a good look at the room and what the fly looks like on the screen. Registration is open for the class www.ailcsc.com/register
This weeks update
We had a great class yesterday at Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop in Maine. Tied up some great streamers and shared a lot of tips on how to tie these flies. Just in time for the season to open in a few weeks. The class jumped on most of the Ewing Scott Biron Signature Streamer capes........good news more are do into the shop this week!
Number 2 question is on hooks and the long shank Partridge Heritage Streamer models. Partridge has a new distributor here on the East Coast and the hooks are due to them very soon. Expect to see them in shops soon. I'll update you with more information as these become available.
Sunapee Historical Society Event
On July 8th I will be at the Sunapee Historical Society's Flanders-Osborne Museum on 74 Main Street in Sunapee Harbor. Throughout the morning I will be tying some Lake Sunapee streamer fly patterns and duscussing about they fly tyers that developed these patterns. I'm scheduled to be at the museum from 9:30-noon. The event is sponsored by the Sunapee Historical Society.
Back To College
Yes back to college for me as I will be offering a class at Colby Sawyer College on The History of New Hampshire and New England Streamer Flies. I've been slowly researching this topic for a number of years. It began when I was working on the Traditional Arts Grant and I headed to the State Library to find out some information on NH fly tyers. I have a friend who is a town librarian here in NH and she was very helpful trying to point me in the correct direction to get started on documenting history in this area.
My first find was an article that spelled out quite a bit about flies and fly tyers from back around the 1950s. It had some patterns and names of the tyers who developed them and much of it was from a letter the late Game Warden Jesse Scott had written to the magazine. At some point NHFG had a newsletter that came out on a regular basis and some of this history was included in it. Jesse made note of that and when I went looking for the newsletters I sadly found out that all of the department copies burnt in the Bridge Street fire.
Shortly after I had gone to the library I was contacted by the historic fly tyer the late Ellis Hatch, he had a fly pattern he had tied for years and did not know who came up with the fly. He basically sent me in search of this information. It took me a while but I had seen the fly pattern on a visit to Ellis's and said that really looks failure to me. As I began my search I connected with Rick Estes a retired game warden and good friend who shares a similar interest in the history of flies.
After a few months of looking around I came up dry and kind of put things on hold. Then I was discussing with a family member about a fly my Uncle Mike tied. I shared that Uncle Mike and my grandfather would tell me all about their fishing exploits but it was always in french so I had to try to translate it to english and missed a lot of it. Anyway during the conversation I mentioned that Uncle Mike would visit some of the local fly tying shops (usually a general store) and he would chat up with people in Errol what was working and what wasn't. He was a very good fly tyer and he would see a pattern in the store and go home and tie some up. Thats when I remembered him showing me the same pattern Ellis had asked about.
So a little more research and I was able to find the tyers name from the store and connect him to the fly pattern. Thats how this whole thing really got going. I went back to speak with Ellis and he was thrilled with the information and said much of this information has gone to the grave with fly tyers unwilling to share their patterns.
That day driving home I decided to start to look for more information on these patterns and tyers. Sometimes would find one thing that would ballon into a whole load of information. Other times I would find something that would document a tyers work by when he/she made modifications to a fly pattern. I began to write this down and tie the flies all while sharing the information. I try to share everything with the disclaimer So Far. More and more I would uncover something and a year later obtain further information that I could add to the history.
Then people asked me to do something with all the information.....write a book...put together a presentation......I've written books and they get outdated fast so I opted for the presentation. Thats why I'm heading back to college. The folks at CSC Adventures in Learning welcomed the idea of offering this class and wanted me to do a tying demonstration as part of each class. As you can see by the announcement there are 4 classes and I had this entire presentation completed when I fell into a boatload of new history so I am in the process of rewriting several of the sections. I also expect that someone who might be in these classes will have information to add to these histories.
Black Ghost Streamer
Black Ghost Streamer Recipe
Originator Herb Welch
Hook: Partridge Heritage Streamer Hook #2 9X
Tail: Yellow Ewing hen fibers short and sparse.
Body: Black floss
Rib: Medium flat silver tinsel
Throat: Yellow Ewing hen fibers tied sparse
Wings: Four Ewing Scott Biron Signature Series white saddle hackles.
Cheeks: Jungle cock eyes
Tyers notes: This fly is tied with the wings on top of the hook shank. The tyer should be mindful of the transition area where the wings get mounted. If your body area is not smooth then it will kick your wings up at an undesirable angle. This fly can be tied in many sizes. I like the Partridge Heritage hooks because of the steel they are made with resulting in a very strong hook. If you are looking for the Ewing Scott Biron Signature Series they are available at the North Country Angler in NH call Steve at 603-356-6000 or at the Rangeley Region Sports Shop in Maine call Sue or Brett at 207-864-5615
The Belknap Streamer
I grew up in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. The town of Acton was known for its part in the Revolutionary War. One of its long-time residents was fly tyer Ray Salminen. He lived 2 streets over from my home and I attended school with his daughter.
Ray was known for his fly tying and friendships with many sportsmen and women, the likes included Joseph Bates, Megan Boyd and Leon Leonwood. Known for his Red Ghost streamer pattern he also had a few other which he developed and fished.
I stumbled across one called the Belknap which was named after the Belknap region of New Hampshire. Ray developed this after catching a small minnow while exploring streams in northern NH.
The pattern is documented in the first addition of Bates book “Streamers, Fly Tying and Fishing. I was sent a copy of a letter Ray wrote a friend in 2005 that updated the pattern and described in great detail the flies history and how it became his favorite pattern for NH.
The photo below is the Bates recipe with the 2005 updates.
Hook: Sprite S1800 #6
Body: 6 layers of flat gold tinsel
Wing: 2 layers of Artic fox, the first long and the second half as long
Topping: 2 strips of mallard
Eye: Jungle cock eye
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
Mollidgewock Brook Streamer
Mollidgewock Brook Streamer
Created and tied by Scott Biron
This streamer pattern is on a Partridge Heritage Streamer Hook using some specially dyed Ewing burnt orange streamer feathers. Named after a feeder brook to the Androscoggin River in the 13 Mile Woods area of Errol, NH. The Androscoggin River is a historic river that holds Brook, Rainbow, Brown Trout and Landlock Salmon. If one is lucky they can get one of each in one day resulting in an “Andro Home Run”.
Partridge CS17-9X #4 Heritage Streamer Hook can be tied in smaller sizes also
Tag: Copper flat tinsel
Butt: Three turns of ostrich herl
Body: Copper flat tinsel
Rib: Copper ultra-wire small (leading edge) Black ultra-wire small (trailing edge)
Belly: Sparse white bucktail beyond the bend of the hook, under the bucktail an orange dyed GPC almost to the hook point
Wing: Sparse black bucktail, over which are 4 burnt orange Ewing streamer feathers
Throat: Black hen followed by white hen
Shoulder: Lemon wood duck
Eye: Jungle cock nail
Topping: 2 Peacock herls curving over the wing
I was asked to make a 24 streamer fly display for a friend of mine Danny Hashem, who wanted to give it as a gift. Great project and it came out very well. All of the patterns were New England based and several are some lesser know ones.
On top of that I came across some Canadian postage stamps of historic fly patterns. One of the stamps was the Cosseboom. The Cosseboom is a very historic salmon fly pattern that is widely known as one of the more productive patterns. The fly was developed by John Cosseboom back around 1923. I happen to have a good friend who is a descendent of John Cosseboom and an avid fly angler and tyer. I figured who better to get one of the first day issued Cosseboom stamps with a fly I tied to go with it. After I tied the fly and posted a photo I was contacted by another fly tyer who said he had some of John Cosseboom's original floss that he used on the fly and send me some. I re-tied the fly, re-mounted it and gave a bit of history to my friend Chuck Cosseboom.
This I have mentioned many times but I grew up fly fishing on the Androscoggin River in the town of Errol, NH. My grandfather had one of the first camps that he build at the base of Bragg's Bay. Its kind of cool but he was very friendly with the legendary game warden Harry Hurlbert and purchased the land for the camp from Harry. I remember a few times seeing Harry visit the camp and my grandfather. For me the river always was and still is a special place. My dad his brother and many other relatives all fished the river and learned of its unique history. When I came upon the Canadian fly stamps I also found one for the Androscoggin River and its first day issue. I turned that into a gift for my friend Rick Estes, who like myself has a lot of history with the big river. The challenge with this was to find some streamer patterns that were old and had some history to the river and or northern NH. Several years ago I uncovered a few which I tied and then I developed one of my own the 13 Mile Special. The plate now occupies a space in Rick's new fly tying room.
Partridge of Redditch
I have several new blog posts up on the main Partridge website. Allan Liddle, Fred Klein, Umberto Oreglini and myself all have some excellent tying posts. Worth a quick visit and you just may learn a new technique or find a fly that will work for you. Follow this link directly to the Partridge Blog page www.partridge-of-redditch.co.uk/blog
Scott Biron is a fly tyer from New Hampshire.