The latest version of Trout Magazine (national) contained an article by Dave Whitlock, titled – The Traditional Wet Fly. It is perhaps the most informative story about the history of ” winged wet flies” I’ve read in years and includes drawn plates of some of the more common patterns that are still consistent producers of trout and salmon.
Whitlock correctly dissects the pattern into parts, making the point that proportion, color and size are important not only to the appearance of the fly, but consequently to the fish they are supposed to produce. Most of the patterns are simulations of actual hatches, but some, like the McGinty, are used as attractors.
Winged wet flies have been around for years, dating back to the origin of the sport. They are still popular in Europe but are hard to find in fly shops in the U.S. Some of the older books on fly tying and fly patterns still show these patterns, but not many tiers tie them. Pity.
One of the most comprehensive collection of “winged wet fly” patterns is in Herter’s “Professional Fly Tying, Spinning and Tackle Making Manual and Manufacturers’ Guide.” A vintage book that is still available and is a window into the history of tying and making tackle with material available before the synthetics came on the scene.
Dave Whitlock, of course, is one of the “Deans” of the fly fishing world. His contributions are legendary and still in use today. It’s a good read. Check it out.