Don's Fly Tying - The Blue Doctor

[the Blue Doctor]

COVID 19 is certainly disrupting my daily life routine. No longer am I going to all the fun practices and registered trap shoots and I have excused myself from attending our usual family gatherings. However, this extra time now on my hands has led to much more reading than normal. I recently found a book given to me many years ago entitled, "Muriel Foster's Fishing Diary". Now you may ask, "Who the heck is Muriel Foster"? Well Muriel was born in 1884 in Surrey, England in a family of four girls and two boys. As an adult, Muriel was a keen naturalist and a very talented artist, primarily of outdoor scenes showing fish, birds and animals including her two pet dogs. We do not know how Muriel became interested in fishing but starting in 1913, she made her first entry in a fishing diary that contained not only catch details but many exquisite illustrations! The drawings included fish, fishing lures and all the various scenes of her outings. Now what really captured my interest in this book was Muriel's drawings of fishing flies that she used in her more than thirty years of diary entries over that early 1900s period. I have chosen one of her flies for this month's article, the Blue Doctor. Now the Silver Doctor was first invented around 1885 as a salmon fly, very bright in tying details with silver as the main body colour. I was not aware of a similar fly, the blue doctor, but there it was, illustrated in Muriel's diary and I think worthy of a look in this modern age!

The image below is the Dundonnell River in Northern Scotland where Muriel made numerous entries to her fishing diary.

[Dundonnell River in Northern Scotland]



Start with a tail of golden pheasant crest, using the natural upward tilt of the feather. Next wrap a fairly thin butt of bright red floss at the hook bend. After this, attach a piece of oval tinsel to the hook shank and let it dangle past the end for a later rib. The fly body is next, blue floss or blue tinsel can be used to wrap a body from the butt to near the hook eye. Follow this with an oval tinsel rib, again tied off near the hook eye. I prefer to make the beard hackle next, first using blue hen or died pheasant feather, then guinea fowl over the blue. The wing is now a two step procedure, first use brown mallard, then overlay it with regular gray mallard flank feather. Finish the fly with a head of red floss or if you are using red thread, use it to build a head. Tie off, cement and you have made a pattern that was successfully used more than a century ago!

My book of true sport fishing adventures in British Columbia, "Willow Sticks, Earth Worms", is now available at Trafford Publishing or if you prefer a friendly voice, call their order desk at 1-888-232-4444 toll free in the USA or Canada. In Europe, ring the UK local order number at 0845 230 9601 (UK) or 44(0) 1270 251 396.

Do you want to see the previous fly tying articles?
Monthly Fly Tying Articles from November 1996

Your comments are welcome at " dhaaheim at telus dot net"

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