This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Chauncy Lively’s March Brown Dun.

Lively's March Brown Dun |
Tied on Mustad 94849, size 12 hook

I’m continuing this month’s theme to feature March Brown Mayfly imitations.

I found this fly in The Founding Flies by Mike Valla in chapter 30. It’s a favorite book in my library and I’d encourage you to purchase your own copy if you enjoy our fly tying history.

I really encourage you to read the whole story, but here is a brief summary.

Chauncy Lively (1919 – 2000) was born in Charleroi, PA and spent most of his life in the state.

Lively was known for his book, Chauncy Lively’s Flybox: A Portfolio of Modern Trout Flies (1980). He was a prolific writer, photographer, and fly tyer, writing numerous articles for the Pennsylvania Angler magazine from the 1950s – 1970s. If you are from the East coast, you might already know about him.

His wife, Marion, introduced fly fishing to him. She thought it might be a good hobby for Chauncy after he was discharged from the army as a master sergeant.

Valla writes in his book the Lively’s didn’t let the fact they didn’t own a car prevent them from enjoying their early days of fly fishing. They’d take a bus to streams close to where they lived in Pennsylvania.

He learned of Vincent Marinaro and his book, A Modern Dry-Fly Code and threw himself into the theory of thorax style flies. Marinaro’s book was first published in 1950 and there have been subsequent editions since.

What I think sets Lively’s flies apart is the use of clipped wings. After I tied Lively’s March Brown Dun pictured above, I found out more about the wings. I read he used clippers to cut the wings. I used pheasant back feathers for the upright wings on the fly and trimmed the wings to shape with my scissors.

In addition, I also read about the method Lively used to dub and hackle the fly. He began both dubbing and hackle at the front, repositioned the thread to the tail and completed the fly at that point.

I think I need to pick up a copy of Chauncy Lively’s Flybox myself! I’m inspired by his flies and need to learn more about how he tied them.

Enjoy…go fish!

(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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  1. It’s a good book John! I have a signed copy for sale with three cut wing flies tied by Chauncey.
    Rod Bonacker

  2. Hi John,
    Liked your blog post on Chauncy Lively – his March Brown looks the business I will give it a go. I have the MIke Valla book and agree it is well worth anyone buying it. On the subject of books I would heartily recommend “Grayling Flies” by Steve Skuce. All the flies in his book will catch trout. In his book he has a section on a fly I recommended to you “Grey Duster”. He prefers to tie it with a tail which is not as the original was tied. Without tails it fishes as an emerger and can be deadly.



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