This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Fire Coachman Trude Dry Fly.
I was searching for a fly to feature and pulled out John Shewey’s Favorite Flies for Oregon (2021) book. I turned to the Fire Coachman Trude dry fly and decided to tie one. (Note: My own RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple can be found in the book along with several fly images.)
This is another variation of the classic Royal Coachman dry fly
Shewey found the fly listed in Terry Hellekson’s books Popular Fly Patterns (1976) and Fish Flies Volume 1 (1995) and noted it was developed in southern Oregon.
While Hellekson didn’t develop the fly, it was a fly included in these books. I think Shewey highlighted this fly as a way to honor Terry Hellekson and his contribution to the larger good about our fly fishing and fly tying heritage. It strikes close to home for me because it’s a major reason you continue to see Throw Back Thursday Fly posts here on RiverKeeper Flies.
Who is Terry Hellekson you ask?
He grew up in Happy Camp, CA where his father had a fly fishing guide service on the Klamath and Trinity rivers in the 1940s and ’50s.
Terry opened his first fly shop in Utah and then moved to California in the 1980s, starting Fly Fishing Specialties, a large fly tying materials wholesale and retail business which was quite successful.
He retired to Montana in the late 1990s, where he wrote an 832 page book entitled Fish Flies: The Encyclopedia of the Fly Tier’s Art (2005). It lists more than 2,950 detailed fly patterns of all types.
The following is from Amazon and states this is “inside the flap” of the book:
“Hellekson shares interviews with fly-tying greats of years past, along with the fascinating history and background of some of the popular individual flies, making this a great read. His colorful recollections of people and events will intrigue and delight even the most serious fly tier. He also shares years of wisdom and knowledge on fly-tying colors; fly patterns; fly-tying tools, hooks, and materials; and fly-fishing and fly-tying methods. Hellekson’ depicts hundreds of intricate patterns for dry flies, wet flies, and nymphs. Mayfly, stonefly, and caddisfly species are widely represented with simulations of the phases of their respective life cycles. Detailed patterns for terrestrials, damselflies and dragonflies, leeches and worms, midges, crustaceans, streamers, shad flies, steelhead flies, Atlantic salmon flies, Spey flies, Pacific salmon flies, and salmon and steelhead dry flies round out the book. This encyclopedia is organized into two distinct parts: the first section describes the origins of fly-fishing; the concepts of vision and perception of color; and the tools and materials from which artificial flies are created. It addresses dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, stoneflies, mayflies, and caddisflies. The second section of the book thoroughly attends to the simulation of other insect orders, such as terrestrials and crustaceans, and then delves into the specifics of streamers, shad flies, steelhead flies, and more.”
Reminds me a lot of one from a Jack Dennis book, called the Wright’s Royal. It has a Trude style wing and the “Royal” color them. I like the appearance of this one!