This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Gartside Sparrow Fly.
This is a fly my friend purchased from a fly shop in Big Sky, MT in the 1970’s. He fished the fly on the Gallatin and Madison Rivers, MT.
The Sparrow Fly was created by Jack Gartside.
I have heard the name Gartside before, but really couldn’t recall what flies he was known for. Besides the Sparrow Fly, Gartside is known for the Gurgler, the Soft Hackle Streamer and the Gartside Pheasant Hopper.
Although Jack Gartside passed away in December 2009, you can still find information about his flies on his WEBSITE.
There are two pages on his website which talk about the fly. He said he created it 25 years ago. Doing a little math…he passed away in 2009…so I’m guessing it was the early 1980’s or before. There is a page to help tie the fly as well as how to fish it.
Here is what Jack wrote in his own words:
I tied the first Sparrow over twenty-five years ago while camping at Baker’s Hole on the Madison just outside West Yellowstone, Montana. Being a lazy fisherman, I hated changing flies any more than was absolutely necessary and wanted a fly that I could fish as a nymph or as a streamer or even as a passable hopper imitation (greased to float, sunken as a drowned grasshopper). So I was looking to come up with an impressionistic fly that would combine some of the common features of both insect and baitfish, a fly that could look (depending on how it was fished and its overall size) like lots of things in general and nothing in particular. I would let the fish make up its own mind as to what it was.Jack Gartside
He writes the name of the fly came from his friend, Pete Laszlo of New Hampshire. Evidently he noticed a pile of flies Jack had tied and stated “they looked like a flock of sparrows.”
Gartside was inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame in 2010. He wanted his work and website to continue after he passed. If you’d like more information on some of his flies, please visit his WEBSITE.