This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Grizzly King…at least that’s what I think it is.

Grizzly King and Leader |

Check out how the leader is attached to the hook…without an eye.

This fly is from one of the Vintage Fly Wallets I own. (Be sure to check out my posts Antique Fly Wallets and Antique Fly Wallets Revisited). I always enjoy digging out these fly wallets and marvel over the old-time flies.

I researched and located the fly by using the color fly plates in Favorite Flies and Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury, published in 1892. I think the Grizzly King qualifies as an older fly!

Mary Orvis Marbury was the daughter of Charles Orvis and born the same year he founded The Orvis Company (1856). Marbury is perhaps the second most recognized female fishing author behind Dame Juliana Berners, who is supposedly the author of Treatyse of fysshynge wyth an Angle in 1492.

The Orvis Company was attempting to become a reliable source of American flies tied to consistent standards. Before the book, most commercially tied fly patterns were from Great Britain and matched insects there. 

Charles Orvis wrote to fishermen around America to obtain their favorite flies, how they were made, and how the flies were fished. It took a couple of years to receive information back and Mary compiled the results. The book has information from over 200 tyers from 38 states providing information on 300 flies. Quite an undertaking for 1890!

The Grizzly King is referenced by many fishermen, using the fly in both rivers and lakes.

Have you ever fished this fly?

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  1. John
    I looked up the Grizzly King in J. Leonard book Dictionary of 2200 Patterns written in 1950 – it lists it has a salmon hair fly for the the northeast Atlantic salmon. It doesn’t discuss the originator.

    1. Jim

      Thanks for your comment. It’s always interesting to me how fly names come about. And it’s clear reading the Mary Orvis Marbury book Favorite Flies and Their Histories the Grizzly King was a trout fly used in the late 1800’s.


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