This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is George Harvey’s Spruce Creek Dry Fly.

Harvey’s Spruce Creek Dry Fly |

George Harvey (1911-2008) was born in DuBois, PA and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture from Penn State University in 1935. As an undergraduate student in 1934, he organized and taught Penn State’s angling and fly tying class, the first class of its type in the United States.

Several years later in 1947, he taught Penn State’s first accredited university level angling and fly fishing course and continued for over 40 years. In one publication, I read where he taught over 24,000 students at PSU. Another reference listed over 35,000. Either number is remarkable and one of the reasons he was known as the Dean of Fly Fishing.

In August 2000, George wrote an article for Fly Fisherman, titled George Harvey: New Leader Formula. In the article, he writes:

“I taught the first (noncredit) fly-fishing and fly-tying course in the United States in 1934 and the first credited course in the U.S. in 1947 at Penn State University. I taught courses on the campus every year until I retired in 1972; while I worked at the university I also taught 72 classes in 68 different cities in Pennsylvania. Each class met for 5 evenings.”

Other flies he created include Harvey’s Favorite, Harvey’s Stonefly Nymph, and the Harvey Pusher Night Wet Fly.

As a side note, Joe Humphreys, a well-known fly fisher in his own right, succeeded George as PSU’s fly fishing instructor.

George Harvey is another Fly Fishers International Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award recipient (1978).

You can find his book with this Amazon link: George Harvey: Memories, Patterns, and Tactics (1998). I’ll have to find a copy of this myself.

The body of the fly is tied with a black quill from a peacock sword. I used a Charlie Collins Smokey Dun Cape to hackle the fly.

Collins Smokey Dun Cape |

The link below to Mike Valla’s book The Founding Flies is where I found today’s fly. Valla dedicated chapter 28 to George Harvey.

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. Greetings,

    Thank you for all of the work/time and effort that you put into your Blog. I really appreciate the learning. I am having a most difficult time locating any information of how to tie and the recipe for tow flies that are used in sheridan Lake in the Cariboo region of BC.

    They are the Horse Hair Fly and the Slim Pickens. If you could or would be able to help with these two patterns, anything would be a will be very much appreciated.

    Thanking you in advance for your time and kind consideration.


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