This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Red Quill, a classic Catskill fly pattern.

Red Quill |

Art Flick was instrumental in popularizing this fly. The Red Quill imitates the Ephemerella Subvaria and uses a large stripped hackle from the Rhode Island Red rooster. An earlier version from Rube Cross utilized slate wings instead of wood duck fibers.

This Red Quill was tied by Bob Kern at the International Federation of Fly Fishers Fair in Livingston, MT in August 2016. He drove all the way to Livingston from Blairsville, GA. He can be found occasionally at the Southern Highroads Outfitters demonstrating and teaching Catskill flies. He is member of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild.

Check out Bob’s other fly, the Pink Lady.

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. Nice fly John! That must get a little redundant – all of the flies I’ve seen you tie are nice! For you fisher folks out there planning to fish in the northeast in the spring, this is a “must have” fly. It imitates the MALE of the species generally known as the Hendrickson. The female is imitated by the fly of that name. Do the fish know the difference? Let me tell you a little story. It’s 1981 and I’m fishing the Beaverkill River in upstate NY, in Hendrickson’s Pool (pretty cool, huh?). There are 2 other guys fishing it in the upper end, I’m in the lower end. The surface of the water is alive with duns and fish are rising and eating everything in sight – EXCEPT my #14 Hendrickson! I hear the 2 guys above me saying “it’s a good thing we have these Red Quills” and they were catching a fish every cast! So, yeah, they know the difference, and apparently the 2 sexes sometimes hatch out at different times, which was probably the case when I was there. The Hendrickson fly that imitates the female has a dubbed body that is light tan in color – looks a lot different from the red quill. I learned my lesson and got some red quills after that, but never again hit the hatch in Hendrickson’s Pool like that day! Tight lines!

    1. Tim

      Thanks for the compliment, but as I mentioned in the Post, Bob Kern tied this fly at the IFFF Fair. Thanks for your story. Happy to hear this TBT fly brought back a good fly fishing memory.


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