This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Grouse Hackle, a fly from the mid-1800’s.

Grouse Hackle |

I’m always searching for the next Throw Back Thursday Fly, using a variety of sources for inspiration. I’ve used Mike Valla’s The Founding Flies (2013).

The first chapter is about Thaddeus Norris (1811-1878) and the Grouse Hackle fly is mentioned.

There’s a reference to Norris’ book The American Angler’s Book and this link takes you to a free download. It’s among many other free downloads where you can read about our fly fishing and fly tying history.

“The Grouse Hackle has a body of orange floss, or peacock hurl ; I prefer the latter. A suitable feather for this fly can be had from the wing-coverts and rump of our common prairie fowl ; a cock partridge’s feather is still better ; a snipe’s or woodcock’s will do. This is a good fly on clear water, as well as on a full stream ; if for the latter, it is better to have the body tipped with gold tinsel. It is better used as a drop fly ; the hook should never be larger than No. 6 on full water, and 8 or 10 when it is fine.”

The American Angler’s Book by Thaddeus Norris (1864), page 317

If you enjoy the downloadable version of this book, you might also enjoy the other books available on my Links to Free Old Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Books page.

Grouse Fly


Tiemco 3906b, #10


Danville 70 denier, black


Peacock herl


English grouse covert feather

Enjoy…go fish!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Similar Posts


  1. If you are looking for throw back patterns, I’d like to see a brindle bug and silver Helton (not sure of the spelling, but pretty sure you know both). Love this blog, especially in winter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.