This week’s Throw Back Thursday fly is the Western Coachman. It can be fished wet or dry.

Western Coachman |

I got the idea for this fly after reading my most recent copy of Northwest Fly Fishing. There was a very nice article called Masters at the Bench by David Johnson, featuring Buz Buszek. Looking through the list of flies credited to Buszek, there were names like Float-N-Fool, Old Gray Mare, Strawberry Roan, Kings River Caddis, and the Western Coachman.

From what I’ve read, the Western Coachman fly was developed by Buz Buszek around 1939 or 1940. In fact, his flies were so popular he started his own fly shop in 1947. I don’t know much about Buz, be he must have been a great tyer.  The International Federation of Fly Fishers named its annual fly tyer award in his name. It’s a coveted award and there have been some great fly tyers who were fortunate enough to win it.

Buz had a fly shop in Visalia, California and developed the fly on the nearby Kings River in the Sierra Nevada’s. 

I’m sure I fished this fly early in my fly fishing days, but to be honest, I’ve forgotten about it until reading the article. In fact, I seldom swing wet flies anymore. I’m fortunate to live close enough to the river I time my fishing around expected hatches and watch for rising fish. Perhaps I should go retro once in a while just to experience the old days.

Have you ever fished the Western Coachman?

(If you’d like to see more Throw Back Thursday Flies, just click on the name Throw Back Thursday Flies CATEGORY in the sidebar to the right.)

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  1. I have been fishing this fly in Colorado rivers for the past 7 years. I didn’t know the name of the fly. I tie it in a parachute configuration rather than standard dry fly hackle. Try the parachute style during a caddis hatch.

  2. Hi John,
    Do you have the recipe for the Western Coachman posted somewhere? Would love to add it to my box. I live on the North Umpqua and would love to swing one. Thanks so much for a great site and all the great patterns, and the stories and history behind the flies and their creators.
    Tight lines, Steve

    1. Steve

      I don’t usually provide the recipe for Throw Back Thursday Flies because I don’t fish many of them. But here it is:

      Hook: Dai Riki 060 #12 – 16
      Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet
      Rib: Small gold wire
      Body: Peacock herl
      Hackle: Brown
      Wing: White deer hair

      Good luck!


  3. Hi John,
    This fly caught my biggest from-the-river rainbow every. I caught it out of the Clark’s Fork River in north Idaho in the late 80s. It was a bit over 26 inches. At the time I didn’t realize the name of the fly was the Western Coachman; it was just a pattern I tied and fished not knowing it had a name. I called it the “Trude” for many years until I learned it’s proper name. Over the years it and its cousins (the Royal Trude and Lime Trude) have caught a bunch of fish for Gretchen and me. Take care & …
    Tight Lines – (Gretchen &) Al Beatty

    1. Al

      Your comment is one of the reasons for continuing the Throw Back Thursday Flies Category. What a great story! I love hearing those…and such a big fish…WOW!

      Thanks for commenting…


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