Fly Tyer: Smolt (Charles)
Name: The Green Widow
I do not know the history of the Green Widow, but I do have a story as to how I became familiar with the pattern.
During the last week in July of 1988, I was one of a group of eight fishermen from various parts of Maine who met to fish the Main SW Miramichi River in New Brunswick. We were fortunate enough to be fishing the “Big Hole Pool” for three days. If not the best, Big Hole is one of the two best pools on that entire river system, so we were expecting good things.
When we woke up to fish on the first morning, the sky was crystal clear, the weather was pleasantly cool, and the water was at a perfect level and temperature. Unfortunately, the fishing was slow. Two and one-half hours passed and none of us had a hook-up.
One of the fellows in the group and the most experienced Atlantic Salmon fisherman among us – Fred Evans should like this – was a banker named “Fred” from Millinocket. Looking for some way to break the drought, he dug around in a fly box he seldom carried with him and took out a really old fly, the name of which he could not remember, tied it on, and proceeded to catch three salmon before lunch, i.e., in the next hour and a half.
He was the only person who caught fish that morning. Big Hole is such a large pool all eight of us could fish at one time without any trouble. Consequently, we all knew how everyone else was doing, especially Fred.
It is not an overstatement to say that when we got back to camp to have lunch and a rest before the evening fishing, everyone wanted to know what fly Fred had used to catch his fish. He showed us and was quick to point out that he had only one, the one HE was using.
After inspecting the fly, and notwithstanding the fact that we didn’t even know the name of the fly, two members of the group jumped into a car and, not even waiting until after lunch, drove to the W.W. Doak fly shop in Doaktown to buy some. No luck. The people at Doak’s didn’t have and had never heard of any flies that met the mystery fly’s description – flat silver tinsel body with an oval silver tinsel rib, black hair wing, a green hackle collar, and a black head.
Now, whenever I go salmon fishing I try to drive so that I can bring with me a supply of fly pattern books and as much fly tying material and equipment as I feel will not be too embarrassing. I had driven on that trip and had a full supply of books and material with me. After a review of the patterns in Hair-Wing Atlantic Salmon Flies by Fulsher & Krom, I was able to identify the fly as the “Green Widow”.
After lunch I tied as many as I could and divided them up among the group. That evening, the Green Widow accounted for five out of the eight fish caught. In the three days we fished, the Green Widow accounted for nineteen of the thirty-nine fish brought to net by the group. It was a very, very good three days.
The punch line to all of this is that, when I returned to fish the Miramichi the next summer, I went into Doak’s to nose around. You guessed it. The fly case was full of Green Widows tied in various sizes on both double and single hooks with a sign up touting it as the newest and hottest fly on the river.
I have never repeated the success we had with the Green Widow in 1988, but the fly is one I always take with me whenever I fish any salmon river. You never know when it will work its magic again.
HOOK: Any single of double UE or DE salmon fly hook ( I have used Partridge M size 4 singles or Partridge P size 4 doubles)
Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0
BODY: Flat silver tinsel with an oval silver tinsel rib
WING: Black hair (bear, squirrel, fox, etc.)
THROAT: Green hackle tied as collar
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