Same source as previous one. (I bought this volume of Grays Sporting Journal in 1987 just for this story by Lee Wulff. I am very glad made that decision)
Joan and I were giving a trout fishing school for Garcia and the Sportsmen Club on the Elk River neat Steamboat Springs in the summer of 1969. In the evenings after fishing I'd tie flies along with the other members of the group. As we were about to finish and clean up one the night, the discussion, turned to the question of the need for the fancy feathers that cost so much. I allowed that most of those feathers were for beauty as we saw it, for our own enjoyment, more than for effectiveness with the fish. I went further and said that the stuff fly tyers throw away could make as effective a fly as any one needed.
Reaching down into the waste materials scattered on the floor I picked up some hackle of soft, feathery butts of the hackles that every one throws away saying. " Here's some poor mans marabou". Then I found enough gray wool to make a body and a tiny bit of bright yellow yarn. From these I fashioned a nymph with a gray body, a yellow tail and four legs of the soft fluffy gray fibers off the hackle stems. It looked like a crawly thing to me and though the trout didn't have it on their list of known bugs, when it hit the river they felt a real urge to see what it tasted like. Charlie Meyers, outdoor writer for the Denver Post sang out I have a name for it! The Wretched Mess. I make it weighted and unweighted, a simple fly of simple materials.
Don't throw away those butt fibers on your hackle feathers, they have many uses for nymphs and wet flies. I have an excess material bag of this stuff which has many uses.
Well time to tie some more natural simple looking nymphs !
I will work on some more Lee Wulff trivia also.