The Rough Grouse


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The Rough Grouse

A pattern from the River Spey. Kelson calls out in The Salmon Fly (1895), the dressing. He notes, as with many spey flies, the variability of the pattern.

Rough Grouse - Kelson.jpg

The key note in the above is the reference to "Cruickshank's Variety".

John Shewey in his Spey Flies & Dee Flies includes some history about Mr. John Cruickshanks, "Cruiky", the originator of the fly. John enjoyed a 50 year tenure as ghillie at Carron House under William Grant, Speyside during the middle part of the 19th century. A well regarded salmon angler and fly dresser in his is nice to see him receive credit for his contributions.

Vintage examples shown in both the Farlow and Hardy books do differ slightly. This noted variability in fly tying 100 years ago makes me feel a little bit better when I have to make a minor substitution for a material.

rough grouse - mm.jpg

Hook - Blue Heron #2
Tag - Large silver oval tinsel
Tail - Yellow slip from scarlet macaw wing
Body - Black angora dub
Rib - Large silver flat tinsel and medium silver oval tinsel
Hackle - BEP
Throat - Gadwall flank
Wing - White tipped turkey
Head - Black thread and Loon UV cure

As always...thanks for looking.



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Boston, Mass.
Masterful, as usual! I like the pun on "ruffed grouse" -- especially considering that there are no actual grouse feathers in the pattern, which raises the question whether the pun is accidental or intentional. (I wonder whether the North American ruffed grouse was even known in Scottish fly tying circles back then, and if it was, whether the feathers were available.)