Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Fly For The Ware

The two best times to fish is when it's raining and when it ain't"Patrick F. McManus

Photo by Joel Bradshaw

The Ware, much like the Millers, has always had that retro feel to it. Both rivers have legacies going back to the first half of the 20th century where they were destinations for urban anglers and both rivers have well deserved reputations for large trout. Both watersheds are along the "road less traveled" so to speak. Urban sprawl certainly hasn't found a foothold along these watersheds and the small communities have economic problems. But their rivers fish well and I like the idea of casting a fly that someone 60 years ago would of recognized and fished. Something like a classic wet fly? Something like the noble Light Cahill!

Wet Flies that came out of the Catskill region were different than the gaudy brook trout flies of New England because of the brown trout and the Catskill tiers knowledge that it's better to play the imitation game than the attractor game if brown trout are your game. Somewhat drab flies that looked like insects were their creations.

Dan Cahill of Port Jervis New York, a brakeman on the Erie Railroad, gets the main credit for the Cahill design although he shares that credit with Theodore Gordon and Rube Cross. The fly has been around for over 100 years. It works!

hook - size 12 - 14

tail - ginger hackles barbs

body - tan natural dubbing

hackle - light ginger or dun colored hackle

wing - mallard

The fly in the photo has a wing of brown partridge hackle barbs (a bit too dark but ok). Thought that the partridge would move in the water better than mallard.

This fly, like most "good" wet flies presents a profile that is easily seen but is not to gaudy. Swing it like a soft hackle or cast it upstream and have it sink and come back to you. It works.

I mentioned above that three tiers have claim to this fly given the fact that all three had different versions of it. None of them called theirs a "variant", a total misuse of a fly pattern/style by the great Art Flick.

I can't wait to get this fly on the Ware or the Millers around mid May.

Only two months away!!



Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

I want to let you know that I appreciate your website. I've been fishing the Swift for six or so years - I always take a look at what you have to say before heading out. I haven't yet fished the Millers or EB. This spring and summer I will.

Also. Last season from June to October I caught at least one rainbow on every trip to the Swift with a size 16 Klinkhammer. At first it was an experiment to see if I could do it, then it turned into a must have on certain days when nothing was rising.

All the best,


Hibernation said...


Sometimes on the swift, "odd" things work. I've caught fish on weird dry's there - including a few (bow's and brooks) on an ausable bomber as odd as that seems for that stream. I've not tried a klink, but a #16 purple haze parachute has worked well. You have my curiosity peaked and Ill try a klink this year. Were you using the "standard" color, or different shades?

Cool to see you discussing the Ware. It's a great river to fish, and does seem to be overlooked as folks "fly over" the river on their way to the swift, Millers or Deerfield (and other western waters like the EB). The ware fishes well start to finish!

Be well

lenny tamule said...

You might get the chance sooner than you think if next weeks weather is any indication to when spring will arrive


Mike C said...

Love the comment about the term "Variant". I wonder if it will get a response :)


Millers River Flyfisher said...

Thank you guys!!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
I am curious about your paragraph about the term variant and the misuse of a fly pattern by Art Flick. I don't know what it refers to. Are the cahills you mention a misuse of this pattern? Or are you referring to something else?
Thanks for the blog.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Thank you for your question.

Art Flick is generally (mostly) credited with the term "variant" because of his series of "variant" dry flies created in the late 1930's although Preston Jennings created an American March Brown Variant a few years before BUT Flick had a series of these flies and the variant name is glued to him. The Flick Variant was a departure from the dubbed body, winged dry because it had a "hard" quill body, no wing and oversized hackles. They were a major departure from the standard flies. His Red Quill was an imitation of the standard Steenrood hendrickson dressing of two decades before. He was modest to call it a "variant". It was a true departure.

Now today we have Variants but what are they a variant too?? Changing a color or a material doesn't cut it. It's still the same fly mostly. Google "hendrickson dry fly" and you will see hundreds of photos by accomplished ties with hundreds of hendrickson flies. They are all mostly different. What is a standard hendrickson? If we don't know than what is a variant of a hendrickson? What is the base line?

Three tiers, as I said in my post, can lay claim to the Cahill. All three creations represent the same insect although different materials are used. Are they Variants? No, they are Cahills!

I think some of todays tiers, in an attempt to claim some internet fame, are recreating the wheel!!


Anonymous said...


I know what your saying and on you tube or the many blogs out there those tiers usually get spanked in the comment section. Slight variations to a pattern in my mind like yours don't make it, but tiers that put variant at the end of a patterns name do not bother me if their intent is to spread the word that the variation they have made on an old pattern catches fish, like a tungsten bead(god forgive) or a hotspot. I think all of us that ty are or should be looking for a variation to a pattern that will attract a trout to eat it. Take a hares ear great pattern, go to for many but ty it on a jig hook, leave the wing case off, use cdc for legs, hotspot, and add variant to the name, if the fly works I think its a good thing.

Thanks Gary