When Fish and Game’s Executive Director and Chief of Law Enforcement were at North Country Angler, a discussion broke out about the Director’s concern and the Supervisor’s flies. To be honest, it’s been a while since I even thought of these two very effective models for trout and salmon.
I decided to go to the library and get used to these models again. The Warden‘s Worry was one of my first bucktail streamers that I fished and tied up. Dick Surette introduced me to this fly.
“Use a sinking line and drag the fly to the bottom of Ledge Pond,” he said. “You’ll be fine there.”
Looking back to Surette’s book, “Trout and Salmon Fly Index”, The Warden’s Worry was developed by Warden Supervisor Joseph Stickney in 1930. Stickney came up with the color scheme to imitate the large nymphs that crawl along the bottom of ponds from the north of the country. It was a favorite of Surette when fishing for trout and salmon once the waters warmed up and the fish moved into the shallower waters.
The book makes no mention of the Overseer’s fly.
Back to the streamer fly bible library. “Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing” by Colonel Joe Bates is the undisputed source for all things old school streamers. Colonel Bates actually fished with many of the creators of the flies in his book. Joe Stickney was one such fisherman.
The Overseer was the first streamer fly created by Stickney. He was trying to imitate smelt, a favorite forage fish of brook trout. The director did not tie his own flies. Living in Saco, Maine, he would drive to Portland, Maine and sit with one of Percy’s Flies fly tyers. There he would create and make changes. In 1924, the Overseer was born.
The original supervisor had no herl peacock trim. Stickney added it later and the fly’s efficiency increased exponentially. He liked to dress the fly lightly to give him a tight silhouette, but he was obsessed with having “shoulders” that would displace water.
The supervisor remains a must for all anglers who criss-cross our largest lakes during the “ice outing”.
Stickney has developed a third fly that seems to have disappeared from the angler’s consciousness. The Lady Doctor Bucktail was a fly created by Stickney in honor of his wife. She was a doctor in the town of Saco.
That must have been what led to a complicated and beautiful fly. The Lady Doctor Bucktail, surprisingly, had no bucktail. The wing was white polar bear hair covered with black bear hair. Excellent choices because these hairs are translucent and swim very well in moving water.
The tail is composed of two yellow camail tips. The label is in gold wreath. The red thread end to end. The body exudes elegance. Yellow yarn ribbed with gold oval tinsel and the tinsel then ribbed with a yellow hackle. Once at the head of the fly, the rest of the camail is rolled up and then attached like a throat.
After the bear hair is attached, the wing is topped with two jungle rooster feathers attached side by side half the length of the wing. A red breast feather shoulder, I use golden pheasant, is the last step. The fly is beautiful as I’m sure Doctor Stickney was.
Tie up some of those forgotten flies. They’re fun to tie and are sure to put a smile on your face when you catch a trout on this beauty in the spring.
Polar bear hair is no longer available to fly tyers. We use Hareline’s Ice Fur as an acceptable substitute.
Conway-area native Steve Angers is the author of “Fly Fishing New Hampshire’s Secret Waters” and operates the North Country Angler.