The ‘Royal Coachman’

Print Article

After recently returning from a fly-fishing float trip on the Flathead Middle Fork, a friend challenged me, “I’d bet you’d never guess what I caught my biggest cuttie on.”

“No clue,” I answered.

“Got him on a Royal Coachman!”

I wasn’t surprised.

With increased river fishing traffic looking like I-5 north of Seattle, trout have been looking up to a constant parade of Donkey Kongs, Fat Alberts, Pink Pookies, and Chenobyl Ants, not to mention Cat Vomits, Dog Pukes, and Things from Uranus.

The iconic Royal Coachman, with a peacock body bisected by a band of floss, has outwitted trout in this country since 1878, when it was designed by John Haily.

“Among the general public it may be the world’s best known fly,” Paul Schullery wrote in “The Lore and Legends of Fly Fishing.”

Variations have been tied with different colors and materials, and in different styles, by just about every fly tier.

I remain a believer in red banding, especially for cutthroat trout.

One way to increase its effectiveness is to slowly skate the dry fly version, keeping a drag-free float.

In other words, cast up and across, then mend upstream, twitching the fly towards you, keeping your fly line straight.

Don’t let the fly line race downstream below the fly, where the line drags the fly down and across the water unnaturally.

Good luck!

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Four days in the ‘Bob’

July 11, 2018 at 7:03 am | Hungry Horse News Back 90 years ago, a young Forest Service employee named Bob Marshall started out from the Black Bear Ranger Station in the South Fork of the Flathead, went up Helen Creek to Pagoda Pass, down to Bru...


Read More

Smalley on the North Fork

July 11, 2018 at 7:00 am | Hungry Horse News It’s been awhile since I’ve used a photo of me and a nice fish in this space. Oh, c’mon now, be nice! While I heard pre-runoff river fishing was pretty good, extended periods of high water on river...


Read More

FWP asks folks not to build dams across creeks

July 04, 2018 at 7:56 am | Hungry Horse News As summertime temperatures heat up and the chance to cool down in the water arrives, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is reminding people that building dams in creeks and streams can have negative co...


Read More

Ideas sought for how to best fund AIS inspections moving forward

July 04, 2018 at 7:55 am | Hungry Horse News Potential funding options for Montana’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program were presented at a recent meeting of the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3) at the Flathead Lake Biological Station...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy