I love old-school flies. I think it comes from my involvement, many years ago, with the Trout Unlimited chapter in Salida, Colo., when I was the news editor of the local paper there. After penetrating the initial crustiness of the “old timers” at the chapter meetings, I made some great friends there, and these guys loved to tie old, traditional western flies for the local river (the Arkansas) and the myriad streams that flowed off the slopes of the Collegiates, the Sawatch range and the Sangre de Cristos.
They tied traditional dry flies, like the Royal Coachman and the Royal Wulff, emergers and wet flies like the Rio Grande King. And they tied the Western Coachman, that Tim Flagler from Tightline Productions demonstrates above.
This is a surprisingly effective and versatile fly that can be fished dry, wet and just under the surface film on the swing. It’s a full-on attractor pattern, so you’re not matching any hatches with it. Nevertheless, in sizes 14 and 16, it’s a brook trout and cutthroat trout killer in high-country streams.
It’s also a fairly simple tie. See for yourself.