Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Logie

Remember to click on the photos if you want to see the larger version.

Have you ever become fascinated by a single fly?  Unaccountably, I have.  I first encountered it while reading Jack Russell's Jill and I and the Salmon (Little, Brown and Co., 1950) several years ago.

In the chapter entitled "The Bright Spirits", Russell describes some of the more interesting sports that came to his camp on the Miramichi over the years.  One of those bright spirits was John E. Hutton, and here is the paragraph that started my interest in the Logie:

Illuminating book?  Must have!  Time to hit the used book sellers on the internet, and so we have it...Trout and Salmon Fishing by John E. Hutton (Little, Brown and Co., 1949).

Why, there's even a Logie on the cover!

This photo, on page 191 of the book, kind of sealed the deal between the Logie and I:

Here's Hutton's comment on low-water flies:  "For present-day use I rely on two flies only - the Logie and the Blue Charm.  If the fish will not take these one might as well give it up, although one tries other patterns in desperation."   He followed that comment up with the pattern he used for the Logie:

      Tip - Silver wire
      Tail -  G.P. Crest
      Body - Claret floss silk
      Ribs - Silver
      Hackle - Light Blue
      Wing - Under yellow hen wing, mallard, over
      Cheeks - Jungle Cock

I checked in with my go-to reference for flies, Jos. D. Bates, Jr. and Pamela Bates Richards Fishing Atlantic Salmon; the Flies and the Patterns (Stackpole Books, 1996)They commented that "There are several somewhat similar dressings for this famous pattern.  One of the earliest (1895) is from Kelson. Their pattern for the fly matched, conceptually, with Hutton's, so I tied my first one up:

Checking in my meager library, I found that "Jock Scott", in his Greased Line Fishing for Salmon (Seeley Service and Co., London; I have the fifth edition) agreed with that pattern.

And there's that pesky claret-bodied Logie on the cover of that book, too!

 But I have to hark back to another set of comments the Bates' made about the Logie: "Pryce-Tannatt's dressing is essentially the same (as Kelson's) except for the body.  The first two-fifths of the body is pale primrose (light yellow) floss; the remainder is ruby red floss.  His dressing does not call for jungle cock cheeks."    WAIT!  WHAT??  Pryce-Tannatt completely changed the body on the fly, yet continued to call it the Logie.  I'm trying to imagine how I'd feel if someone changed the body on my Celtic Beauty (bright yellow floss) to a two-color body that didn't even contain the original yellow!

So off we go to Pryce-Tannatt land:

And sure enough, he's gone and changed the body from my favorite color (claret) to the yellow/red combination, which can also be found in these tomes.

Can't fight City Hall, so I tied up a yellow-red Logie:

Fortunately for we that hold the color claret near and dear, Eric Leiser, in his The Book of Fly Patterns (Alfred A. Knopf, 1987) as well as John Buckland and Arthur Oglesby in their A Guide to Salmon Flies (The Crowood Press, 1990), the Logie is listed as having a body of yellow floss to the rear, and CLARET floss to the front.  The two books differ slightly on the proportions of each, but not so much that a person would get upset.  So it was time to tie yet another variation of the Logie:

Interestingly (to me, anyway) in his Trout and Salmon Flies of Scotland, Stan Headley notes that the Logie is "A Dee pattern devised by W. Brown, it is sometimes varied by the use of claret instead of red in the body..."   To my way of thinking, the Logie is sometimes varied by the use of red instead of claret in the body!

Headley goes on to note (as did the Bates' in Fishing Atlantic Salmon) that the Logie is easily adapted to a hairwing fly.  I did this one for Mike Valla's book, Tying and Fishing Bucktails and Other Hairwings; Atlantic Salmon to Steelhead Flies (Stackpole Books, 2016):

I was going to do a step-by-step section on tying the Logie for this post, but then I stumbled upon Michael Radencich's elegant Logie step-by-step in his Twenty Salmon Flies; Tying Techniques for Mastering the Classic Patterns (Stackpole Books, 2009) and decided anyone reading this post would be far better off finding that "how to" than anything I could produce.  He really can tie a fly and his photography is in a class by itself.

My good friend Brian Cuming, up in New Brunswick sent me a couple Logies a year or so ago, one for my little collection, and one to fish.  They are big and beautiful:

Speaking of collections, a fellow name of John Maticko, who I've been getting to know these past few months via email and a forum or two, has a serious classic salmon fly collection, and a great many Logies in all their forms, including a couple I've never seen nor heard of before.  John inherited the collection from his dad, who was an outfitter in Iceland (LOL, why did MY father have to be an accountant?!)  With his kind permission, I will now completely saturate my readers with Logieness.

First, and this style of fly was completely new to me when John sent me the photos of it,  are "monoplane" Logies from Hardy, likely in the '40's and '50's.  When I first saw it, I thought it was just a rather outlandish Dee-style Logie.

And then there's the "Norsk Lure" Logie:

And a sampling of other Logie's in John's collection:

I'm deeply appreciative of John's permission to use his photos.  You can view much more of his collection here:   A sample of what you'll find there:

And yes, I will be fishing the Logie this summer, especially if we get those dreaded low-water conditions!



  1. Gary - you must have spent a week putting this blog post together, incredible. The history of these things is never ending. We need to stop making and reading posts and get some time in trying to stick a hook in one of those silver buggers! Brad

    1. It did take all of a week, Brad, but satisfying to do, in the end. But I totally agree...time to get on the river soon!!

  2. Gary,
    Absolutely wonderful and written in such detail that only you can do. Thanks for taking the time to compose this blog post.


    1. Doug, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you very much for the kind words, I really have fun doing posts like this.

  3. Thanks for the mention Gary. As you well know building "traditional's" is my passion . My rendition came from Michael Radencich's book. He has taught me a lot from following his techniques. My other great mentor has been Bryant Freeman ( a master at building fishable traditional flies)!!
    Brian C

    1. Your flies have a special place on my bookshelf, Brian, many thanks for them...and for all the music you've given me to make my rides back and forth to NB all the more enjoyable!

  4. When I lived in the UK I used to pay one pound a fly for fully dressed salmon flies about 2 dollars US

    1. Boy, you're really dating yourself there, Gregg!

  5. And I had copies of most of the books you have here along with Kelso's book - they now reside at the Bud Lilly Trout and Salmon Collection at Montana State University

    1. Following your generous lead, that's where my books will go as well, Gregg. Hope many more people follow your lead and make the Bud Lilly collection the most important fly fishing library resource on the planet!

  6. This was great! Thank's for linking to the fly collection, so much fun to look through.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, John. That really is quite a collection, and it was very nice of John Maticko to photograph his flies for me.

  7. Hi Gary:

    I happened upon your blog by accident...I was searching for information about John E. Hutton. My grandfather used to guide Hutton when he fished on the Miramichi in the 1940s. In fact, that's my grandfather guiding him in the photo you posted above.

    And while looking at your photos, I noticed you purchased some of the Swazey property, which means we are neighbours...I own property on the other side of the river, at the lower tip of McCarty Island.

    I hope to meet you sometime.

    Best regards,
    Lyle D.
    Fredericton, NB

  8. What a small world! Thanks so much for commenting! I know where your camp is...I fish across from it often for kelts. Hopefully we'll meet in person one day!