He probably had no idea, but the first angler who took a feather from the game he’d shot and attached it to a hook with some thread borrowed from his wife’s sewing kit was creating a classic. Today, there’s something poetic about catching a trout on a pattern that is hundreds of years old. From Olde England’s North Country to New England, nothing is lost in translation. I like the Partridge and Orange as a caddis imitation. It also makes a fine spinner.
Partridge and Orange
Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-16
Body: Orange silk
Hackle: Grey speckled partridge
If you’re new to soft hackles and North Country Spiders, this a great place to start. By varying the color of the thread and the size of the hook (and even the color of the partridge — the back is covered with brown speckled feathers) you can match just about any hatch. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.
Like a soft-hackled Pheasant Tail, the Sandy Moorgame can look like nothing in particular, but a lot of things in general. Think smaller mayfly nymphs (this is a terrific pattern to place as the top dropper in your nymph rig) and little brown stones when you tie on this classic North Country spider. I have no proof, but in any given year I’m guessing that I’m the only angler on the Farmington River fishing the Sandy Moorgame. (You should do something about that.)
Hook: Wet or dry fly 14-18
Body: Dark brown silk
Wings: Hackled with a dark reddish-brown feather from the back of a grouse
Simplicity rules the day. If you’re being a stickler for authenticity, use English grouse, which is different from some of the other grouse skins available. You could dress the fly more heavily than I’ve done here (two wraps of hackle) — try three or four for some extra wings/legs creepy crawly emerger action. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.