This Ashy is from Favorite Flies by Mary Orvis Marbury (1892)

Mary did not give a recipe for this fly except to say it was used to imitate caterpillars and tied with either a red or orange body and light dun or light ash hackle. She said light dun / light ash hackle feathers were worth their weight in gold because of how rare they were in the late 1800’s.


Hook: dry fly of desired size
Thread: black
Body: orange or red- wool, yarn, dubbing
Body hackle: light dun or ash palmered
Front hackle: light dun sized to hook (1.5 gape)

Lay down a base of black thread (per the illustration by Charles Orvis that shows a black head)

Tie in a dun hackle with fibers shorter than the hook gap by the tip shiny side out at the hook bend


Dub an orange body


Palmer the hackle in spiraling wraps over the body (tie off, clip extra)

Tie in and wrap a tight front hackle with fibers 1.5 hook gap; tie off; clip butt stem


Wrap in a black thread head


Whip finish; head cement