North Country Wets

North Country Wets

Viking Lars | Saturday, 30 July 2022

If you’re tired of reading about old flies, old North Country Wets in particular, just skip the rest, because I’m going to bother you with it again. I just love these flies, the lore, the history and in fact also the North Country it self, even though I’ve only been there a few times. There’s a good handful or two of the flies that are well known to most trout anglers, Waterhen Bloa, Partridge & Orange and Purple Snipe in particular, I think. But there are so many more and some of them are unusual in both tying style and material choice

The “clocks”, a small group of NC wets that imitate terrestrials, beetles as “clock” is an old English term for beetles. A video on YouTube by Robert Smith sparked my curiosity and prompted me to tie some. They are unusual within the NC wets as they feature both a thorax and a head of peacock herl. On top of that they are hackled with a feather from the neck of a common ring neck pheasant. I’ve tied hundreds, probably thousands, of flies with different feathers from ring neck pheasants, but never this. I didn’t have a skin, so I went a bought one. There aren’t many feathers of the right size on a skin, I think I managed 12 or 15. But in the old days, they often just tied in a hackle and trimmed to to the correct size. The feathers are a beautiful, reddish, natural almost fiery brown, slightly translucent.

I have a couple of grub-style salmon flies in my head that I want to tie, using these hackles, but that’s for another FP.

The clocks are beetle imitations. Contrary to what many think, most of the NC wets are actually meant to imitate specific insects and although many are tied using feathers from many common game birds, the feathers were chosen specifically. Sometimes from very specific parts of a bird and most of the flies are recommended for a specific part of the season.

It’s high summer, so it’s terrestrial-time and that’s why these are now allocated a row in my box of NC wets and summer trout flies. I look forward to trying them. The pattern is the Red Clock with versions with red, orange and yellow silk as there’s some confusion on what to use. Well, really not - watch Robert Smiths video, where he gives the correct dressing.

Have a great weekend!