The Magalloway is a traditional wet fly is named for a famous river in western Maine and was an old pattern when Bergman wrote about it in the 1930’s. The attractor colors are well tested and this fly brings in fish. I received a letter from Allen Messer in Poland, ME asking for an article about this pattern and I have to confess that it sounded familiar to me but I couldn’t place it. When I looked it up I recognized it and sure enough there were some sitting in one of my boxes. I had done well with it in the Deboullie area when I stayed at Red River Camps and I still had a few. I tie and fish so many patterns that the name had slipped my mind but not the pattern. This little gem pulled up quite a few brookies for me one afternoon on a trip a couple of years ago; you should give it a try.
Recipe for the Magalloway
Thread – Black
Hook – Standard wet fly hook, size 6-14
Tail – Yellow hackle fibers or Golden Pheasant Crest
Tag- Gold Mylar
Butt- Black chenille, size fine
Body – Light brown wool
Hackle- Brown furnace
Wing – Peacock sword
You can tell how old a pattern is when you notice how many versions of the pattern are floating around. Each version substitutes a material for another. My favorite substitution for this fly is yellow Golden Pheasant crest for the yellow tail. I used yellow hackle fibers here but the pheasant crest has a sparkle to it that I like on attractors; it’s entirely possible that the original pattern called for the pheasant crest tail. Tie on the Mylar for the tag with the gold side to the hook shank. The Mylar will roll over to gold side out when you wrap the tag. Tie off and tie in a yellow tail, your choice of material. The butt is a single wrap of fine black chenille. The body is light brown wool. There seems to be a wide range of what people think is light brown, and I am no expert. The old wisdom on body color is light in the spring and progressively darker into the fall. Pick a shade and tie it on. Wrap forward and tie off behind the eye. Leave room for the wing and hackle, there is a lot of material on this fly.
The wing is a clump of peacock sword. This is an inexpensive material that is useful on a lot of patterns. Peacock sword is not the same as peacock herl, same bird but a different feather. The wing should extend back to about half the tail. Lastly, tie in a hen furnace hackle. This is dark brown hackle with a badger stripe down the center. Don’t panic here if you don’t have this material. You can use brown hackle for this fly. If you have hen hackle then use that. If all you have are rooster hackles, don’t wind it in on like a dry fly hackle. Pull off a small bunch and tie it in as a beard style hackle. If you happen to have hen hackle, then wind on a few wraps, tie off and use a few thread wraps to force the hackles to lay back a bit. If you spaced everything right, you’ll have room for a head.
This is a good fly from the old school, you won’t see many of these around and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the way trout grab it.