Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Orange Partridge

Harfield Edmonds and Norman Lee's Orange Partridge, No. 6



Gold tinsel or wire

Silk buttonhole twist, Coat's and Clarks 135-c orange

Brown mottled partridge

In Brook and River Trouting (1916), Harfield Edmonds and Norman Lee list this dressing for the Orange Partridge, No. 6:

HACKLE.-Hackled with a brown mottled (not barred) feather from a Patridge’s neck or back
BODY.-Orange silk, No. 6a, or orange silk, No. 6a, ribbed with about four turns of gold wire or tinsel.
HEAD.-Orange silk”

T. E. Pritt's Orange Partridge, No. 32

T. E. Pritt lists a pair of dressings for the Orange Partridge in North-Country Flies (1886): No. 31, the Brown Watchet, or Little Brown Dun, and No. 32, the Orange partridge. Sylvester Nemes recommends the No. 30, the Brown Watchett, dressed on a size 20 hook in his 2006 additions to his original Soft-Hackled Fly (1975). Pritt gives two dressings, the Brown Watchet, No. 31, only differing from the Orange Partridge, No. 32, in the peacock herl head it includes. Both flies are "hackled with a well dappled feather from a Partridge’s back."

No. 32 Orange Patridge
“WINGS.-Hackled as in No. 31.
BODY.-Orange Silk.

These are practically the same flies, and are very excellent killers. I prefer the dressing of No. 32 myself, although one will kill as well as the other, and the angler may look upon one of them as indispensable on his cast from April to September, on warm days. It is the Turkey Brown of Ronalds, and the Spiral Brown Drake of Theakston.”

Micheal Theakston’s imitation for the Spiral Brown Drake in List of Natural Flies (1853) is an identical dressing of the Yellow Partridge, including the slight, hare's ear thorax he prescribes. But the Turkey Brown that Alfred Ronalds includes in The Fly- Fisher’s Entomology (1836) is much more complicated, dressed with a tail of red cock's hackle, a body of "dark brown floss silk ribbed with purple silk thread" and a grouse hackle tied "buzz."

An older precedent for the Orange Partridge might be, as John Waller Hills suggests in A History of Fly Fishing (1921), Dame Juliana Berners’ Donne Flye, tied to represent the February Red.


  1. Neil, just wanted to thank you sharing all the history of Soft Hackles with us on your blog. I am partial to the Partridge and Orange, or Orange and Partridge.................. I have several in my fly box that I use for Bluegill and in the past for trout streams.

    1. Thanks, Mel - this is the pattern that piqued my interest in soft hackles so many years ago. I've never tried it for bluegill, but I know just the place!

  2. Neil
    Your blog is my one stop information center for fishing Soft Hackles. I intend to focus solely on Soft Hackles when I return to fish our local tailrace. The Partridge and Orange is one I will introduce to the rainbow there. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you, Bill - the rainbows will love it. The eventual frustration becomes how hard it is to find hackle small enough to dress tailrace soft hackles. I've had some luck in an East TN tailrace with a Dark Snipe/Snipe and Purple tied roughly: purple embroidery thread for the body with crow or starling on a size 18 or 20 (18 is fine).