Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cinnamon Fly

This dressing follows Ronalds’ suggestion for dressing the Cinnamon Fly "buzz," but as a hackle rather than a palmer. It uses a reddish-brown speckled hen hackle in incorporate each hackling option Ronalds suggests for the buzz dressing.



Dark brown

Silk buttonhole twist – Coats & Clark’s 47 tan, size D

Reddish brown hen hackle

Alfred Ronalds includes the Cinnamon Fly, No. 40, in his Flyfisher’s Entomology (1836) as a dressing for August, tied to represent a caddis that “comes from a water pupa.” He recommends a winged and a “buzz” or palmered dressing:

“BODY.  Fawn-coloured floss silk, tied on with silk thread of the same colour.
WINGS.  Feather of a yellow brown hen’s wing, rather darker than the landrail’s wing feather.
LEGS.  A ginger hackle.

It is made buzz with a grouse feather or a red hackle stained brown with copperas, and tied on the same body.”

Aside from the body material, Ronald's winged pattern follows the earlier precedent that George Bainbridge included in his Fly Fisher's Guide (1816): the Cinnamon Fly, No. 32, "has four wings which are large in proportion to the body. They should be dressed full, and made from the pale reddish brown feathers of a hen, which approach the colour of cinnamon; the body of any dark brown fur; and a ginger hackle for legs." A "dark brown fur body" would simulate the same color as the "fawn-coloured floss silk," once wet, that Ronalds suggests.

John Jackson also lists the Cinnamon Fly as No. 48 in his Practical Fly-Fisher (1854).  an August dressing, a winged fly that “continues nearly to the end of the season.” T. E. Pritt cites Jackson’s dressing as a precedent for his own, noting that it is “a capital summer fly, particularly in the evening.”  Pritt’s Cinnamon, No. 55.

Some authors (Sylvester Lister, for instance) regard the Cinnamon Fly to be the same as the August Brown or August Dun. Leslie Magee's Fly Fishing: The North Country Tradition (1994), which includes Lister's manuscript, makes the significant distinction between the Cinnamon Fly or August Brown, a mayfly, and the Cinnamon Sedge, a sedge or caddis.

“WINGS.—Hackled with a feather from a Brown Owl’s wing.
BODY.—Yellow silk, dubbed with fur from a water Rat.
HEAD.—Peacock herl.”

The Buss Brown is a likely precedent for later dressings of the Cinnamon Fly. James Chetham includes it in the 1700 edition of his Anglers Vade Mecum (1681), as part of a list of flies he adds to augment the list he reprints from Charles Cotton's additions to Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler (1676). The Buss Brown is the only fly Chetham adds to Cotton's flies for August, and it is "Made with the light Brown Hair of the Ear of a Cur, the Head Black, Wings of the Feather of a Red Hen Whipt with Orange coloured Silk." 


  1. Neil
    What gets my attention about this pattern is the color, brown which can equate to numerous insects. One of your best patterns. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks, Bill - I wish I could take the credit for the fly.