While perusing my Facebook feed last week, I came across a post by Martin Joergensen from the Global FlyFisher website. He had just tied up a fly called the Brown Owl and posted a picture of it. This pattern was a new one for me, and I was immediately drawn to it. The Brown Owl is an older wet fly pattern that was tied to imitate an adult stonefly that was struggling in the film or had been swept beneath the surface of the water. I loved the look of this old pattern and especially liked what it represented so I set off to tie a few for my river smallmouth and trout fly boxes. I also tied a few variations of this pattern to imitate golden stoneflies found on my home waters as well as the massive salmon flies I encounter on my annual pilgrimage to Montana.
After posting some images of the flies I had tied, Martin contacted me, and he shared some additional information about the pattern, and he informed me he was in the process of writing an article about the fly. I was also contacted by a friend of mine, John McConochie, who was familiar with the pattern as well. John informed me that he had some original flies tied by pattern’s originator Robert Broad, who owned a sporting goods shop in New Hampshire called, of all things, The Brown Owl. The flies that John showed me were different from the version that Martin Jorgensen had shared with me in that the hackle was not trimmed, giving the fly the look of a typical New England streamer. I now had two patterns that intrigued me. I fish with John several times a year on Maine’s Grand Lake Stream, and the original version of the brown Owl looked as if it could be a good pattern to try on those waters. So more flies were tied this time leaving the hackle untrimmed.
As I was distributing these flies to their respective boxes, a thought occurred to me. The flies that I had tied on size 8 hooks looked like they may serve double duty as a panfish streamer. One particular version, the one tied to imitate a golden stonefly shared some characteristics of one of my favorite panfish flies the Hornberg Special. I think this pattern would do a good job imitating many small baitfish/fry in the warm water world and it may even resemble a struggling dragonfly or other insects when fished in the film.
I put aside a few of these golden stone Brown Owls tied with a full hackle to try out when the waters warm up in the spring. I am excited to give this one a try. Spring is not to far off and I will be sure to report back on the effectiveness of this pattern!
If your interested in learning more about this interesting pattern I encourage you to read the article by Martin Joergensen that started all of this experimentation at the vise. The button below will take you straight to his article.
The Brown Owl
Hook: 3x long streamer size 8
Thread: Brown 70 denier UTC
Body: Copper Veevus oval tinsel
Underwing: The hairs from the center of a yellow dyed bucktail
Wing: Wood duck flank feathers
Hackle: Ewing dyed grizzly hackle