Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

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Terrestrial12
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Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by Terrestrial12 » Mon Jan 16, 2023 7:50 am

Hey guys I have some questions I'm hoping some of yall could help answer. I'm wondering if anyone here is from Oregon or is an "expert" on Polly Rosborough. I'm a BIG fan of the man, his nymphs, and his observations. I finally got my hands on a copy of his book...but reading it brought as many new questions as it did answers. First I'm wondering if anyone is from Oregon or happens to fish the rivers and lakes he did. Specifically the rivers. Are the bugs there just massive or something? Size 12 3xl midges, size 6 scuds, size 2 nymphs...SIZE TWO?!? What gives? I thought at first maybe the old hooks just had a different number system but in a lot of his patterns he's using the same Mustads I'm using. Second, does anyone have any of his flies? The book has pretty decent photos but I'd love to see more of his personal work. Especially ones he did later in life when he opted to use yarn rather than his signature "fur noodle". Last isntvreally a question I guess but he mentions he adopted his philosophy of "keep it simple" from Jim lisenring and says that lisenring only used one fly in one size. His red, gray or yellow hackle in a size 10. I find this kind of weird because in his own book lisenring talks about using all kinds of flies, even dry flies, and I wouldn't call his flies or tying techniques simple by any means. But when Polly talks about him he calls him "big Jim" not "Jim lisenring" or "Mr. Lisenring" or anything like that so I assume they were friendly and fished together. So anyway I'm wonder what the forum has to say about these topics.
chugbug
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by chugbug » Mon Jan 16, 2023 8:32 am

Sandy Pittendrigh (salmobytes on some forums) has a nice website where among other things he has posted many pics of flies made by many of the greats along with interesting comments and info. Here's his page on Rosborough with lots of pics of flies tied by Rosborough

https://montana-riverboats.com/index.ph ... Rosborough
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letumgo
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by letumgo » Mon Jan 16, 2023 9:17 am

Here is another website showing pictures of original Polly Rosborough flies.

http://www.spencerewert.com/WesternTrou ... rough.html

I too, am a huge fan of Polly’s flies.

I believe there were several of Polly’s flies in Pete Hidy’s fly wallet when I examined it a few years ago. I’m not 100% positive, but I remember sharing this comment with Lance Hidy when looking at the flies.
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DUBBN
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by DUBBN » Mon Jan 16, 2023 10:16 am

He certainly liked to incorporate the head as a major component to alot of his nymphs.
wsbailey
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by wsbailey » Mon Jan 16, 2023 11:08 am

Polly used Nymo thread for many of his flies. For example, he used #1248 Turf Tan for his Fledermouse fly. It’s still available here :

https://www.fishhairenterprises.com/
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Roadkill
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by Roadkill » Mon Jan 16, 2023 12:21 pm

I never had the pleasure of meeting Polly, he always had a Gone Fishing sign on his shop when I stopped by in the late '70s. I did get to fish some of his waters while passing through and working out of Klamath Falls. I became a fan of tying his Muskrat Nymph in the early '70s.

My earliest flies were fuzzy nymphs long before I got Polly's Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymphs in 1988.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10255&hilit=Henry%27s+flies

Chironomids are not just tiny midges. ;)
Here is one of my favorites for western alkaline lakes...
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=8782
It is included in my first fly pattern book from 1970, Patrick's Fly Shop's PACIFIC NORTHWEST FLY PATTERNS but I didn't use it much until I came across it again in the '80s.

More into https://flyfishingthesierra.com/tdc.htm
Terrestrial12
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by Terrestrial12 » Wed Jan 18, 2023 8:23 am

wsBailey THANKS! That's cool, when I didn't recognize the name while reading his book. I know he used a lot of Belding too but I'm not sure if it was silk or nylon. I know in his early days at least he tied without a bobbin so I assume silk but I'm not sure if he picked up a bobbin later as tools and supplies were more easy to come by or not.

I do realize that chironomids are not always tiny and can get pretty big especially in still waters but I'm talking more about his scuds and nymphs being size 6, 4 or even up to a 2. Most of them were patterns designed to actually imitate something specific. I could see tying the casual dress or something that big but a damsel? Or a caddis? So I'm wondering are the bugs in Oregon really that big? He makes a comment in the end of his book along the lines of "if you want to catch the big Boys you gotta use a big fly" so I'm wondering is he just tying an over sized version of a natural to target bigger fish much like a bass fisherman will use a 10" long worm to target larger bass? Or are the scuds truly a size 6 and caddis truly a size 4 in that area? Thanks to everyone for posting the links and I just want to say I'm so glad to have a place where I can cone to talk about these sort of things with like minded people. If I was to take this question to an internet group 99% of people dont even know the name polly Rosborough...much less how important he was to American nymph fishing and tying.
wsbailey
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by wsbailey » Wed Jan 18, 2023 11:28 am

Polly was unique in that he felt that a large head on his nymphs was a more realistic representation. I don't see a problem with going a hook length size lower and tying a normal thread head. I’ve been able to get all his Belding silk colors on Etsy or eBay.
Last edited by wsbailey on Thu Jan 19, 2023 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Roadkill
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by Roadkill » Wed Jan 18, 2023 11:57 am

I guess the answer to your question is that bugs in Oregon and the West really can be that big.
Here are 2 of my old standby flies.
ImageRIMG9276 by William Lovelace, on Flickr

The top fly is a guide fly stonefly nymph for the Deschutes tied on a Mustad 79840 4XL #2.
The hook is a standard #8 3906 Mustad.
The bottom fly is my cased caddis.

Neither fly is tied at the top range of the insect size as listed in my 1981 WESTERN HATCHES by Rick Hafele and David Hughes with a forward by "Polly" Rosborough.

A mature green Damsel nymph body(3/4 to 1-1/2") can be about the same length as the stonefly.

P.S. Looking through my Guide to Pacific Northwest Aquatic Invertebrates by Rick Hafele and Steve Hinton, Published by Oregon Trout,1996. I find that scuds here may be up to 25mm long.
ImageBug people biomonitoring by William Lovelace, on Flickr
But you can never tell about those people chasing bugs with EPA approved D frame kick nets back in the 90's. ;)
Last edited by Roadkill on Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Variant
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Re: Oregon? Polly Rosborough?

Post by Variant » Wed Jan 18, 2023 1:08 pm

I tend to agree with Bill.
One thing I would like to add to this discussion is that Polly had a philosophy about nymph sizes . Polly believed that the nymph is always Twenty percent larger than the adult. He also states that “ as we drop down the scale in sizes the disparity grows tremendously. When we reach the Diptera and Chironomids we find the larva a 3XL # 14, the pupa a regular length shank # 12 and the adult an # 18 or #20, but still we keep right on tying the Pupa for this one on a #20 or a #22 and then wonder why we have such lousy luck during a big tailing rise”

Lou
In sport,method is everything.The more the skill the method calls for,the higher it’s yield of emotional stir and satisfaction,the higher it’s place must be in a sportsman’s scale of values. RODERICK HAIG-BROWN
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