George Grant and Franz Pott were the best-known tiers of the woven-hackle fly with their Featherbacks, Black Creepers, Fizzles, and Sandy Mites.
To me, the real magic happened in places like the Shilo Inn convention center and old fly shops with the smell of coffee and moth-balls etched into the wood paneling, or pretty much anywhere an old timer has hot coffee, a hidden flask and time to tell you about the days gone by.
The Greenwells Glory is an old fly with a storied history. I won’t repeat that history here, as you can easily find it yourself. However, I can attest that it catches just as many fish now as it did in 1854 (the supposed year of its creation)
While other anglers are fumbling in the parking lot with size 24 flies on 6x drop-shot rigs, the swung fly angler can tie on a single size 18 fly to a gargantuan 4x leader and still have plenty of time to sit on the bank and drink coffee before the hatch begins.
Of all the famed water available in Yellowstone, the Firehole is just about as pleasant as fly fishing gets.
The memory of a Henry’s Fork rainbow cartwheeling multiple times over a waking muddler in the glow of a May sunset still has me grinning years later. And I can almost feel the warmth of the June sun as I recall working a flooded willow bank. The plump brown trout that I eventually landed nearly pulled my 3-wt. trout spey out of my hand on the grab.