Bumblepuppy - Patriotic Version - Fly of the Month

by Matt O'Neal of Savage Flies: Find him on his YouTube channel at Savage Flies

The exact version of this month’s pattern comes with a bit of mystery behind its provenance. The original is most definitely credited to the legendary Theodore Gordon, who is most remembered as the father of the American dry fly. One of the first hair wings of this type, Gordon likely created the Bumblepuppy in the 1890s. In a 1903 letter to John Gordon, published later in The Complete Fly Fisherman, he sings its praise:

“The Bumblepuppy is great medicine – there is no doubt of that, after years of trial. Attach a well-made specimen to the end of your cast and play it in clear water. You will see at once that it is very much alive and shows up wonderfully.”

The version you see here is one of a dozen or more you might find today and it comes to us mostly from Mike Valla’s “Classic Streamer Fly Box.” I say “mostly” because I’ve varied his white goose slip wing with a blue one to give the pattern a patriotic flair for us tiers in the U.S. who will likely be celebrating our Independence Day this month.

I have no major heartburn with changing the pattern in such a gaudy fashion – it is in fact an attractor pattern to begin with and there aren’t a lot of red and white natural baitfish out there either! But I will say it’s a fun streamer to tie and I can definitively agree with Theodore Gordon in that this thing really does look alive in the water.


Hook: #6-10 streamer

Thread: Black

Tag: Silver Mylar and red floss

Tail: Red duck slip

Butt: Red chenille

Rib: Silver mylar tinsel

Body: White Chenille

Wing: Goose slip

Hackle: Mallard 


Robert Perman

Robert Perman

Pretty fly!!



Nice pattern, Matt. I think I’d eliminate the floss tag. Tying a few tonight. Thanks.



Interesting ty!! Looks great.
Enjoy your tying on u-tube.

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