by Matt O'Neal of Savage Flies: Find him on his YouTube channel at Savage Flies
This month’s pattern is a dry fly called the Rio Grande King Fly. Dug up from a July 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated, but also found in Raymond Scott Stetzer's, “Flies, The Best 1,000” in which he had it tied slightly differently, with upright white duck slips for a wing.
History of the Rio Grande King Fly
Another more recent book this pattern was featured in was Dave Hughes’ 1999 “Trout Flies” in which he had it with white calftail for a wing, tied Trude style. That’s the pattern we’re going to feature here.
The history of this pattern is not really known but we do know the Trude style of fly was created in 1906 by Carter Harrison from Chicago.
He came up with it while fishing on the Trude Ranch in Idaho so it's likely this fly was created sometime after that, perhaps as early as the 1920s. Maybe it was inspired by something as classic as the standard Coachman but with a white calftail wing tied Trude style.
We may never know the exact history but whatever the origin, it's a really cool looking fly and according to a few of the sources out there it's been a really effective fly.
Now this is not really a forgotten fly as there are a few references to it out there, but it does seem odd that it's not in more books.
Rio Grande Kind Fly Recipe
Hook: #12-14 dry fly
Tail: Golden pheasant tippets
Body: Black chenille
Wing: White calftail, Trude style
Hackle: Brown dry fly