JH Special?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Richard Olmstead, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. I met someone last week who grew up in western Colorado, where his home water was the Roaring Fork in the '50s and '60s. He now lives a long ways from there (and here), but he said that the killer fly on the Roaring Fork back then was something called the "JH Special." He said he had been looking for the fly or a pattern for it for some time, more for old time's sake than anything else, but he still thought it would be a good fly.

    I realize that there have been untold numbers of local fly patterns over the years, and some common patterns go by different local names in different regions. But, a quick google search didn't turn up anything, so I thought I'd tap your collective wisdom to see if anyone knows this pattern.

  2. Sounds like a local pattern.
  3. You know, I've been fishing a long time, and I've been shown lots of "local killer" western patterns. Most of them are variations of a rio grande coachman, a bee, or a mosquito. Tie up a few of each and ask him "Is one of these it?" :rofl:

    I'm only halfway kidding.
  4. JJ Special was popular when I lived in that area in the 90's. A brown and yellow rubber leg bugger.
  6. My uncle just gave me a fly today he calls a "JH Special", that he has had for over 50 years and it is the only one he has left. He said it was the best fly he has ever used in the Gunnison, CO area but never has been able to find anyone who know what a JH Special is. He wanted me to see if my buddy in Durango, CO match the pattern and tie some up. I have attached a picture of the fly he calls a "JH Special". It is a poor picture but maybe some oldtimer will be able to recognize it or tell me if it is recognized under a different name now .

    JH Special.jpg
  7. Did a bit of searching and came across a mentioning of a "Jackson Hole Special" but no pics. Maybe?
  8. there is mention of a J.H. Special in "Perrault's Standard Dictionary od Fishing Flies" but no recipe or picture
  9. Pende -
    Wow, I had forgotten about that query. It sounds like your uncle is from the same part of Colorado and from the same era as my acquaintance. I think it is a good be that is the same fly.

    It looks a lot like a 'renegade,' or a 'fore and aft,' but with oversized hackle. Your photo is pretty grainy, so it's hard to tell if there is a wing or just hackle, and what is covering the hook in the mid-section. Can you describe the fly better or post a clearer picture?

  10. I fished Colorado for years and JH Special is my goto fly. I will try to get you a pic. I use them weighted/unweighted. Weighted has very small wire wrapped around shanke under fly body. Let's fly sink when fish are not hitting top. Fixing to go to Co next month and the JH Special will be first fly I get wet.
  11. I'm not sure how to post pics. JH Special has grey-white wings with grey/white hackle and a black or grey or both thread body. I have/do use varied colors of black to grey bodied flies. Also use weighted/unweighted. No tail.
  12. PB230202.JPG PB230228.JPG
  13. In Cle Elum we call them the Crystal Creek Special

    The Black one is tied with Mcflylon as the wing instead of deer hair -size 16 on a emerger hook.

    The Pink version has a loop wing to hold a big dollop of Mucilin -size 14 on a standard dry fly hook.

    I have not tried a sinking version but may after this post.

    Outside of the Big Lost I came accross a small grocery store that had 20 large boxes of them tied in every color combination one can imagine with no front haclke, all tied up by some local guy.
    I figured they either really worked or didn't sell well.
    However there was a much larger selection of those flies than the powerbait it was sitting next to which I guessed either did'nt sell or really worked.

    I have done really well this summer with my pink version during caddis hatches
  14. JR, Kelvin -

    Thanks a lot for digging this up and posting descriptions and photos. I'm going to tie some up this week and use 'em in Idaho in September!

  15. I didn't post any pics. I will try to shortly.
  16. love to see them
    please do
  17. Finally got the pic over. This is an unweighted black bodied JH Special. My descripton wasn't worth a flip. Hope this helps... Great Fly.
  18. This pic is a store bot fly from Creede Co. I have used them:
    1. With no middle hackle
    2. With some grey thread in the body
    3. With tail gone

    But the wings seem important. Wings gone, fishing slowed.

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