If you refer to the 1986 version of flies of the northwest it states that it was first tied about 1949, a wet fly that is most effective on lakes that have a large caddis hatch, I've tied them just because, but have never really fished them, I just have always liked the way they look, sounds goofy I know but I really like the older patterns and someday I might even remember to tie one on when theres a hatch.
I've used the Doc Sprately on rivers with great success. One of my favorite wet flies. I like to use it as a dropper under a large Caddis or Stimulator, most strikes come on the swing as the Doc Sprately is moving toward the surface.
My grandfather was Doc Spratley. I am also named after him, Donald Andrew Spratley.
He tied it up in the early 40s for fishing in BC lakes. It was later that the fly was fished in rivers, but I have used it quite well in both rivers and lakes. I tie up some colorful steelhead versions too, but have yet to hook up with a steely using it.
I would be curious to see one of the Spratley patterns you tye for steelies. Hook size and type, color fly, etc?
I have done quite well in lakes with a standard black pattern for both trout and warmwater fishes.
It is one of my favorite flies, so I thank your grandfather for inventing it, Andy.
The Doc Spatley is also one of my favorite flies for Lakes. I tye it in Black, Red, and Green. Most of my fish are caught on the black or Red ones though.
The Olive greens ones are awesome looking but, for some reason don't produce as well.
The Doc Spratley is the first searching pattern that I tie on for lakes, mostly in BC. The green ones that are more damsel green than olive work really well, sometimes all day. With a short wing, it makes a good nymph pattern for rivers too.
Another variation is a shiny floss body, for extra color.
The Doc Sprately is a great lake pattern. It is popular in BC. I have tied them in various sizes ranging from a size 4 down to a 14. Olive, red and black appear to be the most popular colors.
This pattern is successful in lakes because (like most great patterns) it suggests many different food items found in stillwaters. By varying the color and size (or sometimes with just some creative trimming on the lake), dragon flies, damsel flies, caddis flies (larvae and pupae), leeches, chironomid pupae, and shiners can be imitated.
For many this pattern is the first fly that is tied on when exploring a new lake.
Art Lingren, well-known BC fishing writer noted that a sparsely dressed Doc Spratley was one of his favorite steelhead patterns on the Thompson River. It is the featured fly in his Thompson River Journal (Frank Amato Publications). He ties it on a Alec Jackson style hook from full to low-water style.
I love fishing a Spratley! I also fish the "Lady Spratley"; in the 70's that's what the red version was called. Andrew, did your grandfather fish any other colors besides black? Very cool to know that you are his grandson. P.