The Brown Owl Fly tied on a Partridge CS17 Streamer

Words and images by Scott Biron.

Tying the Brown Owl Fly:

About once a year I sit down and tie up a handful of these flies. Usually, I end up with two and the friends I fish with are the beneficiaries of the remainder. This is a true New Hampshire pattern which was originated by Bob Broad. Bob ran the Brown Owl Tackle Shop in Enrol, New Hampshire. Most of what I have learned about this fly has come through my good friend Rick Estes. I like to tell him that he ties this fly the best and each time I sit down I look at his to get mine just right.

When to use the Brown Owl:

The fly is to be fished in the surface film, imitating a struggling adult stonefly which hatches in late June and July in the Erol area. This hatch occurs right at dark and beyond. It is also seen in the Connecticut River in Pittsburg, NH. My friend Chuck Cosseboom uses these on the Magalloway River with great success. These stones are very large and I often make few size 4 and then size 8.

Try not to Overdress your fly:

One of the common mistakes of this fly is to overdress it. This often occurs if you use to much bucktail for the collar. Additionally, if you flare the bucktail too much it will end up in a less than desired result. I tie my bucktail in on top of the last three wraps of the oval gold tinsel and then I touch the tread with varnish and lock the fibers in. As the varnish sets I pinch the bucktail to get it to lie more parallel to the hook.



The Brown Owl Fly Patter tied by Partridge of Redditch ambassador Scott Biron.

The Brown Owl Fly, Tied by Scott Biron.

The Perfect Grizzly Hackle:

Over the years I’ve looked for the right colour grizzly hackle for the Brown Owl Fly and recently I found it in a Ewing  Feather Birds Brown Grizzly Hen. Years ago, I remember standing on the dock of my grandftaher’s camp just below Bragg Bay on the Androscoggin River in Errol. Just at dusk (and if ou could handle the black flies) we would see trout take these stones floating in the surface film. It’s one of the essential NH patterns… Never go north without it.


Hook:Partridge CS17/7X Heritage Streamer, you can tie these up to size 4 but 6 and 8 are the most common.
Thread:Brown (6/0 Danville #47).
Body:Oval Gold Tinsel.
Collar:Sparse yellow Buck Tail from the brown side of the tail near the rump end, extend the tips slightly beyond the bend of the hook.
Wing:Teal flank feather, tent style to slightly beyond the bend of the hook, (toll the teal in your finders before tying it in).
Hackle:Soft brownish grizzly, originally wrapped like a collar trimmed on top.
Head:Brown thread.

Scott A Biron

Scott Biron cut his teeth learning to tie flies and fly fish back in the 1960s in the North County of New Hampshire. He has fished many of the streams North of Route 26 in NH and his beloved Androscoggin River. Scott is an active fly tying instructor for NH Fish & Game and is popular tying and instructing in national, international and regional shows. He was awarded a 2017 NH Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant and studied fly tying including Traditional New England Streamer patterns and progressed to Classic Salmon Flies. Since then he has become a Master Artist in the Traditional Arts Program. He had an apprentice working under him during 2021.
Scott has a strong interest in historical NH fly tyers and their lost patterns and has published, researched, instructed as well as demonstrated many of these lost NH fly patterns. He enjoys instructing individuals of all ages in the art of fly tying and is known for including the history of these tyers and their flies in his instruction. Scott is considered an expert on large group instruction and offers dozens of classes year round. Each year he is an volunteer instructor at NH Fish & Game's Camp Barry's Fish Camp where he instructs over 50 campers in fly tying and fly fishing. Scott is a member of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild, an Ambassador for the American Museum of Fly Fishing.  He is a regular contributor to the Fly Dressers Guild Journal and the NH Wildlife Journal.  Scott is on the Partridge of Redditch, Sprite Hooks, Cortland, Riversmith and Ewing Feather Birds Pro Teams.  He is on the Ambassador Pro Team for HMH Vises. Ewing has come out with a signature series line of feathers under Scott’s name.

New London, New Hampshire USA

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