UNI Products Fly Tiers Corner
The Royal Trude is a tried-and-true pattern for the trout streams of the Southern Appalachian Mountain region. It very much resembles its cousin the Royal Wulff, with the only real variation being its swept-back wing that gives the fly a caddis look.
The two basic reasons this fly is a favorite revolves around that white calf tail wing and the buoyancy of the pattern. It floats well in turbulent water and is easily seen in the heavily shaded creek valleys of our mountain streams.
The tale of the Trude’s origin is a rather bizarre one. Carter H. Harrison was a guest at the Idaho ranch of A.S. Trude back in 1903. As a prank, Harrison put a large muskie hook in his vise, added a body of red worsted yarn from a rug, along with a gob of hair from the ranch’s red spaniel dog for the wing and tail. He finished off the monstrosity with hackle composed of squirrel tail. He then presented the fly to his host.
To the great surprise of Harrison and Trude, when the latter actually fished the fly, it proved very effective. Due to that rather dubious origin, it is obvious where the pattern got its name.
Identity of the tier that came up with the idea of dressing the fly with the color scheme and materials to give it a royal appearance is not readily known. Besides the substitution of the calf tail wing, peacock herl for the body with a red floss wrap in the middle, a pheasant feather tail and red thread for the head are the other changes applied.
Since that transition took place the Royal Trude has had a long and successful run of fooling trout in the Southland.