The History of the Royal Coachman Fly

This post was last updated on January 15th, 2016 at 10:46 pm

The royal coachman fly
Shown here is a drawing of the Royal Coachman from 1892.

Getting Hooked on the Royal Coachman Fly

Spring is in the air and if you’re an avid fisherman, you know that sparks an itch to fish and cast your flies in both familiar and unfamiliar waters, in hopes of catching something beyond your hook on a tree branch. As any avidHand tied Royal Coachman fly pattern angler knows, the fly is often times the key to hooking something other than branches, and “the big one” that’s lurked in the stream for years and manages to evade even the most astute fisherman. As most outdoorsmen know, one of the most proven flies for catching trout in American History is The Royal Coachmen. It’s the mainstay and must-have of all flies.

A Rich History of Tradition

Royal coachman streamer
The Royal Coachman Bucktail streamer. Tied by Mike Cline

With a history dating back to 1878, The Royal Coachman Fly was originally used to catch native brook trout in the chilly waters of Cape Cod and north of the Atlantic Ocean. You can’t walk into a fly shop in North America that sells trout flies without seeing one prominently displayed in their cases. Additionally, the Royal Coachman’s beautiful and colorful detail has spawned artistry and served as the model for many fishing art pieces throughout the years, including being incorporated into many logos designed for fly fishing organizations, outdoor shops and publications.

Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery

The royal Wulff Fly, inspired by the Coachman
Shown here is the Royal Wolff, A spinoff of the royal coachman originally tied by Lee Wulff

While this beauty has been the inspiration behind and has helped create many variants like the Royal Humpy, Royal Trude, and Royal Wulff, keep in mind there is only one true Royal Coachman Fly. Detailed, yet general looking enough to convince even the pickiest trout on many occasions. The Royal Coachman’s design is not modeled after one particular species of insect as is the case with most dry flies and is best used when fish are not feeding on specific types of insect species during a hatch. Found in most every fisherman’s fly box, This fly serves as an excellent general purpose dry fly for all trout species.
Sometimes referred to as “the attractor,” The Royal Coachman earned the reputation early on as being one of the best brook trout flies on the market. Since its debut, The Royal Coachman Fly has become a household name and extremely useful tool in the world of fly fishing. Novice fisherman are introduced to its reliability early on and veteran fly anglers wouldn’t think of not including it in their array of tackle box “must haves.”

The “Go-To” Fly for the Best Catch

With its rich history serving generations of fly fisherman, The Royal Coachman Fly has no doubt been the center of many fireside conversations between family and friends as “the go-to” fly for the best catch. With springtime in full swing, it’s time to dust off the vice, polish the rod, renew your fishing license and tie up some Royal Coachman Flies.

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