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Cork Flies a post by Frank Quigley

My Family bought a camp in the Rochester Mills area of Indiana County in 1955. As with many of us my early days of trout fishing started as a spin fisherman using live bait. But for some reason in a very short time I switched to a fly rod but continued to use live bait. Most of my fishing was done in Little Mahoning Creek which was about a mile from the camp.

In 1957 The Little Mahoning was designated as a Fly Fishing Only Project and I then became a fly fisherman. With the onset of college, employment , marriage, four children and building three houses in 5 years my time for fly fishing was quite limited.

Fast forward to the mid 80s. There was more time for fly fishing and because I owned a business at that time I could set my own schedule. I looked up a friend of mine and we started fishing together. He showed me a cork fly that was painted yellow and said it really caught fish I scoffed at it but did put some of them in my vest. Shortly thereafter we were fishing in the Mahoning and I decided to try one. He was,not in sight as I did not want him to see me using it. I picked one of my favorite sections of the stream to test it and quickly caught six trout in six casts. As I hurried to get off another cast to get another fish I heard my friend who had been quietly watching me say, “ I guess you are a believer now.”

And I have been a believer ever since. I have caught hundreds of trout on it since that time. Most of my fishing now is done ln PA FFO and DHALO Projects and at the occasional private club. . Fishing gets really good with the cork and other foam terrestrials that I have got to know in mid May and at that time you can have these streams to yourself.

I did some research and learned that it and many others were made by William McIntyre who lived in O’Hara Township near Pittsburgh . The pictures presented herein I include a copy of his advertising flyer and some Lady Bugs that I was told were one of his favorite patterns. I wish I could have met him before he passed away so that I might have learned more about the techniques he used to “manufacture” these flies. The cork cylinders heeded to tie these flies were original available E. Hille Angler Supply House in Williamsport PA. When that business did not reopen after a fire I quickly sought other sources and have managed to accumulate a large supply as shown in the attached picture. I periodically search for other sources but have not found any recently.

The pattern that I use is on the lower right hand side of the advertising flyer and is called Cheddar. I have continued to use the yellow version and perhaps it should be called Mozzarella!

My experience with this easy to make “floats like a cork” fly has caused me to look at other terrestrial offerings including foam ants, beetles. Grasshoppers and other insects as designed by Harrison Steeves.

This post from Frank is exactly the sort of information sharing I personally would like to see more of. Thank you Frank for introducing us to a new set of patterns.

Have something to share? Just send me an email telling the story behind your post and if you have a couple of photos include them in your email. You can reach me at

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