The classic 'Mar Lodge' salmon fly was named after a large fishing lodge on the banks of the River Dee, 5 miles west of Braemar in Scotland. The lodge is now owned by the National Trust but was originally built in 1885 for the Duke of Fife.
The fly is thought to have originated around the time of the Lodge construction but sadly the name of the originator, like so many of our flies, seems to be lost in the mists of time, but this fly remains a traditional Salmon fly that is still used in Scotland and Ireland too this day, especially when used as a Spring Pattern.
This popular classic can actually be called a 'natural fly', as no dyeing of feathers is required and only natural materials are required to tie it. A number of variants are around, one being the length of the black bar in the center, this can be tied as a longer section if required, up to a 1/3 of the body length but many prefer a shorter length. The ribbing is another part that can be varied. Many use seven turns instead of the usual five and measure it so that there’s three turns on each section of silver and one turn that goes straight through the black bar in the middle. Whatever your preferred choice the Mar will always look fantastic.
The pattern specifies the underwing to be “Mixed – Tippet in strands”. For aesthetic reasons many tiers choose to tie whole tippets back to back and strip the top side of the feathers. If you want to attempt to tie this pattern, then I can find no better example than the one tied by T.E. Pryce -Tannatt, in his1914 publication - 'How to dress Salmon Flies'.
Materials Required Mar Lodge (hook, 1 1/4 to 3 inches) Tag: Silver Tinsel. Tail: A Topping and a pair of Jungle Cock feathers (back to back). Butt: Black Herl. Body: Flat silver tinsel, jointed at the middle with two or three turns of black floss. Ribs: Narrow oval tinsel. Throat: Speckled Gallina. Wings: Mixed – tippet in strands; “married” strands of white Swan, Bustard, Florican, cinnamon, mottled grey and mottled brown Turkey tail and Golden Pheasant tail. Sides: Broad strips of barred Summer Duck. Cheeks: Jungle Cock; a topping over all. Horns: Blue and Yellow Macaw.