What exactly makes a "Catskill" fly different or unique? I think I have some ideas and I'll state what I think I know. One is a wing, usually divided of Wood Duck Flank feathers. So far I've been using a yellow"ish" color but I think a gray shade is also traditional- I'm not sure. I've made one trip to the museum in L.M. but I should have looked more closely. The body of the flies seem to be very thin- not much more than the diameter of the hook. One issue I have with that is dubbing thread with too much material. On the hackle, I think I read something by Theo Gordon that blue dun simply could not be matched, the best choice in many situations. On the Quill Gordon, my quill just doesn't seem to have the two tones or shades that gives the intended effect and a lot of commercial ties are "just quill" without a noticeable banding effect which I think was the idea. On the tail fibers- I'm confused on the material and whether "a bunch" of fibers were used or a number selected, whether they were splayed out or bunched together.
Although these flies are old patterns I'm wondering if they are not still good choices. When you look at the natural and then many modern flies, today's flies seem to have too much material. I'm wondering if the delicate nature of the Catskill types did a good job. My off hand feeling is, in order to get the fly to ride dry and not cocked, etc.- and tie it sparse- might have required a lot morh skill. I put together some stuff that looks okay at the vise but doesn't float square.