Dame Juliana Berners was the prioress of the Priory of St. Mary of Sopwell near St. Albans in Britain. A Treatyse of fysshynge with an Angle was part of The Boke of Saint Albans which was first printed 1486. The other parts of the book were hunting, hawking, and heraldry.

 I think it would be fun to tie her flies and fish them here. These three flies are among the twelve included in her book and are described as effective in May (which means she beat Ernie Schwiebert’s Matching the Hatch by almost five centuries!)

So here’s the challenge – tie one, two or all three and fish them. There will be prizes for the first trout and the largest trout caught using them.

Following are her patterns, translations to current English, and photos of the flies. Since there were no standard hooks or hook sizes back then (in fact she describes how to make your own hooks) use any style or size you want to.

Bring your files and photos of the fish you caught to the June meeting.


In the begynnynge of May a good fly.   The body of roddyd wull and lappid abowte wyth blacke sylke.  The wynges of the drake & of the redde capons hakyll

Body – reddish brown wool ribbed with black silk.

Wings – mallard quill

Hackle – brown, tied palmer




The yelow flye. The body of yelow wull , the wynges of the redde cocke hakyll & of the drake lyttd yellow.

Body – yellow wool

Wings – mallard quill dyed yellow

Hackle – brown, tied palmer



The blacke louper, the body of blacke wull & lappyd abowte wyth the herle of ye

pecok tayle & the wynges of ye redde capon wt a blewe heed.

Body – black wool ribbed with peacock herl

Wings – brown hackle tips

Head – blue silk (or wool) however there is some controversy whether she meant that the capon had a blue head or that the head of the fly itself should be blue.  Your choice.