This is an American pattern that is the gaudy cousin of the British Coachman. John Haily's 1876 pattern has spawned a whole range of variants. It was his own interpretation of a coachman but with finer livery. L.C.Orvis gave it it's name.
WET FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 12 14 - $US each
The Royal Coachman is an American pattern that is the gaudy cousin of the British Coachman. When the Coachman wet fly crossed the Atlantic Theodore Gordon adapted it to a dry fly .In 1876 John Hailey, a professional fly-dresser living in New York, added the red silk band to create the distinctive feature of all Royal patterns. He had been asked to tie some extra strong Coachmen Dry flies. He tied a band of red silk in the middle to prevent the peacock bodies from fraying out. He had also added a tail of barred wood duck feathers.
His dry fly has spawned a whole range of variants including streamers and hairwings. Mr L.C.Orvis gave it it's name whilst discussing with others what it should be called. He said "Oh, that is easy enough: call it the Royal Coachman. It is so finely dressed". Although the wings may vary, all have the same red central body section, butted either end with peacock herl. It often works when nothing else will.
The Royal coachman is an excellent general purpose up-winged dry fly that can be used to represent many other large winged insects as well as may flies. It is an ideal wasp, hornet or bee pattern. Treat with floatant and fish it on the surface. Try the occasional retrieve over the surface for a short distance or else twitch it to represent a struggling terrestrial insect like a wasp or bee trapped in the surface film.
These game fish are very abundant throughout Alberta, British Columbia and many of the western states of the USA. The most popular flies are beaded Prince's Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hares Ears and wet flies like the Royal Coachman in size #12 to #16. Some of the more popular streams for mountain whitefish in Alberta are the Athabasca, North Saskatchwan, Red Deer, Bow, Highwood, Sheep, Oldman, Livingstone, Crowsnest, Castle, Waterton, Belly and St Mary rivers. Spawning occurs from late September to early November over gravel beds. The eggs are broadcast not buried in s redd like salmoniods.
They are a long lived species with a 20 year old specimen being recorded in a reservoir and they can grow to over 5lbs. Autumn fall period is the traditional time to catch mountain whitefish, as after gathering to spawn in late August they move into over wintering pools where they remain until spring breaks. Use a pair of polarized sunglasses. They tend to move around a lot. Look for flashes of silver as they jostle for position in the current. It is not uncommon to find over 50 fish hold up in the same pool. During the summer Mountain whitefish tend to favour turbulent pocket water as well as deep runs and large pool. Mountain whitefish are popular as a table fish and fantastic when smoked - particularly the smaller ones.