Fly Fishers' Republic

Partridge and Orange

December 20, 2006

by Raif Killips

Partridge and Orange



The Partridge & Orange is a well known fly with its roots set firmly in English angling history. It is an impressionistic pattern fished successfully during caddis & stonefly hatches; and amongst other occasions, during spinner falls. The Partridge & Orange is traditionally a trout and grayling pattern but should be considered for small course fish species and various pan fish.

How to fish:

Traditionally fished ‘upstream and across’ like the other spider patterns, or on the swing, and dead drift. The fly can be fished on its own or as part of a team. The partridge and orange is fished shallow.

Tying instructions:

Toggle sequence Left/Right Handed ↔

Partridge and Orange 1

1. Lightly wax the thread first. Then tie on just behind the eye.

Partridge and Orange step 2

2. Catch in the fine gold wire and hold in-line with the hook shank as you wrap the thread in touching turns. By holding the wire you avoid the it twisting around the shank and causing the body to take on a distorted profile.

Partridge and Orange step 3

3. Stop wrapping the thread just short of the bend. The thread will hang somewhere close to the position between point and barb.

Partridge and Orange step 4

4. Now wrap the thread in touching turns to just short of the eye.

Partridge and Orange step 5

5. Take the gold wire in open even turns towards the eye to produce 4-6 ribs. Secure the rib with two wraps of thread turning toward the hook eye.

Partridge and Orange step 6

6. Cut away the surplus gold rib close to the body.

Partridge and Orange step 7

7. Catch in a prepared partridge feather by the tip using only two or three wraps of thread running away from the eye.

Partridge and Orange step 8

8. Cut away the feather tip.

Partridge and Orange step 9

9. Using hackle pliers make between one and two wraps with the feather. Be careful to keep the feather from twisting so the feather barbs take position perpendicular to the body. If you stroke the barbs back as you pass the hackle around the shank you will avoid catching any preceeding barbs.

Partridge and Orange step 10

10. Make a careful whip finish with three or four wraps of thread. Avoid letting the whip finish flatten the feather barbs.

Partridge and Orange step 11

11. Touch in the head with a couple of tiny drops of head cement.


Though this pattern has earlier roots the Partridge & Orange is first publicly defined amongst the patterns of the North Country School found in the work of T.E. Pritt, North Country Flies.


Early recipes for this pattern exclude the rib - it's certainly easier to tie without. John Veniard suggests tying a tapered body with floss. Other fly-dressers prefer the Partridge & Orange with a shorter body than illustrated here.

Further reading:

North Country Flies, 1886, Thomas Evan Pritt.

Brook and River Trouting, 1916, Harfield H Edmonds and Norman N Lee.

Fly Fishing: The North Country Tradition, 1994, Leslie Magee.

You can get these books and others through Amazon, The Flyfisher's Classic Library or Coch-y-Bonddu Books.