About Bob Quigley

“Bob Quigley is widely considered the guru of West Coast spring creek fly design. His patterns including such standards as the Quigley Cripple, Paranymph, and Loopwing Parachute, have proven to be the foundation upon which many other innovative tiers have built. I was fortunate to have spent several years guiding northern California’s superb river during Bob’s tenure there, and came away a better angler and tier for the experience.”

Mike Mercer
The Redding Fly Shop


 

Bob QuigleyI started fishing at a very young age with my dad, exploring the coastal mountains surrounding the Santa Clara Valley, fifty miles south of San Francisco. Family vacations and weekends were spent outdoors, where fascination with nature’s creatures captured my constant attention. At the ripe old age of ten, much to the relief of my two sisters, my passion for tying flies over-showed my interests in collecting lizards and spiders. My mom, a creative, artistic woman was always very supportive and interested in my fly fishing destinations. I started selling flies at fourteen and was able to spend most of the summer months trout fishing across Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Upon graduating form high school, I enrolled in fisheries biology at Humbolt State University. Spending three years attending classes and fishing the surrounding northern California coastal steelhead streams furthered my fishing knowledge and experiences. During one summer break, a long-time fishing friend approached me about tying some flies for Fall River and Hat Creek. I was teaching fly-tying classes at a local fly shop, and was glad to oblige him. Several weeks later he returned with some very handsome photos of trophy-sized browns and rainbows. The following weekend found me pulling up to the banks of Fall River. A modest fishing lodge called Arleta's. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was eventually to become my place of residence.

After several years of traveling, fishing and teaching fly-tying, I treated myself to a few weeks vacationing on Fall River, tying and fishing the local hatches. When the time came to leave this magnificent spring creek, my life long attraction for fly-fishing possessed me to stay. I arranged modest accommodations with the local lodge owner, beginning a lifetime dream of having my fly rods and tying bench only footsteps form the waters edge of the touted spring creek. I spent two years fashioning flies and exploring local waters.

Fall River Fly Shop opened the first day of trout season, 1976. I soon found myself busy guiding the many customers coming to the lodge to fish the spinner fall and hatches that existed outside my front door. Many of these clients were, you might say, a little longer in the tooth than myself, so seeing the smaller parachute patterns size 16 and smaller was tough not only on them, but frustrating for the guide as well.

The clear, slow, placid waters of Fall River afforded trout ample time to inspect the artificial. To make matters even tougher, they had literally thousands of mayflies to choose from. If a fly’s wing were not perfectly matched to the naturals, the trout would pay no attention to it. After various experiments, I started tying just the outline of the wing with poly yarn another materials consequently naming the pattern a Looping Paradun. It worked great! Clients could easily see the imitation and the trout loved it, many times preferring it over the naturals. The success of this pattern spread—soon anglers were traveling great distances just to purchase a handful of these flies.

Spring creek fishing and flies became increasingly popular, as did the discussions of the day’s frustrations when patterns didn’t produce. It became apparent the emerging stages of mayfly hatches produced finicky trout. Guides and clients became increasingly frustrated at large trout refusing their offerings, while gluttonously stuffing themselves on emerging duns. This hunted me for several years, until I realized the trout were taking a combination of one-half nymph and one-half dun. In 1978 I fashioned a fly to imitate this stage, and called it a Quigley Cripple. It was an instant killer on Fall River and Hat Creek, and is a standard in the fly world today, twenty-five years later. There is now a new version of the pattern—a split-wing rendition I call a Fluttering Quigley Cripple.

The intriguing aspect of fly-fishing is that we are always learning—we never have all the answers all the time. This attraction keeps us keen and always ready to return with enthusiasm to our sport. This challenge has inspired me to continue developing patterns over the years. Paranymphs and the new Hackle Stacker series of flies have been added to an ever increasing list of flies that I now market through Idylwilde Fly Company. Along with developing flies for fisherman, I presently conduct tying seminars and slide lectures about my years on innovating patterns and traveling. I now live in Ashland, Oregon and spend considerable time steelhead fishing. I’m also marketing a new Artistic, photo-imaging, life-like duplication of framed flies tied by Paul Miller and myself. These creative fly displays adorn interior design themes of individual homes, lodges, businesses, hotels and restaurants.

Even though I no longer live on Fall River, I still return to experience and learn from the challenging hatches and educated trout that inhabit this pristine spring creek.