Original Tier: Norman Edward Lee Means
Variation tied by: Ronn Lucas
Information by: Ed Gallop
The Bunyan Bug
(fly on right) is an original fly that was tied by Norman Edward Lee Means
in about 1945. Ronn Lucas is the proud owner of that fly.
The one on the left is one of Ronn's variations tied on an antique hook. It's obviously not intended to duplicate the original Bunyan Bug and it is not intended for fishing, although it could be. It is intended to be viewed as Ronn's special creative talent.
The hair is Elk mane and the body is a feather quill base, that was split to go round the hook and tied on. Then it was coated with a clear varnish. It is tied with a dubbed body and long shank hook and fished to represent large Stoneflies and/or Dragonflies. Of course, it's a big fly and can be a challenge to cast but, under the right conditions would be worth the effort.
Here is a close-up of the original taken by Ronn Lucas.
Norman Means (born 1899 in Davis, West Virginia) moved to Montana in 1921 where he studied forestry at the University of Montana. It was his forester career that contributed to the nickname of Paul Bunyan, the fictional lumberjack character. He created the " Bunyan Bug" fly in 1923, which was named using his nickname.
The Bunyan Bug was a popular local Montana favorite years ago and never gained wide recognition until mentioned in the famous movie set in that time and place, " A River Runs Through It". This may be an inspiration for you to take the challenge and tie this classic.
If you want to tie an authentic Bunyan Bug you can give the instructions below a try. It is the basic information provided in George Grant's 1981 book, "Montana Trout Flies".
He describes using a cork body the same length as the hook, whish is a #2 or #4 heavy wire about 1-1/4 inch long. The cork should be stained or painted deep orange. The segmented markings on the top and bottom are made with a black or dark brown permanent marker (I would use paint). The wings are made with blond or light sandy horse mane, inserted into the front body in a spent position. Make a slit into the body to insert the horse mane. Make a slit lengthwise so the body will fit on the hook shank so most of the body is on top. Be sure to use a good strong cement to attach the wing and body to ensure to keep it in place.
A strong thread, positioned on the hook before the body is attached to the shank, is now wrapped over the segments of the body to hold the body firmly on the hook. Coat the body with clear varnish.