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The Ljusdal Series

On a grey and dreary day I was skimming through the pages of “Sportfiskelexikon” 1972 by Nils Färnström, a two hundred page publication containing important as well as insignificant items. When I got to the letter “L” I stopped short. Under the heading: “Ljusdalsflugan” I read:

“Ljusdalsflugan is the common name for a series of wet-flies designed by Johnny Andersson, all in simple colour combinations and equipped with cock- rather than hen-hackle around the shoulder area making them more alluring when jerked”.



I wanted to know more about the designer of this series, but after two weeks and a small fortune in telephone calls, I was right back where I started. Not one of my “human encyclopaedias” around the country offered any help. The mystery was eventually solved a few months later through a request on the local radio. This man, Johnny, whom I had come to regarded almost a myth, suddenly became an ordinary person with a home address and telephone number.




Johnny grew up in the shadow of Hårgaberget, a mountain in the province of Hälsingland, near the place where the devil himself, disguised as a fiddler, lured the dancers into frenzy – all ending in disaster. Towards the end of the fifties Johnny moved to Ljusdal, where he got a taste for fly-fishing. No wonder, since just around the corner he had Ljusnan, a river teeming with fish. Grayling was his favourite, and equipment was a well balanced split cane rod and a well greased silk line.




Johnny tied his own flies, and soon discovered there was a niche waiting to be filled. Not only his fishing buddies and occasional acquaintances found his flies a good bet, but local shops catering to tourists showed interest. A few unemployed women were hired after a crash course in fly tying, and a new business was launched. Busy days lay ahead. Finding himself constantly looking at his watch, it was only natural to name the whole series after his trustworthy Certina. Certiflugan soon became a concept all through the Ljusnan river valley.




All flies were tied on No. 12 Mustad hooks and with the simplest possible materials, i.e. sewing thread and cock hackle. The sewing thread was easy enough to find, but the hackle was another story. Johnny was continually criss-crossing the district in order to find domestic cocks, which he bought live, beheaded and skinned. All material had to be dyed, and one might guess that white cocks became a rare sight in the region.




In the middle of the sixties Johnny sent a choice selection of his flies to Nils Färnström for testing. It turned out very well. Färnström evidently had great success with the Certi-flies and gave them thumbs up. Like many other wet flies, they are not imitations, but color combinations that by experience give the best results. The fly body consists of coarse black sewing thread, and the hackle, which may be plucked just about anywhere on the cape, is consistently snipped off to desired length.



This is the complete series, in order from left to right.

Name Body Hackle
Svarten Black Black
Myran Brown Brown
Vittlingen White White
Blåmesen Blue Black
Gulmesen Yellow Black
Grönmesen Green Black
Fimpen Pink Yellowish-red
Gråsiskan Grey Grey
Grönsiskan Green Yellow
Gulingen Yellow Yellow
Rödmesen Red Black




There are two dry flies, both with palmered and cropped hackle.

Svartsuggan. Body: Sewing thread. Hackle: Black and palmered
Gråsuggan. Body: Sewing thread. Hackle: Grey, palmered


Included in the series are seven nymphs. The body material is coarse sewing thread. The ribbing thread is always black. Below are the patterns:


Gråtösen: Grey, black ribbing.
Skärtösen: Pink, black ribbing.
Gultösen: Yellow, black ribbing.
Rödtösen: Red, black ribbing.
Blåtösen: Blue, black ribbing.
Svarttösen: Black, black ribbing.
Harrtösen: Peacock herl, black ribbing.






During a period of 2–3 years, Johnny produced and sold thousands of flies. Eventually his business plans took new direction and the company phased out. Nowadays Johnny is torn between two hobbies, fly-fishing and golf, a not unusual conflict. Apart from that, he dedicates himself to his family and his business, that of making mustard. “Johnny’s Home-made Mustard” has over the years added zest to countless pea soups and hotdogs all over the country.

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