Green Patriot

Charlie Meck, fly tying and fishing author of Pennsylvania, created an attractor dry fly pattern over sixteen or more years ago called the Patriot. Back about 1996 or ’97, I invited Charlie to go to Ontario to fish the Grand River with me, since my 1995 article, Ontario’s Grand River in Fly Fisherman magazine had been published, and was more or less my first step into fly tying and fishing notoriety. We were guests at my friend Rick Whorwood’s home in Stoney Creek, a suburb of Hamilton. My youngest daughter, Lyneah, went along to hang out with Rick’s daughter Nikki, since they are the same age. A fly shop in Waterdown, Grindstone Angling, arranged to have us both at the shop for a day. I would be presenting a fly tying demo and Charlie was signing books. The rest of the time we hung out with Rick, and mostly fished. I remember my daughter telling me after we got home, she didn’t see how anyone could talk about nothing but fishing, all during the five hour ride up. And then again on the way home. And there were no in-car video games, movies, or cell phones then, at least not for my kids. She survived though.

More or less going along with the infamous Green Weenie fly, that Charlie popularized with a looped-tail, I took the inspiration of Charlie’s Patriot and the known fact that fish love chartreuse and created the Green Patriot. Sort of like the Lime Trude, but more on the order of a Wulff. The Green Patriot is dressed just like the Patriot, except that it uses fluorescent green thread instead of red, and pearlescent Krystal-flash instead of the light blue of Charlie’s pattern.

On a day when we fished the Grand River, it was warm and sunny, not a good day for fishing as I recall. However the few trout that we did catch rose to the Green Patriot, which I started fishing because I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. Charlie later used it to great success on one of his western trips, and did very well with it. I used to sell them at shows back in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s. I even had the fly in my Millennium Catalog, but my focus kind of shifted about the time Forgotten Flies was released, and the fly sort of faded into obscurity. That is until my friend Roger, whom I met over twenty years ago, recently contacted me and wanted to order some fishing flies. Roger wanted attractor drys for a small stream that he fishes. I suggested the Delaware Adams Wulff and a floating green inchworm pattern, and then before I shipped his order I remembered the Green Patriot.

I tied up a half-dozen and added them to his flies. Below is a photo and recipe of the Green Patriot.

The Green Patriot, an original attractor dry fly pattern created by Don Bastian as a variation of Charlie Meck’s Patriot. This is a size #12. There is a little hackle butt that can’t be trimmed any closer.

Green Patriot

Hook: Standard dry fly hook size #10 – #16

Wings: White calf body hair; white thread is used to set, divide, and post the wings

Thread: Danville 6/0 Flymaster #504 Fluorescent Green

Tail: Brown hackle fibers

Body: Fluorescent green tying thread; the rear and front-third of the body is formed with pearlescent Krystal-flash wrapped over the thread

Hackle: Brown

See my article on the Delaware Adams Wulff and making Wulff-type wings.

Below is a photo of the half-dozen:

A half-dozen size #12 Green Patriots. Originated, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian.

The Green patriot is a good small-stream searching and attractor pattern. These days in many of our catch-and-release waters, having new and different fly patterns sometimes turns the edge in our favor.


I am adding another of the four patriotic streamer flies originated by Carrie Stevens during World War II. They are the America, Casablanca, General MacArthur, and Victory. This is the America.

The America streamer pattern, designed by Mrs. Carrie G. Stevens of Maine, as part of a series of four patterns she created during World War II as her way of generating support for the war effort. This hook is a Gaelic Supreme, English-made size #1 – 8x long Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.


Hook: Any brand of long shank streamer hook will do.

Thread: White Danville 3/0 Monocord. When 3/0 monocord is used it should be specified as such, since Danville also makes a size B monocord

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: White hackle fibers

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Throat: White hackle fibers

Wing: Two white hackles flanked on each side by one red hackle, flanked on each side by one blue hackle

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Red, white, and blue – Danville Flymaster 6/0 #56 red, #1 White, and blue 3/0 monocord, which is a discontinued color.

The head cement I am presently using is Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails. It takes 5 – 6 coats to eliminate the thread tracks. It’s nice and clear and smooth. I have some Grif’s Thick that I might try, but that head cement is no longer manufactured. I am using these cements because Wapsi Gloss Coat, which I initially loved for its quick-building, smooth,shiny finish, with no bubbles. It turned out to be a disappointment because it gets blotchy and gray after a couple months, even when I used the proper Wapsi Gloss Coat Thinner, after having the problem initially when I used lacquer thinner. The Gloss Coat did not improve its performance even when I used the correct thinner. Any cement or adhesive made specifically for fly tying that does not meet my standards will not have a place on my tying bench. However, I still use the gloss coat if I am finishing it with black Pro-Lak or other colors of head lacquer.

Classic streamer devotees prefer to replicate these flies on heritage style hooks such as Mustad 3665A, 94720, and 7957 return-loop eye hooks, or on classic replications such as the Gaelic Supreme hooks. The Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style hooks are actually made using an antique hook provided to Grahame Maisey of Belvoirdale / Gaelic Supreme by noted streamer authority, Michael Martinek, Jr. of Massachusetts, a good many years ago. The manufacturer in England certified that the hook Mike provided was a pre-War vintage Allcock, made by his father who worked for Allcock, and was a non-cataloged long-shank hook that Carrie Stevens special-ordered from Allcock.

Below is a photo of a carded America.

The America streamer, carded on traditional packaging card I had made about eight or nine years ago.

And another, a horizontal image:

The America streamer, a Carrie Stevens pattern, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

I have a few hundred of these cards yet, though the phone number is no longer mine; I just figure that will change when I have new ones made.


This Carrie Stevens pattern was originally included in another post I wrote last August;

This Victory is more recently tied, and I am experimenting with a different type of set up for the photos, placing the fly upright rather than flat against a background. This allows me to play with depth-of-field, which can place more emphasis on the fly. This fly is another addition to my Carrie Stevens Pattern Dictionary. Below is the Victory:

Victory – Carrie Stevens pattern, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

The Victory

Thread: White Danville 3/0 monocord for the body.

Carrie Stevens used white buttonhole thread for her body work. I discovered that while visiting the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont on June 13, 2012. Part of the present display, A Graceful Rise, a tribute to women in fly tying and fishing, included photos of Austin Hogan’s notes and drawings that he painstakingly made in the early 1960’s of Carrie’s fly tying methods. I also recently learned from Mike Martinek that Austin actually deconstructed some of Carrie’s streamers to validate his work. Later on Mike became friends with Austin, and together the two of them also deconstructed some of Carrie’s patterns. He told me they had a few with hook points broken off, or were missing a cheek, etc. The use of the buttonhole thread is just one of the discoveries I made there. I know I am going to keep everyone in suspense, but I’m will reveal this information at a later date, after I’ve had time to study it more thoroughly.

Hook: This pattern is dressed on a Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer Hook. Any long shank streamer hook may be used.

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red hackle fibers, about equal to hook gape

Rib: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Belly: White bucktail

Throat: Red

Wing: Two light blue hackles flanked on each side by one gray hackle

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Red, white, and blue, in that order back to front. I use Danville Flymaster 6/0 #47 red, #1 White, and Blue 3/0 monocord, which since it is not listed on the Danville Chenille Company web site, I assume is discontinued. I also have a couple spools of Danville Blue Flymaster 6/0 that is not their #507 flourescent blue. That must also be a discontinued color.

Victory – mounted, carded. I have loved this traditional style streamer and bucktail carded packaging ever since I saw it the first time thirty years ago. Nowadays we use plastic sleeves. Before that there was cellophane, and before that, in the days when Carrie Stevens, Herb Welch, Gardiner Percy of Percy Tackle Company, Bill Edson, Chief Needabah, and other Maine and New England fly tiers sold their streamers, the favored material in use was a wax paper-like substance called glassine.

There is just something classic about the look of carded streamers and bucktails.

Rattlesnake Bites

I was on my way back from town – Williamsport – early this afternoon, driving the detour on St. Michael’s Road from Old Rt. 15. I am forced to make this two-mile longer trip due to my usual route of Rt. 973 being closed due to replacement of an old metal overhead truss bridge on Lycoming Creek. I had not driven a quarter mile on the road, I was going maybe 25 mph, when I saw something with my car and I immediately recognized it as a snake. I straddled it, not figuring it was anything other than a road-killed black snake. Then I remembered my neighbor and Lycoming Creek fishin’ buddy, Jim, telling me that our other neighbor, has seen a few rattlesnakes in that area of St. Michael’s road. It’s little more than a mile from my home. In this section the road passes along the base of a wooded mountainous area, rather steeply-sloped toward the south-east. That exposure combined with the dappled sunlight created by a partially open tree canopy and lots of rocks creates perfect rattlesnake habitat.

I no sooner passed over it when the thought occurred to me – was that a rattlesnake? I stopped and put the car in reverse. Not much traffic on the road, usually. When I got beside it and opened the door, sure enough, it was a rattlesnake, a smaller one about two feet long. Apparently a vehicle that passed by not long before me had hit it in the rear third of its body. No details but it was still alive, almost appearing dead, but not quite. I looked at it for a minute, wishing I had my camera with me – the eastern timber rattlesnake is not that common, and then I drove on.

The last one I saw was five years ago right here at my house, in my driveway. I never saw it until I got out of the car one morning, opened the trunk, got something out and with my mail in one and hand and whatever in the other, I started toward the back door. Then I heard the “buzz.” It was five feet from me, right on open gravel beside my patio. Startled I was! As I instinctively backed up it slithered into a corner landscaped area of shrubs and flowers between the patio and garage. Skipping the details of the next minute, (I usually have loaded firearms in the house); it was a large black rattlesnake that measured 44″. The mid-section of its body was as large as my forearm.

My father-in-law had lived in this area all his life, then at age 82, and he said it had been decades since a rattlesnake was seen where we lived “in the valley.” In the mountains a mile distant, another story, not common, but if one were to go looking for them one could probably find one.

In 2004 my wife and I encountered another rattlesnake while biking one evening on the Pine Creek Rail-Trail just above the village of Blackwell. Prior to that, I was still in high school when I had last seen a rattlesnake.

Where does that fit in with fishing? Well, some area streams keep the more timid anglers among us away just by the word that a number of rattlesnakes have been seen. Slate Run, possibly Cedar Run, both tributaries  to Big Pine Creek, to name a couple. Just ask Tom Finkbeiner, owner of The Slate Run Tackle Shop, and he’ll show you plenty of rattlesnake photos.

This also ties in with my recent posts and discussions of Elizabeth Benjamin, a 19th century fly tier from Ralston, Pennsylvania; my recent evening fishing trips to Lycoming Creek, and from referencing the 1879 book, Bodines or Camping on the Lycoming, by Thad S. Up De Graff, which I pulled off my bookshelves to see if any information on Elizabeth Benjamin was in his book. I discovered a paragraph on the treatment of rattlesnake bites. That, combined with my encounter yesterday have spurred me to write this post.

I wanted to conclude by presenting the paragraph written by author Thad S. Up De Graff, MD., from Elimra, New York; the author of Bodines, who gives his “medical” advice for treatment of a rattlesnake bite. The guy should know, right? He was a doctor, and had spent ten years, camping and fishing for a month each time on Lycoming Creek below the village of Ralston.

Quoting the good doctor Up De Graff:

“Rattlesnake bites are best treated by applying a cloth saturated with liquor ammonia over the bite, and immediately administering large doses of whiskey. Let the patient (I love how he refers to the bite victim as the patient ), drink all he will hold, or until intoxication is induced. Many physicians doubt the efficacy of this treatment, but I have seen it employed in several instances and am confident of its success. It acts upon perfectly scientific principles, sustaining the nervous system under the shock induced by the poison.”

I’d say it might be better to watch your step while fishing or traveling on foot along streams or to and from the stream when in areas of rattlesnake habitat, and never place your hands in an area you can not see. Otherwise you might have to get drunk.

Kids: Don’t try these perfectly scientific principles at home.

I drove back up a half hour later to hopefully get a decent photo I could use here; rattlesnakes are beautiful in their own way, but the poor snake had been de-rattled and run over a few more times.

The View From Wantastiquet Lake, Vermont

The View from Wantastiquet Lake, Vermont, is something that I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy on two occasions during the last eight months. My friend, Quill Gordon, the caretaker at The Wantastiquet Lake Trout Club near Weston,Vermont, has a blog titled The View From Fish in a Barrel Pond. It’s on my blog list on the right, but also here:  The View… is always good reading; often humorous, sometimes side-splitting funny, usually entertaining, always interesting, and contains various insights covering a multitude of the aspects of a remote camp caretaker’s interactions with humans / local government / anglers / responsibilities / sporting camp visitors / nature / and trout. It is well worth checking out, perhaps even posting it to your favorites. In addition to today’s post on The View…, if you need your spirits lifted, check out; “Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Howler.”

If you do, better pee first, you may just wet your pants laughing. It’s very much akin to a Pat McManus outdoor tale.

Yesterday Quill wrote a post that at first I thought was all about bugs. In large part it was, but not entirely. He has some really great macro images of a “hex” dun (Hexagenia limbata mayfly), moths, damsel flies, etc. Here’s my favorite bug photo:

Luna Moth Convention near Weston, Vermont, at a camp on The Wantastiquet Lake Trout Club, where I recently visited. If you’ve never seen a Luna Moth, these things have a wingspan of four inches. “Quill Gordon” photo.

I have only ever seen two or three Luna Moths in my entire life, and one of these was on June 12th at the camp in Vermont.

I visited the Wantastiquet Lake Trout Club a couple weeks ago as a guest of Steve, Dick, and Bill, mentioned in Quill’s post. I had a great time, caught lots of trout, most all on drys, some on buggers, and two nice rainbows on a Trout Fin wet fly. I need to load and post my photos and my own report of that trip. But these pictures and the following text were taken from Quill’s post. I thought you would find them enjoyable.

“I admit it would have to be a pretty special set of circumstances for some of those big moths or their caterpillars to wind up in the water, but you can bet a trout would eat them if they did. Mayflies and damselflies, on the other hand, are eaten by fish at all stages in their lives and one of the most challenging aspects of fly fishing is coming up with a suitable imitation. I am not a rotten fly tier (“tier” vs. “tyer”; discuss below) but, while I may play around and try a few new patterns over the winter, I certainly don’t sit down and whip off a few dozen of anything, even if it is claimed the trout will eat them “like candy”. Of course, what we anglers present is more like the Halloween candy they warned us about when we were kids — the kind with a razor blade in it — but we anglers don’t like thinking about that, do we?  I’m the kind of guy more likely to gaze at the water in late afternoon, take a guess, and tie up three or four flies I think might work that evening. If I’m lucky I’ll finish before dark and actually get on the water with my concoctions. If I’m really lucky, someone else will sit down and tie some flies for me.”

“A couple of weeks ago that someone was Don Bastian. Don has fished here before and knows my super-secret true identity. He is also a good sport, taking a good-natured ribbing as well as anyone I’ve met and, as it turns out, he is also a pretty good angler. Don and I shared a boat one evening last week, fishing a yellow drake hatch that came off just as nicely as a hatch can on these waters, using a couple of extended-body patterns Don tied before we went out. The fish were feeding close to the bank and we each hooked up on nearly every cast. Bird song and the sound of slurping trout filled the air as we drifted along the shore in the fading light until only a thrush remained, serenading us from fifty feet away. Eventually, even the thrush went to bed and, as the other boats headed in, I lost my fly and reeled up my line but Don kept right on fishing. I have a feeling that if the hatch hadn’t shut down and full-on dark set in we’d still be out there now.”

Quill, I only stopped fishing because I was a guest and everyone else was done for the night. I wanted to “fit-in.” :mrgreen: I remember that night, so many trout! My favorite was when we both saw those two rises, two fish feeding close together, you made your cast, I was mid-cast in a different direction and instantly changed my angle of stroke to punch my Yellow Drake Dun pattern six feet from yours. It was classic! A second apart, slurp, slurp, two trout took both our flies for a double hook-up.

The song of that hermit thrush was especially memorable, so close to us, the sound of its ethereal voice echoing eerily through the otherwise silent stillness of the deepening gloom of night. Thank you for sharing that evening with me.

After the evening fishing, I was tying (using head cement) at the station shown below until about eleven PM.

My screen porch tying station, June 2012 at Wantastiquet Lake. First time in my life that I ever tied on a screen porch. Lovely! I had set this up on my arrival Monday afternoon, and tied up ten Extended-body Yellow Drakes before the evening fishing. Five of each, parachutes and spinners, so that everyone would have two flies to fish with. In fact, one of them is still in the jaws of my vise. Quill Gordon photo, used without permission. 😉

“Above: A well-stocked fly tying station in late afternoon on the porch of a camp, complete with vise, light, bobbins, thread, tinsel, scissors, etc. I have no idea how that beer got in there, but the Mason jar contained weapons-grade head cement thinner which just happened to be blackberry flavored in case someone got thirsty (we did). In the foreground is a full beaver pelt with enough fur to dub hundreds and hundreds of flies. I’m still learning about natural fur dubbing so I asked Don if he could do anything with it. In mere minutes, Don had half a dozen nymphs ready to go.”

I can explain the beer bottle; it’s pretty simple: I was drinking it. And the beaver pelt will dub thousands and thousands of flies.

My “Flying Bobbin.” I was using the full beaver pelt from an animal trapped on the lake this past winter by Quill to tie some Black Drake nymphs, and a few other creations. Quill Gordon photo.

Beaver fur nymphs. I tied these except for the one at lower left. Not sure how that one slipped in there. Perhaps Quill applied a little too much of the blackberry-flavored head cement thinner. The one at lower right employed the use of beaver fur in a split-thread dubbing loop. Quill caught a couple trout on that one. It’s entirely beaver fur, tail of guard hairs, abdomen and thorax – beaver fur. Quill Gordon photo.

Application of some of the weapons-grade head cement thinner described above “enhanced” the tying of these nymphs.

Extended-body Yellow Drake Parachute Dun, Ephemera varia imitation. Pattern design concept, tied by, and photographed by Don Bastian. This dun pattern and a spinner were part of a batch of ten that I tied on the afternoon after my arrival at the Wantastiquet Lake Trout Club. They worked very well. Everyone caught trout on them. They held up remarkably well to more than ten-twelve or more trout per fly; I was nearing 20 myself. I finally lost my parachute pattern in a fish that was deeply hooked, and the spinner took over where the parachute left off. I’ll make a separate post of this fly and the recipe.

On my way back to Pennsylvania on June 13th, I had the opportunity to examine and photograph a Yellow Drake Dun in Ulster, Pennsylvania, about 11:30 PM. It was resting on a support post at a mini-mart when I stopped for gas. Since seeing that fly, I changed the brown thread rib on my pattern to yellow, because Yellow Drakes don’t have brown ribs, but they do have brown mottled markings on top of their abdomen. I have figured a way to incorporate these alterations into a more accurate representation, not that I needed to do that after the phenomenal success we all had with the patterns on The Lake, but the result is that this pattern, a prototype, has been improved. I’ll make a separate post of this prototype, the new fly, and the real one soon.

“I had a blast hanging out with Don (and Steve and Dick and Bill, who I see on a regular basis) and, even though his bobbin moves so fast it’s a blur, I picked up a few tricks and a lot of fly tying inspiration while Don was here.”

Be sure to visit The View…you’ll be glad you did.

Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern Assortment

These photos of fifteen different Carrie Stevens streamer patterns that I tied in March was initially posted in my Cabin Weekend Fly Tying Session dated March 11th. I am posting them separately here with only the patterns identified for inclusion in my developing Carrie Stevens Pattern Dictionary. Eventually the recipes will be posted with photos of the individual patterns as I continue working on this portion of my blog.

An assortment of Carrie Stevens streamer patterns, tied and photographed by Don Bastian. Left column: G. Donald Bartlett, Gray Lady, Rapid River, Don’s Special. Middle column: Lakewood, Larry’s Special, Don’s Delight, Larry. Right column: Lady Miller, Jenny Lind, Merry Widow.

Carrie Stevens streamer patterns. This represents her entire patriotic series of four patterns that she created during World War II.
Upper right – two of the Casablanca; center left – two Victory; upper right – three of the General MacArthur, and across the bottom, four of the America. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Hooks are all Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamers, sizes range from #1 – 8x long to #4 – 6x long.





Delaware Adams Wulff

About ten years ago, I took the Delaware Adams fly, see  originally created by Walt Dette as a cross between the Henryville Special and the Adams, and “Wulff-ized” it.

One of my favorite Wulff patterns, in fact, my favorite attractor / searching dry pattern has been the Ausable Wulff. When I first tied the Delaware Adams a dozen or more years ago for a custom order, I thought at the time that the palmered hackle of the Delaware Adams and the white wings of the Wulff would make a great combination for an attractor pattern, and a more visible and better-floating one at that.

I tied up a dozen back then and fished them with great success, eventually losing or giving them away, and never tied anymore, but I also never publicized the pattern variation until now. A friend recently placed an order for some attractor drys to use on a local wild-trout stream that he fishes. After we conversed via e-mail for a couple days about patterns, in response to his inquiries on original patterns I had created, I suddenly remembered the Delaware Adams Wulff.

Here it is:

Delaware Adams Wulff, originated, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Here is a front view of the divided wings:

Front view showing divided wings on the Delaware Adams Wulff

About 15 years ago, while tying commercially and for custom orders, I noticed some Royal Wulffs that were tied with red thread. They looked good, but the thread, posted around the base of the wings, made these (ugly, I thought, at the very least unattractive) little red circles, very noticeable, and somewhat distracting when you looked at the fly. Do the trout care? Quoting Jerry Seinfeld, “Not bloody likely!” But I’m particular about my tying and the appearance of my flies, and at that time I decided to start using white thread for all my white calf body and tail hair-wing postings. I also began making them up ahead, half-finished flies, setting the wings on a 1/2 dozen, dozen, or 5 dozen hooks, getting that portion of the procedure finished on a sort of assembly line process. You can see that this also creates a nicely-tapered under body, which is always a good foundation for the rest of the fly. A drop of head cement is applied at the base of the wing wraps.

The white wings above can be used for any Wulff pattern; Royal, White, Gray, Grizzly, Ausable; Charlie Meck’s Patriot, and also the Delaware Adams Wulff.

Delaware Adams Wulff

Hook: Any standard dry fly hook, sizes #8 to #14

Thread: White Danville Flymaster 6/0 #1 White for setting and dividing wings. #60 Olive, #47 Tobacco Brown, or #31 Gray for the body tying

Wings: White calf body hair, stacked, tied in, and divided

Tail: Brown and grizzly hackle barbs mixed

Palmered body hackle: Grizzly, equal to hook gape distance, five equally-spaced wraps on body. Turn number six comes alongside of thorax where hackle will be tied in. Whiting saddle hackles are ideal for this use because of the consistent barb length

Body: Olive rabbit fur

Hackle: Grizzly and brown mixed

Delaware Adams Wulffs, by the dozen. Three each #10, #12, and #14, ready to go out for trout!

I have caught lots of trout on local creeks and streams on the Delaware Adams Wulff, and I also used it with success in Maine on the Roach River for brook trout and landlocked salmon. It’s a good rough-pocket-broken water pattern. Tie ’em and try ’em!


Delaware Adams

The Delaware Adams is a popular Catskill area attractor dry fly pattern created by legendary Catskill fly tier, Walt Dette, of Roscoe, New York. According to Eric Leiser’s book, The Dette’s, Walt created the Delaware Adams as a cross between two famous classic dry flies; the Adams and the Henryville Special.

I recently received a custom order for some attractor drys, and included in that order, a dozen of my original creation, a variation of the Delaware Adams, a fly I named the Delaware Adams Wulff. Along with tying and photographing the Delaware Adams Wulff, I thought I would also include the Delaware Adams.

Here is the Delaware Adams:

Delaware Adams, originated by Walt Dette, tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Delaware Adams, frontal view from hook eye.

Here is the pattern recipe:

Delaware Adams

Listed in order in which I tie them in:

Hook: Standard dry fly

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 – #60 Olive, #47 Tobacco Brown, or #31 Gray

Wings: Grizzly hen hackle tips, tied spent, Adams-style

Tail: Grizzly hackle barbs

Palmered body hackle: Grizzly, half-size of standard for normal hook size; equal to hook gape is a good built-in visual unit of measure

Body: Olive rabbit dubbing. I also apply dubbing – very sparingly- through the thorax under the hackle. This provides a soft base and prevent any hackle twisting; a George Harvey fly tying idea.

Hackle: Brown and grizzly mixed

The Delaware Adams is a good searching and attractor dry pattern. My original variation – the Delaware Adams Wulff, is (will be) posted in a separate topic. Use the search tab to locate any fly or topic of your interest here on my blog.

Fishin’ Three, No, Make that Four Days Straight

Fishin’ three four days straight. Not all day, but every evening. It’s tough, but someone has to do it.

When I first wrote this post, I thought I had it right. Fishing’ three days straight. Then I remembered yesterday that as soon as I got home from the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Heritage Day Event last Saturday, I was all hyped up and had to have a quick “fish fix.” So over the hill I went to Lycoming Creek. Jim was fishing on Penn’s Creek, so I went alone. I took 9 – 1 0 trout last Saturday evening. Now, continuing with my original post:

It was funny, yesterday afternoon about 4:00 PM, I was outside exercising Abigail, my Cocker Spaniel, while taking down laundry from the clothesline. I noticed that my neighbor and sometime fishing partner, Jim Latini, was in his yard. About 160 yards distant. Nevertheless, I hollered, “Hey!”

“What?” Jim replied.

“Are we fishin’ tonight?” I asked.

“Sure,” Jim answered.

“I was thinkin’, since it’s been cloudy all day that we should go earlier than seven o’clock.” Most of the neighbors within a half-mile could probably hear our voices, but we don’t have that many close neighbors.

“OK,” Jim agreed. “What time?” He asked.

“How about I pick you up at six?” I queried.

“Alright,” Jim answered back.

The evening fishing was on my heritage stream, Lycoming Creek, two nights in a row. Last Saturday I had gotten an e-mail from another friend, Mike, who lives below Trout Run, right on the banks of Lycoming Creek. This friend had taken two twenty-inch browns last Friday evening, not sure on what stream, but both fish were hooked on flies that had been part of his annual spring fly order from me; one on my Floating Caddis Emerger pattern, and the other on a Cornuta BWO Para-emerger. In Mike’s message, he noted, “Slate Drakes are the gift that keeps on giving on Lycoming Creek.” Indeed. I replied to him that since June 10th, my six trips to Lycoming Creek had been Slate Drake fishing exclusively except for a few trout taken on my Floating Inchworm pattern on June 14th.

It was overcast all day yesterday, and cloudy half the day today. I checked the flow rates on Big Pine Creek, the water temperatures are in the 60’s there, current flow at the Cedar Run USGS gauge is about 434 cfs, and we’re supposed to get a couple days with temps in the 90’s. That could warm the water in Big Pine Creek into the upper 70’s, putting an end to the practical trout fishing there for the summer. But, one never can predict the weather…

I just phoned Jim and explained to him that my thought of giving Big Pine Creek a shot this evening might be a good idea. He was in agreement, so I’ll be picking him up about 5:30 PM this evening. I still have a whole series of photos and a fishing report to post here from my best ever day on Big Pine Creek of May 17th, and the last two evenings on nearby Lycoming Creek. And two or three trips to Spring Creek.

19 inch Big Pine Creek brown, one of two large browns taken on May 17th on my Extended Body Slate Drake Thorax Dun pattern. The possibility of hooking into trout like this is why Jim and I decided to head to Big Pine Creek this evening. It’s a longer drive than going over the hill to Lycoming Creek, but sometimes you just gotta give in to the lure of more exotic fishing than your home waters.

Streamer Hackle Feathers, Part II

I just completed some editing, with new information added to an older post on Carrie Stevens’ Pink Lady streamer. I also placed that particular post in my Carrie Stevens Pattern Dictionary category. Here is a link to the updated post:

In this followup commentary to my earlier post of a couple days ago: Selecting Streamer Hackle, I have these comments to add to my initial topic on selecting feathers for streamer wings, and the exact type, shape, and origin of feathers that some fly tiers may think are supposed to be used on streamer fly patterns:

My post, Selecting Streamer Hackle, was an effort to present information to help other fly tiers make informed choices when examining and buying feathers for streamer wings. This was done in response to numerous questions I have received over the past few years on the subject. I presented my thoughts with the benefit of information gleaned, absorbed, and some forgotten, from almost five decades of personal experience of fly tying and fly fishing and reading and studying about fly tying, fly fishing, and the history of both. As an adolescent and teenaged fly tier, tying Gray Ghosts, Black Ghosts, the Colonel Bates, and a dozen other feather wing streamers and bucktails in hook sizes #4 through #12 for my personal fishing use, I was not concerned or even aware of, at the time, what the “correct” shape of feathers for streamers should be. I was concerned only with having feathers of any grade reasonably suitable to use. Lucky for me, E. Hille – The Angler’s Supply House, started business in 1936, operated in my hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Getting feathers was never a problem.

Proper feather selection for streamers seems to have only gained a foothold in fly tier’s personal preferences in the present electronic information age, perhaps initially set forth in the mid-1990’s by Mike Martinek Jr. in his booklet,  Streamer Fly Patterns for Trolling and Casting; made more difficult by decades of demand by fly tiers for better quality dry fly hackle with breeders focusing their hackle development accordingly.

In my Selecting Feathers post, I relied on my familiarity with Mike Martinek’s preference, and that echoed by author, David Klausmeyer, in his 2004 book, Tying Classic Freshwater Streamers. I could have posted the photo of the cover of Dave’s book to illustrate the “preferred” shape of a streamer feather. I didn’t have a photo then, but here it is now:

Cover image of Tying Classic Freshwater Streamers, by David Klausmeyer. The feather shape of this wing is pretty much what most present-day streamer tiers would prefer to use.

The photo of the “just right” saddle hackles feathers that was posted at the end of my initial post is pretty much a match for the shape of the feathers on this fly on the cover of David’s book. For fishing flies, do we need “perfect” feathers? Of course not. Fly tiers on the other hand; many of us devoted to pursuit of perfection in our tying pay strict attention to details and quality of the materials we use.

There are also many more excellent fly tiers, with years and years of experience, scattered across the world; to name just a few of the still-living tiers: Chris Del Plato, Darren MacEachern, Mike Boyer, Rich Connors, Bob Frandsen, Leslie Hilyard, Peter Simonson, Deryn LaCombe, Greg Heffner, Tom Baltz, Joel Stansbury, Ted Patlen, Mike Norwood, and the aforementioned Mike Martinek. There are surely many more accomplished fly tiers. This is not a who’s who listing, so omission of many relatively new, yet skilled tiers with less than say, five years experience, is not an oversight. I merely chose to include a few tiers with a decade or more of tying experience behind them.

The reproduction of the Carrie Stevens streamers in Forgotten Flies, 1999, by South American fly tiers, Pedro “Pep” Dieppa and Marcelo Morales, while not a true representation of the traditional Rangeley style of streamer tying; their work is nonetheless a superb and impeccable accomplishment, and is a representation of excellent quality and experience by master fly tiers.

Fly tiers inherently infuse pattern replication with their own personal style. It’s almost unavoidable. Some tiers make every effort to reproduce a fly in the exact tradition of a pattern originator, right down to minute details; others tie the fly for display or to catch fish with less emphasis placed on replicating the original design and style. Again, personal subjectivity enters the equation.

The following is excerpted from comments taken from the above post, from close study of the two Pink Lady streamers tied by Carrie Stevens and her fly tying sister, Elizabeth Duley:

“Finally, there is an obvious difference between these flies in the shape of the feathers used for the wings. Most Rangeley style streamer devotees have a strong preference for hackles that are not too wide and also not too long, not too narrow, and not too pointed, preferring more rounded hackles as on Elizabeth’s rendition of the Pink Lady. Carrie’s pattern here clearly utilized some hackles that are narrower and more pointed than what is usually recommended and preferred by experienced Rangeley style streamer fly tiers. This indicates her resourcefulness to use materials at hand, even if they are not of the preferred shape. Fly tiers have been making adaptations and adjustments in their tying for centuries.”

In the remote Rangeley Region of Maine, where Carrie Stevens lived and worked during the 1930’s, ’40’s, and ’50’s. She didn’t have a multitude of fly shops close at hand. Another consideration: the type and quality of feathers then was a little different than it is today.

Regarding other originators of “New England” style streamers; one has to say that with respect for the streamer fly history that is associated with Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and the rest of the New England states, these tiers had their own personal specifications for the length of wings, and the shape of the feathers for their original patterns. Joseph D. Bates book, Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing, 1950, 1966, 1995 was the first book written that began to compile the origins and history of “long flies.” It is a good reference and a great place to start learning about streamer fly history. There are other books too, right up to the new release, Long Flies, by Gary A. Borger. I do not have that book, yet, but I am sure it will eventually occupy a place in my angling library.

I have one more photo and some notes to add here to contribute additional information to this topic, but that will be an edit later on.