General MacArthur

The General MacArthur streamer, was originated by Carrie G. Stevens of Upper Dam, Maine, during the early 1940’s. The posting of this streamer completes the “Patriotic Quartet” of four streamer patterns that she originated during World War II as her way to help support the war effort. General Douglas MacArthur, for whom this pattern is named, was the highest-ranking army general during World War II.

Carrie Stevens almost without argument can be credited with the distinction of being the first fly tier to create commemorative fly patterns. Even though many fly tiers in history created fly patterns and named them for their fishing friends, Carrie Stevens is almost certainly the first fly tier, the first woman fly tier, to elevate the commemorative streamer fly to the status it has acquired today. By the time she originated the General MacAuthur, she was already well-known in fly tying and fishing circles, thanks to the creation and popularity of her Gray Ghost.

General MacArthur – carded

General MacArthur – carded, a diagonal view. The hook is a size #1 – 8x long, Gaelic Supreme Martinek  Stevens Rangeley Streamer style.

General MacArthur

Hook: Any long shank streamer hook, tier’s discretion

Thread: I use white Danville color #1 – 3/0 monocord for the body work on the larger hook sizes of these streamers. *

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red, white, and blue hackle fibers, tied separately in sequence

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Throat: Red, white, and blue hackle fibers, tied separately in sequence

Wing: Two white hackles flanked on each side by one blue hackle flanked on each side by one natural grizzly hackle

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Red, white, and blue thread, the blue on this example is Danville’s discontinued 3/0 dark blue monocord. **

* Carrie Stevens used white buttonhole thread for her body work, as evidenced in the research of her tying methods by Austin S. Hogan, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was also the first curator of the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont.

** These thread colors are Danville #56 Red, #1 white, and blue, color number unknown. Both Danville blue threads; 3/0 monocord, and a medium blue that I luckily possess are no longer on their Nylon 6/0 color list. They list only a fluorescent blue, #507, but that is not the shade I have.

Carrie Stevens General MacArthur streamer; tied and photographed by Don Bastian. Size #1 – 8x long.

The four patriotic streamers are being offered for sale on just in time for America’s favorite patriotic holiday, the Fourth of July. God Bless America!

11 comments on “General MacArthur

  1. Kelly L says:

    Don, you have done an outstanding job on this series. Anyone would be proud to show this set off! This particular fly is one of my favorite Carrie S patterns. Beautiful, just BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for all that you do.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Kelly, hey there!
      Thanks for your due diligence in following my work. I am very grateful for your support and appreciation! I hope folks find this project (and others I do) interesting and enjoyable; to me the added information adds more interesting substance, as opposed to just a fly and the recipe. Thanks again!
      Stay Cool, TXGRL!

  2. Kelly L says:

    I agree. The history you show, along with the fly, and recipe, makes this a must see blog. I follow it very closely as you know. I try to learn the best I can. I applaud your efforts. I am probably one of your biggest fans too. 🙂

  3. Jack Devlin says:

    The General MacArthur:

    One of my all time favorite streamer patterns. So nicely done.
    Thank you.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Jack;
      Thank you so very much for your comment and appreciation of this pattern. It’s my favorite of the series, I believe due to the connection to the War, MacArthur’s service record and accomplishments, and the history of the time period…it’s all interesting. Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you like the fly!

  4. eunanhendron says:

    Great final fly of the set. Thanks for posting. I was hoping you would as I didn’t have the materials list for all the flies (no book). But that got set straight at the weekend, so now, along with my Bates book, I’ll be delving in to CS streamers in addition to wet flies and salmon flies. My vise will be burning hot this coming fall and winter….


    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Eunan;
      I am glad you liked the final addition to the Carrie Stevens Patriotic Streamer Set. I am really enjoying tying these, perhaps with a renewed interest because I recently learned more specifics of her tying methods, spurred by my visit in June to the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont. Part of the display, A Graceful Rise, a tribute to women in fly fishing and fly tying, was devoted to Carrie Stevens. There were posters made from photographs of Austin Hogan’s notes on Carrie’s methods, written during the 1960’s. I took photos of these pages. I also had a nice conversation with Mike Martinek Jr. last week. Mike is an authority on Rangeley / New England / traditional streamers of Maine, Massachusetts,Connecticut, New Hampshire, even southern Quebec where these flies were developed and fished. Martinek almost single-handedly started the present streamer revolution back in the 1980’s. Mike has Austin Hogan’s original notes on Carrie Stevens tying methods, so he should know, in addition to his decades of fly tying experience.
      I’ve been experimenting with the change in tying and playing with a few methods of my own as I go, kind of “winging it.”
      I am also going back through the streamers that were part of the (dismantled in March) Carrie Stevens collaboration project I did last summer / fall with fellow tier Sharon Wright; re-doing all the heads that I used colored lacquer to finish. They need it. What a difference a good makes on a fly.
      I am working on a number of new ideas to expand this interest.
      Eventually I’ll post some comparison photos of the same pattern, tied the way I used to, and with the changes in technique. Carrie didn’t tie in all the material at the head, but this is unclear in the Carrie Stevens…Hilyard book. It’s fun!
      You are really enthusiastic about fly tying! Don’t burn your fingers on those hot vise jaws!
      Have a great Fourth of July!

  5. Terry Chapman says:

    Don, I’ve enjoyed looking at this recent set of Carrie Stevens flies! I think it’s because I’m a sucker for lots of red,white, and blue. They “catch” me every time.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Thank you Terry;
      I appreciate your comments on the Patriotic theme, just in time for July 4th! Thank you very much for your comment! Glad you like the flies!

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