White Ghost – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

The White Ghost is almost totally unknown compared to its famous sister pattern, the Gray Ghost. The Gray Ghost is the most well-known, most famous, and most enduring streamer pattern ever created. That sales and popularity record belonging to Carrie Stevens will quite likely never be replaced. Both patterns are identical in every way, except for the color of the wing.

I wrote a post a few months back about the curious and interesting omission of the white throat component on the Gray Ghost. Going back as far back as 1950, three books at least that I am aware of, described and discussed the white hackle throat on the Gray Ghost in the text portion, but yet for some strange reason, all three books failed to include the white hackle fibers as part of the written pattern recipe. Of course, the white throat is part of the pattern for the Gray Ghost. It makes complete sense that Carrie Stevens would have duplicated all the components on both of these related patterns. Though I realize most Gray Ghosts tied over these many decades were tied without the white throat. I say better late than never to make the correction. To read my original post on this topic go to: https://donbastianwetflies.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/gray-ghost-white-ghost/

The books that discuss the white hackle throat on the Gray Ghost, but yet omit the component in the written recipe are: Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing, 1950, by Joesph D. Bates; Trolling Flies for Trout and Salmon, 1982, by Dick Stewart and Bob Leeman; and Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies, 2000, by Graydon and Leslie Hilyard. Hilyard’s book even has a sequence of photographs of tying the  Gray Ghost step-by-step, with the white hackle throat, but it’s not in the written pattern recipe in the same book. I’m not busting on anyone for these oversights, and I have no explanation for why or how this happened. All I know is that it happened. I find it interesting, and also I feel obligated to get this right. I’m sort of a stickler for detail and accuracy when it comes to fly patterns.

Here is the White Ghost:

White Ghost - size #@1 - 8x long - Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamer hook.

White Ghost – size #1 – 8x long – Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamer hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

White Ghost

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Orange floss

Underbelly: Four to six strands of peacock herl, followed by white bucktail, both as long as the wing

Underwing: Golden pheasant crest, as long as the wing, curving downward. I prefer this order of tying in, my personal feeling is to tie in the golden pheasant crest underwing before the throat.

Throat: White hackle fibers, then a shorter golden pheasant crest curving upward

Wing: Four white hackles

Shoulders: Silver pheasant body feathers

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black with an orange band

To view or purchase Don Bastian’s Carrie Stevens Collector’s Edition Set No. 5 featuring the White Ghost visit: http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-5-P772.aspx

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Victory – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

Rounding out the quartet of patriotic streamer patterns created by Carrie Stevens during World War II is the Victory. The other three patterns are the America, Casablanca, and General MacArthur. All four have heads banded in red, white, and blue. The Victory is the only pattern among the four with a floss body, the other three have tinsel bodies. These patterns exemplify Carrie Stevens’s business acumen and entrepreneurial talent. Besides creating fly patterns that fed the egos of many of her husband’s guiding clientele, she created patterns that caught fish too. By the mid-1930’s, 49 percent of the patterns recorded in the Upper Dam House record book – which required a weight of at least three pounds for entry, were Stevens streamer flies.

Victory - size

Victory – size #2 – 8x long Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamer hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Victory

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Tail: Red hackle fibers

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Underbelly: White bucktail

Throat: Red hackle fibers

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

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Three equal bands of red, white, and blue thread

To view or purchase Don Bastian’s Collector’s Edition Set of Carrie Stevens Patriotic patterns visit: http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-3-P730.aspx

Shang’s Special – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

The Shang’s Special rounds out the three streamer patterns created by Carrie Stevens and named after family friend Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler. The Shang’s Special is unique with its wing of long jungle cock feathers. In fact, dare I say Carrie Stevens was probably the first fly tier to employ the use of jungle cock feathers for the wing of a streamer pattern. The six-pound thirteen ounce record brook trout Carrie caught in July 1924 was recorded in the Upper Dam House log book as being caught on a fly named Shang’s Go-Get ‘um. Contrary to popular belief, she did not catch this trout on a Gray Ghost. The fly hooked in the jaw of the mounted trophy, done by taxidermist Herbert Welch, and presented to Shang Wheeler is a Shang’s Special. There is no record of a Shang’s Go-Get ‘um among Carrie’s patterns. The Hilyard book speculates that perhaps Shang’s Go-Get ‘um was possibly the original name of Shang’s Special. We will never know for sure. The Shang’s Special is a beautiful and unique streamer pattern. I admit I’ve never had one knotted to my tippet. Perhaps that should change.

hang's Special - size #4 - 8x long- Gaelic Supreme Martinek

Shang’s Special – size #4 – 8x long- Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style Streamer hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Shang’s Special

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Underbelly: White bucktail

Underwing: Four to six strands peacock herl

Throat: White hackle fibers

Wing: A complete jungle cock feather equal in length to the underbelly and underwing

Shoulders: A red dyed duck or chicken breast feather

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Red with a black band

To view or purchase Don Bastian’s Carrie Stevens Collector’s Edition Set No. 2 of the three Charles E. Wheeler streamer patterns visit: http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-2-P690.aspx

Charles E. Wheeler – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

The Charles E. Wheeler is one of three streamer patterns that Carrie Stevens created and named after family friend, Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler. He was a client of Carrie’s guide husband Wallace, and he was also instrumental in the start of Carrie’s fly tying career. In fact Carrie may have never started tying flies had it not been for the influence and encouragement of Shang Wheeler.

Charles E. Wheeler

Charles E. Wheeler – Size #2 – 8x long Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Streamer hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Charles E. Wheeler

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Underbelly: White bucktail

Underwing: Four to six strands peacock herl

Throat: White hackle fibers

Wing: Four dark gray hackles

Shoulders: A barred teal breast feather, then a red dyed duck or chicken breast feather about half the length of the barred teal

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black with a red band

Shang’s Favorite – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

Carrie Stevens created three streamer patterns for her friend Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler. It was Shang who in 1920, gave Carrie some long shank hooks, deer hair, and feathers and basically encouraged her to try her hand at tying flies. Not to use an oft-quoted and overused line, but I will: The rest as they say, is history. The three patterns she named after Shang are the Charles E. Wheeler, Shang’s Favorite, and Shang’s Special. Mr. Wheeler must have loved the color red, because all three flies have the common ingredient of red dyed duck or chicken breast feathers for shoulders. Together they make a beautiful trio of streamer patterns.

Shang Wheeler was an expert decoy carver, and never sold his work. He won the amateur division of the New York Sportsman’s Show decoy carving contest twelve years in a row. Whenever his decoys come on the market today, they bring ten’s of thousands of dollars. He also wrote the poem White-Nose Pete, and made the trout head carving of the same name.

I also note this is another pattern with an ingredient discrepancy in the written recipe in the Hilyard Carrie Stevens book. The Shang’s Favorite in that book was tied by Carrie, and the throat on her fly is not white, but clearly grizzly. I have made the correction here.

Shang's Favorite

Shang’s Favorite – size #1 – 8x long – Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Streamer hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Shang’s Favorite

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Underbelly: White bucktail

Underwing: Four to six strands peacock herl

Throat: Grizzly hackle fibers

Wing: Four natural grizzly hackles

Shoulders: A red dyed duck or chicken breast feather

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black with a red band

Red Devil – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

Carrie Stevens created three streamer flies in her series of  “Devil” patterns. The Blue Devil, White Devil, and Red Devil. All three have the common component of shoulders of “partridge,” meaning ruffed grouse body feathers. Each also has a two-color throat, though the written recipe in the Hilyard Carrie Stevens book for the Red Devil lists only the red hackle fibers, but blue hackle fibers in addition to the red are clearly visible on the sample pattern in the Hilyard Carrie Stevens book, tied by Leslie Hilyard.

Red Devil - size #4

Red Devil – size #4 – 8x long Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamer hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Red Devil

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Red floss

Underbelly: White bucktail

Underwing: Four to six strands of peacock herl

Throat: Red hackle fibers, then blue hackle fibers

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

Shoulders: Ruffed grouse brown and white barred body feathers

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black with an orange band

Golden Witch – Carrie Stevens Streamer Pattern

The Golden Witch is a Carrie Stevens pattern that shares its design with the Demon. The only difference between the two patterns is the shoulders; golden pheasant tippet on the Golden Witch, and Amherst pheasant on the Demon. Mrs. Stevens created a good number of patterns with grizzly hackles in the wing. The Golden Witch is one of the more well-known.

Golden Witch -

Golden Witch – Size #2 – 8x long Gaelic Supreme Martinek / Stevens Rangeley Style streamer hook. Tied and photographed by Don Bastian.

Golden Witch

Tag: Flat silver tinsel

Ribbing: Flat silver tinsel

Body: Orange floss

Underbelly: White bucktail

Underwing: Four to six strands of peacock herl

Throat: Grizzly hackle fibers

Wing: Four natural grizzly hackles

Shoulders: Golden pheasant tippet

Cheeks: Jungle cock

Head: Black with an orange band

I added the separate component listing for the underwing; this is because if tying in Rangeley / Stevens style, as opposed to Eastern style, the underwing should be attached before tying in the throat, and directly above the mounting position for the bucktail underbelly. Carrie Stevens applied the throats on her patterns in layers, as streamer guru Mike Martinek describes a process of “shingling.” This Golden Witch specimen has five or six layers of hackle fibers; small bunches of grizzly hackle fibers that start about 1/4 inch behind the head.

The Golden Witch, White Ghost, Demon, and Red Devil are available in a Collector’s Edition Set:  http://www.myflies.com/Carrie-Stevens-Streamer-Patterns-Collectors-Edition-Set-No-5-P772.aspx