Classic Wet Fly Display – 483 Flies

Last Saturday I returned to Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, with my girlfriend, Mary Fortin. I wanted to show her the ten-frame set of classic wet flies that the owners purchased from me at the Fly Fishing Show in College Park, Maryland, in January of 2002. Tower Oaks opened in the fall of that year. We also coordinated our trip to visit a dear friend who is having health problems.

Since it has been twelve years since this collection of framed flies was placed on display, and considering that the last time I was there was in 2005, I was curious to see how they are holding up. From time to time I have friends and customers tell me they have seen the display, and they always have complimentary remarks. The wet fly collection from Ray Bergman’s book, Trout, was something I vowed I was one day going to do. This was back in 1974, and resulted when I tied my first-ever Parmacheene Belle, and mounted it in a frame for my dad’s birthday. I made this commitment to myself: “Someday I’m going to tie and frame all those flies.” That goal was a dream come true; first in replicating the entire collection of color plate wet flies for the book, Forgotten Flies, 2000, and then for Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Subsequently I have replicated this entire set two additional times for private collectors. The display at Tower Oaks is, as far as I know, the only location in the entire United States where the wet fly color plates from Ray Bergman’s 1938 book, Trout, have been reproduced and are on permanent display. Trout is the only fishing book ever written to remain continuously in print for more than fifty years, and is the most-published in that genre as well, having sold more than 250,000 copies in all its volumes and editions.

There are ten frames in the set; all flies are reproduced exactly in the order and number of the artist’s rendition, and according to the pattern recipes listed in the back of the book. The paintings were done by Dr. Edgar Burke, a close friend of Ray Bergman.

An accurate and historically correct reproduction of Henry P. Wells famous Parmacheene Belle. He originated the fly in 1876, naming it after Lake Parmacheene in Maine's Rangeley Lakes Region. This dressing is given by Wells in the 1883 book, Fishing With the Fly by Charles F. Orvis and A. Nelson Cheney.

An accurate and historically correct reproduction of Henry P. Wells famous Parmacheene Belle. He originated the fly in 1876, naming it after Lake Parmacheene in Maine’s Rangeley Lakes Region. This dressing is given by Wells in the 1883 book, Fishing With the Fly by Charles F. Orvis and A. Nelson Cheney.

The Parmacheene Belle above was tied in traditional blind eye style, with a snelled double leader; a “bite-guard,” doubled at the head, as they were sometimes called. The wings are also tied in traditional reversed style. You can see the but ends of the wings which were tied in facing forward, then pulled back over. This makes for a garish-looking and large head, but it served its purpose in the durability department. The original body is yellow mohair, the original tag is peacock herl. This fly is dressed exactly to the originators specifications. It is curious that the Orvis / Marbury version of this fly was changed to a wing of half red and white, using ostrich herl for the butt. Various pattern component alterations have transpired over the decades, but this dressing is the correct one as put forth by the creator of the pattern. I digressed a bit to add some background on the interest of classic wet flies and their history.

In examining the frames, I noticed that as a result of routine cleaning, the finish is beginning to wear on the frames, especially along the top edge. The corners of the frames and the edges are showing a nice aura of natural aging, taking on an antique appearance, giving them a natural patina that matches more appropriately compared to the age of the flies contained within. Neither Mary nor I had a camera along, so there will be no actual photos. Not this time. But we plan to go back.

Below are a series of wet flies that are framed, using my original method of wire-mounting the flies to the mat board. It is virtually invisible in the display and my frames, making the flies appear suspended and uncluttered by pins, wire, cork pegs, and certainly no cement of any kind is used.

Hopatcong - #6. This pattern was mentioned in Mary Orvis Marbury's book, Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, so it is well over one-hundred years old. She indicated that she would like to have included it among the Lake Flies.

Hopatcong – #6. This pattern was mentioned in Mary Orvis Marbury’s book, Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, so it is well over one-hundred years old. She indicated that she would like to have included it among the Lake Flies.

Pope - #6.

Pope – #6.

Logan - #6; another old pattern.

Logan – #6; another old pattern.

Romeyn - #6. Illustrated in Marbury's book, and also included as a Lake Fly in the 1893 Orvis Display at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont.

Romeyn – #6. Illustrated in Marbury’s book, and also included as a Lake Fly in the 1893 Orvis Display at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont.

Victoria - #6; the green variation. There is also a Victoria with a dark blue body.

Victoria – #6; the green variation. There is also a Victoria with a dark blue body.

The wire I use to mount the flies...

The wire I use to mount the flies…

...and the view of a Red Hackle Peacock showing the wire mounted to the hook shank. The short 5/8" to 3/4" long section is bent 90 degrees and lashed - tightly - to the shank. It is inserted after the tag, ribbing and floss is attached, while winding forward to the head. It can be bent down to place wings and throats for inch wraps, then stood out to mount. A bobbin is used to make the hole in the mat, then the wire is inserted, the fly positioned just off the surface of the mat board, and then taped down in the back with acid-free archival cloth tape.

…and the view of a Red Hackle Peacock showing the wire mounted to the hook shank. The short 5/8″ to 3/4″ long section is bent 90 degrees and lashed – tightly – to the shank. It is inserted after the tag, ribbing and floss is attached, while winding forward to the head. It can be bent down to place wings and throats for inch wraps, then stood out to mount. A bobbin is used to make the hole in the mat, then the wire is inserted, the fly positioned just off the surface of the mat board, and then taped down in the back with acid-free archival cloth tape.

Mounting area of Plate No. 3 from Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman.

Display area of frame; Plate No. 3, Wet Flies, from Trout, 1938, by Ray Bergman. This photo is from the third set of these flies that I completed. These are available for purchase on, or by contacting me personally. Available as a complete set or as individual Color Plate reproductions, and also, custom selected patterns are available.

Here is the link where images of all ten frames can be viewed.–P592.aspx

Here is the link to Tower Oaks Lodge:

If you are ever in the metro Washington, DC, area or traveling in central Maryland, this place is worth a visit. The website presents information on the decor, which is exclusive. It is like a museum – the Adirondack Lodge area with the fishing displays,art, and artifacts; the Chesapeake Bay duck hunting section with antique decoys, boats, boats, and more boats, decoy baskets, full of original duck and goose decoys, and at least ten double-barrel shotguns; and the “Horses and Hounds” section, devoted to the racing and fox hunting traditions of estates in Hunt Valley Maryland. And the food, service, and ambiance is excellent. Five Stars!

The Ray Bergman Collection – Hatches Magazine

Many people are aware of the Ray Bergman Collection of wet fly patterns at Hatches Magazine, though I spoke to a number of folks over the weekend at the 37th Annual Izaak Walton League Canadian Fly Fishing Forum that have been visitors to my blog who were not yet familiar with “The Bergman Collection.” Perhaps a review is in order. This project is an ongoing wet fly photo and pattern recipe gallery that will contain 483 flies when complete. These wet fly patterns were all sourced from the three trout fishing books by Ray Bergman: Just Fishing – 1932; Trout – 1938, 1952, 1976, and 2000, and With Fly Plug and Bait – 1947. The patterns were all tied and photographed by me. This particular set of flies was the third time that I have tied my way through each one of the wet fly patterns from the color plates of Ray Bergman’s books. These flies are mounted in a ten-frame set and are presently in the hands of a private collector. These framed wet fly reproductions from Ray Bergman’s books can be ordered at

This is the link to the ten-frame set; individual frames can be ordered as well as a custom-frame of 48 wet fly patterns of your choice. will soon have a Custom Order Page for my products. is convenient, customer-friendly, secure site. All the orders come directly to me or to the numerous other talented tiers on the site. Flies Made in America for sure. No flies from Sri-Lanka, Kenya, Thailand, or Hong Kong tied by folks that never saw a trout.

I have attached a few photos of the more recent additions to the Bergman Collection at Hatches Magazine:

No. 169 - Ibis and White. This is a newer photo, taken in 2011, than most of the other pattern images taken a year earlier.

Ibis and White:

Thread:    Danville Flymaster White 6/0 for body, black for head

Tag:        Gold tinsel

Tail:       Red and white, married

Rib:        Gold tinsel

Body:     Red floss

Hackle:   Red and white, mixed

Wing:       Red and white, married in equal parts

There had been some delay in posting the patterns, but lately the pace has picked up. Ten more patterns were just added, increasing the present total to 193. Here is a link to the Bergman Collection:

The introductory article I wrote there was published in September 2010 when the Bergman Collection was first started. It contains information relative to the project, patterns, and also discusses the terminology and some recipe changes. Interesting historical information about the once-endangered status of wood ducks there too. Feel free to vote and rate the article on the Hatches site if you enjoy it. I hope you find this information useful. I have also added a link to the Ray Bergman Collection on my blog.

A couple more photos and recipes below:

Bergman Collection No. 180 - Jay - Yellow.

Jay – Yellow

Thread:   Danville Flymaster White 6/0 for body, black for head.

Tail:     Yellow hackle fibers

Body:   Yellow floss

Hackle: Yellow

Wing:    European jay wing coverts, paired back-to-back.

Head:    Black

The Jay – Yellow, Jay – Silver, and Jay – Blue in Bergman’s books were possibly given a slight name change by Ray Bergman. In one of his books, he wrote of the rather confusing proliferation of naming pattern variations and suggested that to help keep order to this growing problem, that pattern variations should be named with the original name first, then a suffix designating the variation. He did this with the Cahill, and then suggested rather than naming the variations the Gold Cahill, Light Cahill, Yellow Cahill, that it should be Cahill – Gold, Cahill – Light, Cahill – Yellow…obviously this never caught on.

There is also a pattern in Bergman’s Trout named the Blue Jay, similar to the Jay Yellow and the other two jay-winged patterns, but it is different from the Jay – Blue.

J. Edson Leonard’s 1950 book, Flies, has them all listed under Blue Jay Nos. 1, 2, and 3. Still a bit confusing…

No. 187 - Kate.


Thread: Danville Flymaster White 6/0 for body, black for head

Tag:     Flat gold tinsel

Tail:   Golden pheasant tippet

Rib:    Gold tinsel

Body:    Real 1/2 yellow floss; front 1/2 red floss

Hackle:    Black

Wing:    Cinnamon (Orpington cock) or dyed duck quill

Head:    Black

The View From Fish in a Barrel Pond

This post was placed on Wednesday, November 23rd, by “Quill Gordon,” caretaker of The Wantastiquet Lake Trout Club, aka writer of a blog titled, “The View From Fish in a Barrel Pond.”

I know it’s very easy at times, to spend entirely too much time on the internet, but this article, while written primarily as a review of my October visit to The Wantastiquet Trout Club near Weston, Vermont, is focused on my tying of traditional wet flies, it is nevertheless a very entertaining and humorous read, as are some of the other posts on his blog.

As a teaser to read Quill’s post, here is a photo of a nice brook trout I landed during my visit:

Brook Trout caught by Don Bastian at the Wantastiquet Trout Club in Vermont

And here is a photo looking north from the dock at our cabin:

The Wantastiquet Trout Club lake near Weston, Vermont. The weather was mostly like this, cloudy, rainy, foggy, misty; but still beautiful, with a captivating allure despite the chill in the air.

My companions for the trip: Derrick, Luke, Paul, and me (left to right), when I was starting to grow a winter beard.

The invitation from one of my Lancaster County friends, Paul Milot, to go on this trip provided a perfect opportunity for me to visit the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont, since I had just signed the contract for my book on the 19th Century Orvis fly patterns from Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, by Mary Orvis Marbury. I had previously been in discussion with the folks at the Museum, and it was interesting when speaking with my Pennsylvania friend Paul on the phone, who had called to invite me on this trip. I asked, “Is this place anywhere near Manchester?”

“About 20 miles,” Paul replied.

“Perfect,” I replied, then followed up with this question: “Would it be possible for me to visit the museum during the trip?”

Paul answered affirmatively. As we made our plans, I was delighted to suddenly be presented with a chance to accomplish several things, including a personal visit to the Museum during the trip which afforded me a perfectly-timed opportunity to conduct a little preliminary research for my book. I had previously been planning an imminent trip to Connecticut and Massachusetts anyway, to deliver the remaining seven frames to complete a 10-frame set of mounted wet flies; Plate Nos. 4 through 10 from Trout by Ray Bergman, to a customer who lived near Boston. The patterns in these framed sets are from the Wet Fly Color Plates of Ray Bergman’s Books; 440 out of a total of 483 framed wet flies being sourced from his epic 1938 work, Trout, with the remaining 43 patterns coming from additional flies in Ray Bergman’s other books.

The invitation to join these fellows on this trip was a serendipitous turn of events, plus I got to hang out with friends at the peaceful lakeside camp at The Wantastiquet Trout Club, meet some new friends, tie a few flies, have a little Scotch, relax, and of course – fish! Quill visited our cabin Saturday afternoon to take some photos of the wet fly frames, and he posted some of his pictures of the mounted flies on The View From Fish in a Barrel Pond in his recent post, simply and aptly titled, Wets.

During this, my first-ever visit to Vermont; on Friday afternoon, October 14th, departing the cabin near Weston, Vermont, in the pouring rain so no one wanted to fish, my three companions and I paid a visit to the Museum in Manchester to see Yoshi Akiyama, the Deputy Director. This was the initial stage of research for my upcoming book, and Yoshi graciously spent well over an hour with us and allowed us to see and actually hold – while wearing white cotton gloves – many of the original 32 Plates of mounted flies that were used for Marbury’s book. I had not known these were still in existence until fellow fly tier Paul Rossman informed me. Holding, viewing, and studying these flies was a very moving, spiritual, fascinating experience. Breathtaking. Awe-inspiring. And yes, also enlightening. The flies were individually hand-sewn with white cotton thread onto some type of mat boards which were secured in small wooden frames. It was fascinating to see the homespun cross-hatched thread pattern on the backside of these boards. The sewing process began with the first fly and continued from one pattern to the next, going over the hook bend and silk gut loop or snelled flying-lead of silkworm gut to secure each fly. The flies on each plate were used as models for the hand-painted renderings that were reproduced in Marbury’s book by a 19th Century state-of-the-art process known as chromo-lithography.

An unexpected bonus at the Museum was the display assembled by Mary Orvis Marbury for the 1893 Chicago World Exposition. There are many large display panels, made I think, drawing on my ancient Associate Degree in Forestry Technology and learned experience to recognize some types of wood, of American chestnut. These beautiful glass-covered frames are filled with photographs and mounted flies. This display is essentially a promotional not only for Orvis Company, but is also very clear that Mary Orvis organized it to promote and compliment the geographical theme and layout of her recently published book.

The Orvis display in the Museum captivated me. I returned the next day and spent an hour taking photographs of nearly 150 of the flies in the display, and I skipped over most of the trout flies and hackles. This was a very interesting, fascinating, and enlightening experience. As I later reviewed and zoomed in on various fly patterns, questions I had, as have others, on various components and ingredients – which have been perceived as ambiguous in many cases, and even assumed to be correct for over a century, are in some instances unveiled in a “new light” by these photos. Um, dare I say, different?

This is like detective work and is fascinating to me; part of the process of my book will be to continue and intensify my research and if necessary, make corresponding adjustments in fly pattern recipes. Considering some of the facts I have discovered, I know there are “variations” from some of these accepted Orvis fly recipes. This is confirmed by what I see with my eyes on photographs I took myself. The lack of written pattern recipes in Marbury’s book and the vagaries of visual verification on the painted color plates contributed to persistent questions on some of the materials used. And in fact, this reality hit me during a July 2011 conversation with a fellow fly tier. This realization was the spark of an idea that made me propose a book that would combine the patterns and recipes in a format available to the fly tying public, unlike Forgotten Flies, which, while beautiful, is out-of-print, hard to find, expensive, and at a weight of nearly twelve pounds is too cumbersome, large, and heavy to use as a fly tying desk reference. During that phone conversation, my friend suggested, “Donnie, you should write a book on this.” So the process began.

I would like to give special thanks to my friend Paul Rossman, who is participating as one of the contributing fly tiers for The Favorite Flies of Mary Orvis Marbury. Among a dozen-and-a-half patterns that Paul is graciously providing, there are included some of the same exact flies that he tied, and which were published in the 1999 tome Forgotten Flies. Paul will be accompanying me to the Museum this spring for a weekend session of photographing the original 32 plates with 291 mounted flies. Paul will be using his state-of-the-art computer high-tech camera equipment and his photographic expertise for the addition of photographs of the original 1892 fly plates that will be featured in this book. My original intent was to use the old lithograph images, but when Paul informed me the actual flies are in the possession of the museum, it was like hitting pay dirt. The publication of these photos will provide a treasure trove of information on the flies and will be an invaluable asset to this project.

I shall endeavor to do my best as this project moves forward. Special thanks to Paul and, thank you,  to each of my contributing fly tiers! Your work is much appreciated! Your involvement will enhance, embellish, and diversify this project.

Bronze Mallard Wings

An “inspiration” at the vise.

Working on another ordered set of wet fly frames, I finished all 57 of the Wet Flies for Plate No. 8 Saturday night, and this is the Yellow Dun from Plate No. 9, (only three more to go) from Ray Bergman’s book, Trout – the Wet Fly Plates. Having tied my way through Plate No. 9 Sunday,  yesterday, and almost finishing them today, when I saw yet another “brown mallard” wing on the Yellow Dun so soon after tying the Wren, I thought, oh geez, not again. Not my favorite.

This one, when I got to the wing – but please don’t look at the head, I got an idea. Just like that. So I did this wing just as you see it. The first coat of cement was still wet, and the fly wasn’t finished more than a half-minute when I stepped across the room, got the camera and took this hand-held shot. I apologize for not taking the time to tripod this image so it’s a little blurry, but I wanted to share that my “inspiration” resulted in this brown a.k.a. bronze mallard wing as you see it. The head cement was literally drying and still being absorbed into the thread as I snapped this shot. I needed a little break from tying anyway.

The thing I want to say about this fly regards the wing:

I made it from one single bronze mallard flank feather, not a matched pair as I always like to use, and have been teaching that you need a matched pair for who knows how long.

Important to note – after years of tying, even the same patterns or styles of patterns thousands of times, one still gets new ideas.

I’ll gladly share the technique in a few days…after my students at Great Feathers Fly Shop in Maryland learn this weekend how this is done. Right now, I need to get back to those last three wet flies…and start putting on the second and third coats of head cement, and then I have 48 more flies to tie for my custom version of Plate No. 10.

Yellow Dun - not a great photo (of the unfinished head which will require the manicure of pressing down that little bump , after the first coat of cement), but please read the post to see why I was anxious to post this information.

Mustad Wet Fly Hooks

Just the other day as I was working on some wet flies, tying reproductions of the patterns from the color plates of Ray Bergman’s book, Trout, for another custom-ordered set of the framed wet fly color plates, I ran out of number 6 Mustad 3399 wet fly hooks. I was using a box like the one pictured here, and running out meant another thousand gone. So I went to my storage area and found this box – the 1000 pack – that I bought in 2007 when Mustad started to change their hook styles. Back then, in a panic, I had my wholesaler order direct for me – I got 6000 of them – six boxes of these #6’s, and as of now, I have one left after this one. I thought 6000 would last me quite a while. I am using these classic hooks on all my collector and framed wet flies, otherwise, for fishing flies I am using the current technology designed hooks on the market, Daiichi, TMC, MFC, Mustad, etc., which are better quality hooks made with high-carbon steel, chemically sharpened points, and mini-barbs.

I sold a few hundred of the vintage style hooks, but for the most part, out of 4000 #6 Mustad 3399 hooks, in four years, I have tied wet flies on about 3,700 of them. I have more of the 3399 size #8, #10, #12, & #14’s, and also I bought 1000 each of several sizes of the #94720 8x long streamer hooks. In all, I have about 14,000 more classic hooks, waiting…for thread, fur, feathers, tinsel. I am nevertheless a little concerned about running out of #6 wet fly hooks…just mildly. Guess I’ll have to keep my eyes open…and my fingers crossed.

Mustad #6 - 3399 Wet Fly Hooks - full box of 1000Mustad #6 - 3399 Wet Fly Hooks - 1000

Mustad #6 - 3399 Wet Fly Hooks - 1000

Hopatcong - pin-mounted in a frame, dressed on Mustad classic 3399 #6 hook.

Romeyn - pin mounted in a frame, dressed on classic Mustad 3399 #6 wet fly hook.

Wet Fly Fishing Testimonial

For your enjoyment, and perhaps enlightenment; I wrote this introduction which is followed by a wet fly fishing testimonial from one of my customers. I trust you will find this report intriguing and interesting…

While I was displaying my wet fly frame collection at the Valley Forge Fly Fishing Show this past March, a fellow stopped by my table to admire the display of framed flies. He informed me that he stays in the Adirondacks every year, several times, and fishes for brook trout. He expressed interest in ordering some wet flies from me, and he did not want the usual Royal Coachman, Brown Hackle, Professor, and Gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear. He was interested in fishing with and wanted to try some “fancy” historic wet flies on the trout up there. So we agreed on an order of four dozen, size #8, and the patterns I tied were assorted, four of this, two of that, three of those; some I pulled from my stock, and the rest I tied specifically for his order.

I don’t have a written list of the flies I sent him, but I recall some of the patterns were the Babcock, Hopatcong, Ferguson, Colonel Fuller, Ibis and White, Brook Fin, and Undertaker.

I was hopeful and anxious to hear a report from this customer, and the results were, I can only say, delightful. Here is his written fishing report to me regarding his trip in May. (Note his mention of the weather, most folks will recall how much it rained, and rained, and rained in May). By the way, the name of the pond is unnamed for the sake of, well, you know, the consideration of not divulging a ‘secret’ fishing spot.

“Hi Don, I just got home to Jersey yesterday after what had to be the most dismal weather I’ve ever experienced up in the Adirondacks, I arrived on the 11th and it rained every day, oh well? Having said that, I got the flies and quickly put them to work, the results of which I believe will be very pleasing to you; I caught fish on every one I tried, “Brook Fin,” “Neverwas,” “Undertaker;” I can’t remember the name of the red feathered one with the silver body, but I think it was the Jane something? (Note from me: it was actually the James, a pattern very similar to the Silver Montreal and Quack Doctor), and that worked too.”
“Just for kicks I tied on Wooly Buggers and Gray Ghosts behind yours and the Brookies chose yours over them! All the trout I caught were native “?????? Pond” Brook trout, ranging in size from 12-18,” although I did lose a very large brown next to the boat on a Brook Fin. I can’t thank you enough for getting them out to me, and can’t wait to get back up there and try some others!”

“It really was a hoot experimenting with them, especially given the results. Needless to say a friend I fished with up there has contracted a rather bad case of fly envy and I suspect will be reaching out to you…”

Thanks again! — Rich
“These flies are more than just beautiful, they still catch trout!” — Don

Gray Ghost Streamer Testimonial

This additional account was added today after I received yet another report from the same customer. The Gray Ghost photo is the exact fly this man bought from me at the Valley Forge show. $15.00 for a Gray Ghost, it was supposed to be a ‘collectible” tied on an Edgar Sealey hook, but he, or rather, his wife, fished with it. shocking.gif And read what he said about the fly and her fishing. And the pictures are proof. That’s funny, but also I think pretty darn cool. shades.gif
And there’s not a single thing wrong with that… clapping.gif

Note the info on the packing card (disregard my phone number, it’s different now); he mentions his recollection of it being an antique hook. Anything in parenthesis is my comments…Peter’s additional report and photos:

“Hi Don,

I don’t mind at all (if you post this online), its great stuff, and the truth is that the flies work, and they work well, just because time seems to have forgotten them doesn’t mean they still won’t catch fish.”

“I just got back from another week up in the Adirondacks, and thankfully the weather was finally clear and sunny, although still very few hatches to be seen. My wife it seems, has always had incredible luck when it comes to fishing, which is partly why I married her, and let me tell you she put the Gray Ghost I bought from you at the show to task this trip. The fly I believe was tied with an antique English hook? (Yes it was, an Edgar Sealey hook – Don). In any event she killed ‘em with it, and the poor fly at this point is in tatters, so I’ll have to order more…check out these photo’s of the ridiculous Rainbow and the massive 21″ 4 – 5 pound Brook Trout she boated with your Gray Ghost.”

“I also caught a nice 17″ native brookie on one of your other fly’s and I apologize for not remembering the name, but it was Black with a silver body and orange tail?” (that would be the “Black and Silver” in Shaw’s Book, or the “Silver and Black” in E. C. Gregg’s book; same fly -Don).

“All in all I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful flies, and look forward to trying the Adirondack patterns, so let me know when you have a bunch ready and I’ll put them to the test…All the best!”


Gray Ghost tied on antique Edgar Sealey hook - this is the exact fly that did the deed.

Happy angler with the Adirondack brook trout that ate the Collector's Edition Gray Ghost

It appears that this Adirondack rainbow is also into classic streamer flies...

Don Bastian DVD’s and flies are for sale…

On May 2, 2011 I announced that I officially joined the internet site MyFlies is a site conceived, owned, operated, and managed by Sharon Butterfield. It is essentially an internet storefront for fly tiers, guides, lodges, authors, speakers, etc., all sharing the commonality of fly tying, fly fishing, and ordering flies tied by local and regional fly tiers.

Wet flies for fishing (or collecting – signature cards provided with orders on request) – tied by me, framed reproductions of the wet fly color plates in Ray Bergman’s book, Trout, and my three instructional fly tying DVD’s are for sale there. With time I will be expanding my pattern selection on to facilitate quick and easy on-line ordering. This is a great aid to me since I do not have my own internet ordering / selling web site.

On the right side of this site under Favorite Site Links I have placed a tab that will take you directly to where my instructional fly tying DVD’s and flies can be viewed, and purchased.

Purchasing arrangements with credit cards or Paypal can easily be made on the site. And the first single fly pattern I have placed there is the RSP; a great little streamer / baitfish pattern. For information on ordering the RSP please see the post on this site titled, Magalloway River Brook Trout Trio. Customer reviews and ratings of my work are also available.

Custom orders for Collector’s Edition wet flies, framed flies, and also fishing flies, whether nymphs, drys, terrestrials, soft-hackles, wet flies, streamers, bucktails – may be custom-ordered by contacting me directly via e-mail or phone. Thank you all for your support!

Visit the link on the right to to view photos of my individual frames and complete ten-frame set, 483 wet flies, from Ray Bergman’s books, ior click this link direct to the merchandise page on

As I announced on May 1st, I have officially joined the network site of This is an internet site for the listing, advertising, promotion, and sale of fishing flies tied by American tiers. I believe there are a few Canadian tiers on the site as well. None of the flies for sale at are tied by someone in a third world country who has never seen a trout. I firmly believe it is time for Americans fly fishers to fully support American tiers. There are also listings for guides, authors, speakers, lodges, and destinations. Check out for more information. There are also authors, guides, lodges, and custom fly tying sources there.

My first merchandise placement on displays framed reproductions of the wet fly patterns painted by artist Dr. Edgar A. Burke, illustrated in the pages of books by famous angling author Ray Bergman (1891-1967). Bergman was angling editor of Outdoor Life magazine from 1934 until 1959. Outdoor Life was the most well-known outdoor periodical of its day during a time when there were no fly fishing publications in circulation. Consequently, Bergman’s position gave him a status of being one of the most well-known angling authors of his day; Ray was recognized and respected by anglers of all persuasions.

Bergman’s trout fishing books, Just Fishing – 1932; Trout – 1938; With Fly Plug and Bait – 1947; and the enlarged, revised second edition of Trout – 1952; have the commonality of containing color plates of flies, plugs, and lures painted by Edgar Burke. Burke’s paintings accurately express his keen attention to detail; the color plates and recipes of the 440 wet flies from Trout are the “bible” for the existing generation of fly tiers driving the current renewed interest in what we presently refer to as “classic wet flies.” The reason for this is obvious: Trout, with fifteen full-color paintings, accurately illustrating a traditional, historical appearance of 440 wet fly patterns, with written recipes in the back of the book, presented an unprecedented resource in sheer numbers of patterns at the time of its publication in 1938. There are other books by other fly fishing authors that added to this collection of wet fly and fly fishing information, but on any level of comparison, none of them can come close to matching the enduring popularity of Trout. And until Forgotten Flies was published in 2000, there was no other fishing book that presented a greater number of illustrated fishing flies.

I also offer custom frames of wet flies, patterns of your choice may be selected; the price depends on the number of flies and size of frame. Frames are available from single flies to a half-dozen, dozen, and more. I have occasionally combined the paintings of artists such as Alan James Robinson, James Prosek, and others, using primarily brook trout art, with my wet fly patterns.

In addition, historic wet fly patterns for fishing are also available from me. A wide range of literally hundreds of patterns and sizes are available. Pricing and delivery information is available upon request. Contact me via-e-mail:

Custom-framed Don Bastian Wet Flies

Custom-framed Don Bastian wet fly and wild Adirondack brook trout photo. Barry Mill, owner of Sawdust and Stitches, did the custom framing.

This photo is of a framed combination of an Adirondack brook trout with a selection of traditional wet fly patterns selected by my customer. The framing was done by Barry Mill, owner of Sawdust and Stitches, a custom framing business  in south-central Pennsylvania. Barry is a fly tier and fisherman, and also does a very nice job of custom framing.

Left to right the patterns are:

Parmacheene Belle, Cahill, Cowdung, Colonel Fuller, Scarlet Ibis, Pink Wickhams, and Fontinalis Fin. They are tied on vintage Mustad 3399 size #6 Sproat Bend wet fly hooks.