Heron and substitutes [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Heron and substitutes


McIntyre
11-19-2005, 03:36 PM
I find that there are nothing like the grey heron for tying certain spey and dee flies. Blue Eared and White Eared pheasant in good quality is very difficult to come by here in Scandinavia. Most of the feathers have broken fibers and is not any good if you want the fly to be not only fishable but also good looking. How is most of the birds that are sold over there? Is it possible to come over skins with feathers in perfect conditions?

Is it still illegal to optain and use heron feathers in the US? What about in Canada? Here in Norway grey heron is legal to own and use, there is not much hunting for it as it's only sometimes someone gets a permit to shoot one, but there is some legal hunting of them in Denmark so some birds are available from time to time.

flytyer
11-19-2005, 05:53 PM
In the US, Heron is illegal to either own or possess.

It is legal in Canada.

Yes, good quality blue-eared, white-eared, and brown-eared pheasant can be gotten in the US. They aren't cheap though. Good blue-eared skins sell for $170.00-$250, White-eared for $350.00-$450.00, Brown-eard for $300-$400.00.

Why not use Whiting Spey Hackle? It really is rather nice spey hackle and it is very reasonably priced. A top quality Whiting Spey Hackle Rooster neck lists for $35.00. And if all you are going to use it on are large spey and dee flies, a Whiting Spey Hackle Rooster Saddle is perfect and they list for $15.00

McIntyre
11-19-2005, 07:30 PM
In the US, Heron is illegal to either own or possess.

It is legal in Canada.

Yes, good quality blue-eared, white-eared, and brown-eared pheasant can be gotten in the US. They aren't cheap though. Good blue-eared skins sell for $170.00-$250, White-eared for $350.00-$450.00, Brown-eard for $300-$400.00.

Why not use Whiting Spey Hackle? It really is rather nice spey hackle and it is very reasonably priced. A top quality Whiting Spey Hackle Rooster neck lists for $35.00. And if all you are going to use it on are large spey and dee flies, a Whiting Spey Hackle Rooster Saddle is perfect and they list for $15.00

The Whiting Spey capes are fine for some flies, but I think the fibres are a little to thin to really compete with the heron and blue eared pheasant for flies tied for fast running water. For flies tied for slow running water I use marabou a lot.

The whithing feathers do look nice on the flies though. I also use them a lot on intruders and tube flies.

flytyer
11-20-2005, 12:59 AM
Don't get me wrong, I love the look of heron on spey and dee flies; but here in the US it is not worth the risk since it is not legal to even possess the feathers. I also prefer blue-eared, white-eared, or brown-eared pheasant over Whiting Spey Hackle; but good ones are not alway available.

juro
11-20-2005, 11:07 AM
The Whiting hackle is not as useful for traditional applications but the Spey fly technique Dennis Worley developed with Marc Pettijean's magic tool is amazing with the finer barbules in the spun loop. Out of this world, I'll ask him to do a step by step for the site this winter.

For traditional Spey hackling I agree, the more heron-like the better but nothing that will have the feds knockin' on my door :)

For small spey flies (e.g. fall patterns) I will even use the cup-shaped mallard flanks dyed, or even for sedge speys wood duck with a collar that complements it in color, or vice-versa.

This does not translate to large winter speys, which I prefer the BEP dyed or natural, and in some cases the burnt spey feathers work well but one has to pick through many bags to find one worth buying as they are not the same.

Unlike some friends I avoid schlappen because it's too webby and sticks together. Most recently this magic tool technique has caught my fancy and this expands the range of materials you can use effectively for spey hackle since the stem dependency is not an issue.

I am going to try variations of my tried and true patterns with the magic tool this winter.

McIntyre
11-20-2005, 03:42 PM
For small spey flies (e.g. fall patterns) I will even use the cup-shaped mallard flanks dyed, or even for sedge speys wood duck with a collar that complements it in color, or vice-versa.


Have you tried Egyptian Goose? A very big bird with body feathers looking like bronze mallard, just bigger. And it don't marry that well, so its perfect for hackle. It's also a little brighter in the color than bronze mallard so it's nice for dying.

On the uploaded picture on the left there is two feathers from egyptian goose and one medium sized bleached and dyed heron feather. The feathers on the right are from White Stork which also have some very nice feahters for spey flies which vary from quite "webby" to little "webby" depending on very you take it from the bird. White Stork is not listed on the Cites list in Europe, but is quite difficult to come by. The fly in the middle is just a fly I tied yesterday on a size 3 alec jackson spey hook with egyptian goose as spey hackle.

juro
11-20-2005, 05:51 PM
WOW - I like it a lot! I'll have to stock up on it for my winter tying, I hope to visit the Cascade Mountain streams in late winter and this stuff looks very good for an easy to use traditional spey hackle.

thanks!

McIntyre
11-28-2005, 04:37 PM
White Stork is not listed on the Cites list in Europe, but is quite difficult to come by.

Do anyone know if white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is legal to use in the US? Have done a search at http://ecos.fws.gov/ where only the oriental white stork (Ciconia boyciana) is listed.

McIntyre
11-28-2005, 04:54 PM
Also see that our heron, the Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) do not live in America. But it looks quite simmilar to your Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). Are both of them banned anyway?

Feiger
11-28-2005, 10:16 PM
Know both herons, and am 99.9% sure the stork, are banned for use and possession here in the united states... Since I started tying the more classic spey style flies, and the american derivitives, have lusted over the idea of tying w/ heron. but....... oh well...
feiger

Charlie
12-02-2005, 08:05 AM
Rhea feathers work well as spey hackles also. They can be tricky to work with however. The stems on the feathers are rather thick and canít be wound around the fly easily. Some tiers strip the barbules off of the stem first and then wind them. Other tiers split the stem with a razor blade to make it thinner and then wind it. And some cut the barbules off of the stem and put them in a dubbing loop and then wind them. Any way you use them they do make nice long wispy hackles.

Charlie.

sean
12-02-2005, 08:46 AM
Charlie not sure if you have tried it but the Magic Tool by Marc Petijam (sp?) is the best tool I have found with working with rhea. Get the large size and it is very easy to quickly make a wire hackle loop with the rhea. It also saves alot of the waste I always had with peeling the rhea from the stem.

-sean

Charlie
12-02-2005, 12:52 PM
Hey Sean,

Juro was telling me about the magic tool the other day. Sounds very interesting. I like the idea of using wire also. This would eliminate having to use a counter rib to keep the hackle from getting torn off.

Charlie.

Dwight
12-13-2005, 08:46 PM
Hello Folks!

I favor turkey feathers for my Spey and Dee flies. Turkey barbs are long, durable, cheap, available in white for dying and stiffer at the base of the barb than any other feather with the same qualities.

They stand out somewhat from the hook shank even in strong current rather than collapsing into a minnow shape like heron, blue-eared pheasant, burned goose, rhea, etc. They also provide stability for the fly in the current (like Dee wings do) while the end of each barb offers incredible motion in both strong and slight flows. One drawback is turkey requires a quick burn to remove some herl, but doing so is not difficult.

Attached is a Gold Speal (variation) tied on an Alec Jacson 1.5 blind-eye hook with dyed turkey hackle:
http://www.flyfishingforum.com/flytalk4/attachment.php?attachmentid=5181&stc=1

Dwight

juro
12-13-2005, 09:45 PM
WOW - tell me more!

When you say quick burn, what solution / timing etc?

Feiger
12-13-2005, 10:27 PM
What ones? tail? body? Interesting look, I'd like to experiment as well.
Feiger

Salar-1
12-14-2005, 10:45 AM
Juro
Use basically the same method as burning Goose shoulders Burn the Turkey by soaking in pure Javex for a few seconds to where you'll see the fibres STARTING to come off and suspend in the liquid. You want to get rid of the "velcro effect" NOT really burning off all the fibres which will brittle up the material somewhat.Quickly remove and "set" in vinegar. Soak/wash in SWMBO's hair conditioner ( and champoo if you want) . Just looked at some that I made in '86 and it's resilient
Cheers
Brian

Charlie
12-14-2005, 12:35 PM
This is a cool idea. How do you deal with the stems? Do you split them or strip them off of the quill?

Thanks, Charlie.

Salar 33
12-14-2005, 01:29 PM
Dear Dwight,

I don't know which is more impressive, the fly or the photography.

Great to see.

Thanks,

C.R.O.

Dwight
12-14-2005, 06:45 PM
Thanks for your interest folks,

I use the larger turkey tail feathers as well as some of the larger tail "flats" in a one-part bleach to three-parts water solution at room temperature.

I cut the tail feathers into sections so that each section contains barbs that are roughly uniform in terms of both the length of the barbs and the thickness of the barbs at their base. Doing so helps avoid over-burning the more delicate barbs on a given feather while the remaining (less delicate) barbs are still burning.

I immerse only one section at a time in the solution using a pair of hemistats to keep my hands away from the solution while the section is completely immersed and gently moved back and forth in the solution.

Brian's comment is an important one: only burn some, not all, of the herl away. The barbs should separate a bit but not completely when it's time to remove and place the section in a vinegar bath to neutralize the base and stop the burning. Experiment first using feather sections that are not your favorites and if you fry one section too much try a shorter burn next time. This process also prepares the feathers nicely for dying.

I favor the conservation aspect of turkey spey hackle in that it uses feathers from a bird we already eat (it's not necessary to use feathers from specially raised turkeys because stress marks in the feathers are OK for this purpose) and it also helps move the focus away from valuable birds like Heron and genetically modified birds raised and killed only for their feathers. Just one angler's opinion :)

Dwight

inland
12-15-2005, 01:07 AM
What are you doing tying that on a fish losing tool? Tsk, tsk, tsk. I don't want to hear any griping when that next pig hen comes unpinned!!! Did you ever use that gut material?

Willum

Rob Estlund
12-20-2005, 10:15 AM
Inland... Which hook is it that you don't care for, and why? I've found the AJ Spey hooks to be too bendy. I've lost 1 fish myself and seen 2 others lost because of a straightened AJ spey. Usually the #3 size turned up eye.

inland
12-20-2005, 05:11 PM
Rob,

I was only teasing Dwight about the hooks. We often talk at length about this subject. My luck has pretty much been bad when using the 1.5 AJ hooks. Always seems to pull free. Others I know do very well with them. Have had some troubles with the 3's opening up- one fish flies!

William

Rob Estlund
12-21-2005, 11:19 AM
Thanks dude. I wish we could even get 1 fish with the #3s!

speydoc
12-23-2005, 01:32 PM
Back to Charlie's comment on Rhea - it is EASY to strip off the stalk, PROVIDED you soak the feathers for 6 to 12 hours, preferably with a detergent (Synthrapol ect.)
speydoc

fredaevans
01-07-2006, 03:22 AM
For the best of the best ... be sure to look here:

Siskiyou Aviary

in Ashland, Oregon. I just hit this ladies web site to stare at the feathers, et. al. she has to sell. Gather she grows most of her own birds for the feathers.