Preparing Heron [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Preparing Heron

11-02-2002, 09:36 PM
Say you did come across a nice little stash of ofcourse :hehe: ...what is your favorite method of preperation?

I am going to take steam to them to straighten them up some and many of the feathers are more apropriate for say a size 5 or 7 AJ Spey but there are some larger feathers mixed in.


11-03-2002, 10:08 AM
I just fold'em or strip one side, usually the latter because I like a sparse fly, although it's somewhat painful to toss the stripped fibres. Unlike the traditional tyers of old, I prefer to tie in the feather by the tip, and hold on to the butt of the feather rather than using hackle pliers. Your flies will last longer if you only palmer the front two/thirds of the fly, and counterwind with med. thickness wire.


11-03-2002, 11:24 AM
I also strip one side when I tie with Heron and start 1/4 to 1/3 up the shankand wrap in the opposite direction with very fine wire. I often set the loose fibers from the striped side on the shelf for use as tails on emerger style flys that require long tails in a natural color.

11-03-2002, 11:58 AM
two words for you Sparkey SEARCH WARRENT... :D
I agree with the above posts strip one side and hope for thin stems

11-03-2002, 12:28 PM
but some (Blue) are a MAJOR NO! NO!!

Before I'd use them on a fly I'd recommend you check with the game dept: State and Feds. No kidding!

11-03-2002, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the tips...just in case I ever happen across some.

:razz: ofcourse! :rolleyes: :hehe:

I am familiar with the laws regarding blue heron...but like I said, this post was made just for future reference...incase I ever run across legal heron! :cool:

11-04-2002, 04:47 AM
dead wrong. But, like some other feathers, just having them in 'possession' could trigger a nasty situation. Remember, all-be-it years ago, picking up a blue herron feather on the beach on the Russian River (No. Cal.) and having a game guy give me hell.

No ticket as he was aware it was just a loose feather from a bird but it could have gotten very interesting. Interesting thing is Ashland, OR. has the only animal frens. lab in the world. They get stuff from all over to identify; tons of DNA samples in storrage from individual 'endangered' wildlife. Husband of a good friend of Joan's works there in the lab. Very, very interesting guy to talk to on what comes in from world wide.

Big Brother is Watching!

11-04-2002, 01:00 PM
the high-minded, or is it high-horseyed, manner in which "that other board is viewed", it sometimes stuns me how the laws regarding threatened/endangered species that don't have gills are seen as a mere annoyance to get around. No one stands up and says "don't, it's wrong", they only say "don't, you could get in trouble". It's just a freakin' feather... Find a substitute. To do otherwise is WRONG. There, I said it...

11-04-2002, 01:50 PM

I was thinking the very same thing.

I was under the impression that it is illegal to possess any feathers from a heron in the State of Washington, period. There are no legal means of attaining them.

11-04-2002, 11:09 PM
Yeah it is illegal to possess these feathers but they were given to me my a good freind...they are over 25 years old and were stuffed into a little plastic bag.

I know many many people that are proud of their collections of polar bear and heron etc. etc. etc. and I know many people who are the biggest conservationists around who head to Canada to smuggle across feathers and fact Kerry, you have a very good freind that does the same! ;)

I actually think this would make an excellent it right to possess these feathers, even if they are many many years old?

I think if we looked deeply into who possessed these materials, illegally, we would see many many hypocrits among us. Oh well...its legal in Canada. :devil:

11-04-2002, 11:36 PM
Another thought...excuse me if I make no sense...totally exhausted. :) Had too much fun raising chums to 'wogs' today!! :devil:

Anyways...I just guess I look at it a little differantly. If someone is going to pass on some old heron or polar bear to me, I am not dying to going to turn that offer down.

But at the same time, I am not out searching for the product, smuggling it across the border or killing the animals.


Intresting topic! :)

11-05-2002, 12:56 AM

Be very, very careful! If the feathers were harvested (aacquired) prior to January 1, 1974, they are legal; but you have to be able to prove this. If you can't prove they were from prior to 1974, you could be in big trouble. Like in a possible $10,000.00 fine or time in a federal prison. It is a fedral law violation, not a Washington State law violation.

That said, if you can prove that it was acquired prior to 1974, and I mean prove it with written documentation, or if it is some of the legal suposedly domesticated heron that can be brought in from England at $2.00/feather, first you should wash it with either Woolite or Synthropol (Synthropol is better) and then air dry it to make sure the feathers are clean. Then trip one side of the feather and tie it in by the tip over the front third of the fly.

Personally, I won't take heron from anyone, nor use it on my flies. Far too risky and not worth it. Yes, I've been offered heron a number of times from various people; but I have turned it down because I don't want the feds to come a-knocking. Blue-eared Pheasant is legal and a very fine substitue, that is that I use for heron. Also, schlappen and coche feathers are readily available as well.

Fred is right, just picking up a mlted heron feather can get you into nasty trouble with the feds. There was a person at an art show in Michigan 3 years ago who had used some found molted heron and eagle feathers in some of her art. The feds showed up, took all of her art, arrested her, took the money she had collected from the sale of those things that had been sold, and took her to the local federal magistrate for arraignment. She ended up being fined $20,000.00 and placed on 3 years probation by the federal district judge. It is not worth messing with heron unless you can prove it was acquired before 1974.

Same with polar bear.

11-05-2002, 01:06 AM
Thanks for the heads up on the preperation of the heron!!! Will watch my back and be sure that all things are in order to cover my rear end!! :)

BTW-I do remember a thread not long ago were many Forum members were talking up the benefits of The Forum having a CITES permit and dying to get their hands on certain feathers that in most cases are illegal here in the States.

11-05-2002, 09:24 AM

I give our mutual friend crap about his smugglings every chance I get and 2 wrongs do not make a right.

Although I am concerned about the illegal possession of tying materials, my point was to agree with Philster that there seemed to be an attitude here that contradicts the attitudes expressed about other boards on the web. I am sure this is not the case but appearances can be deceiving.


11-05-2002, 11:54 PM

A CITIES Permit does not allow you to have illegal feathers in the U.S. It allows you to import or export to another CITIES Permit holder in another country certain feathers and furs for puposes of fishing lures (i.e. flies).

This is how jungle cock is now available here in the U.S. and why distributors like Borden sell it legally, Borden has a CITIES Permit for jungle cock that it raised domestically and sold by an English supplier to the U.S market.

Keep in mind that each one of the birds or animals on List 1 of CITIES requires and importer and the exporter to each have a CITIES Permit for that one speicies. A CITIES Permit is only good for one species. To bring in feathers from more than one species on List 1 of CITIES, you must have a seperate permit for each species.

Feathers like Argus and Bustard are on List 1 of CITIES, but these feather are available here in the U.S. from U.S. suppliers. Since there are U.S. raised neither the U.S seller nor buyer needs to have a CITIES Permit for the Argus or Bustard.

Ther birds and animals on List 2 of CITIES are not allowed to be bought or sold period unless you have written proof that they were harvested and brought into the U.S. prior to 1974, or that they were acquired from an aviary, grower, or zoo. Anything less, and you are in for a world of hurt. Polar Bear is one of these animals on List 2.

11-06-2002, 05:31 AM
saved me a ton of time checking all this out with Jim (animal lab guy).

One quickie question on Polar Bear fur; I know it's a 'no-no' in the States but can you still get it in Canadian tackle stores? (Dana, et. al. north of the Boarder please chime in on this question).

Actually, expand that question above to include other 'stuff' we're not allowed to have in the 'lower 50.'

11-06-2002, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by NrthFrk16
BTW-I do remember a thread not long ago were many Forum members were talking up the benefits of The Forum having a CITES permit and dying to get their hands on certain feathers that in most cases are illegal here in the States.

The Forum did in fact purchase a CITIES permit in order to purchase LEGAL jungle cock from Great Britain where they are raised legally. This permit only allows you to buy LEGAL feathers; you must have read the post wrong.

Jungle cock is LEGAL but you must have a CITIES permit to purchase it from the UK firm. Heron, on the other hand...:tsk_tsk:

Beautiful stuff though! I just use BEP, burnt spey hackle (selected carefully) and dyed mallard for small summer flies.

11-07-2002, 12:48 AM

Canadian law allows for limited harvesting of polar bear, that is why it is legal in Canada. Yes, a person from the states can go across the border and legally buy polar bear; however, it is not legal to then bring the polar bear back across the border into the states. Unfortunately, there are fly shops around that buy polar bear in Cancada, and then either bring it acros the border or ship it in something like a shoe box (marked shoes or some other such thing) to an address other than the businesses here in the states. They then sell it for a princely sum indeed.

The point is, the risk of having the illegal stuff is just not worth it. These are fedreal felonies for each feather, skin, or piece of fur.