Heron and substitutes - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 11-19-2005, 03:36 PM
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Heron and substitutes

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.
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Old 11-19-2005, 05:53 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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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
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Old 11-19-2005, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flytyer
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.

Last edited by McIntyre; 11-19-2005 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 11-20-2005, 12:59 AM
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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.
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Old 11-20-2005, 11:07 AM
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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.
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Old 11-20-2005, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
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.
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Old 11-20-2005, 05:51 PM
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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!
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2005, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McIntyre
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.

Last edited by McIntyre; 11-28-2005 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:54 PM
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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?
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2005, 10:16 PM
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yes and yes....

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...
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Old 12-02-2005, 08:05 AM
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Rhea

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.

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Old 12-02-2005, 08:46 AM
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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
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:52 PM
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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.

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Old 12-13-2005, 08:46 PM
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Smile Eat Mor Turkey! (per Harry Heron)

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:


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

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