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Feather Wing Streamer Flies - A Brief History by Ard Stetts

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Classic Featherwing StreamerA bit of history regarding the Rangeley style feather wing streamer is perhaps in line here.  Without a doubt the flies developed in this part of Maine and most specifically the upper dam area of Lake Mooselookmeguntic are known and admired by fishermen the world over. It was there in the wilds of northern Maine that fly tiers like Carrie Stevens, Herbie Welch, and Bill Edson developed many of the most enduring streamer patterns known to the fishing fraternity. 

Possibly the most famous of them all the Gray Ghost Streamer was born or better put, was first tied by Mrs. Carrie Stevens of Upper Dam Maine on *July 1st’ 1924. Mrs. Stevens was the wife of a local guide and a self taught fly dresser. Her style and technique of dressing streamer flies was original and soon became the standard for many other regional fly dressers. By looking at American feather wing streamer flies whether current creations of reproductions of historic patterns the shadow of Mrs. Stevens style of dressing is often present.

Eighty five years of continuing success and an elegant appearance has made the Gray Ghost and many of the old style feather wing streamers the favorite of an enduring but shrinking group of anglers. The patterns are admittedly difficult to dress but to those fishermen who still diligently and faithfully produce current renditions and fish them they are the only way to fish streamers.

* Courtesy “Streamers and Bucktails” by Joseph D. Bates, Jr. 

Webmaster note: Feather Wing Streamer Flies - A Brief History is the introduction to a series of short articles and fly presentations about about Classic Streamers that will be presented by Ard and other contributors in the issues to come.

Next issue: "The Answer"


Ard Stetts

Ard Stetts was born in north central Pennsylvania, but now resides in Alaska. He has been tying classic Salmon, Landlocked Salmon and Featherwing Trout Streamers for 35 years and has learned from some of the best.  He has several of his Streamers tied for fishing, displayed. In the Mar-Apr Issue of Salmonfly.Net and will be displaying more in the weeks to come. See The Flies of Ard Stetts.


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