Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ever since I had acquired my first full season ticket back in 1979, I pick up every single feather of grey heron I could find while fishing our rivers. Similarly to Great Britain, here in Germany the grey heron is, or better say, was protected. More on this at the end of this story.
In the beginning I was wearing these feathers on my hat. First, because I did not have to carry them this way, later on, because they gave a nice touch.
Only many years later did I discover these feathers for fly fishing and fly tying. The fly I am using this feather for regularly now is called a Rhodani Dun. This pattern was published in the German fly fishing magazine Der Fliegenfischer
, Issue 79, in the beginning of the 1970s. First I used doubled up tying thread for ribbing this sensitive material. Now I am using a more classic ribbing material, Gudebrod or Gossamer silk.
This fly had caught one of my largest fish on a dry fly, a 22 in. rainbow. It has caught fish for me in the Deutsche Traun
, Weisse Traun
, Gmundner Traun
, and the Gacka
, among others.
Today, here in Bavaria, it is allowed to shoot the grey heron in the immediate vivinity (200 m) of fish farms or trout hatcheries from September 16 to October 31 after application for a special permission to shoot for prevention of damage to endagered fish species (e.g. the grayling) or commercial damage. So if you know a trout farmer or a hunter associated with such an operation, you may aquire material from a grey heron.
My constant collecting of shed feathers for almost 40 years has given me more than two lifetime supplies of material; usually you use two fibers on a #18 Rhodani dun, maybe three for a #16.
And I just can reassure the good fish catching ability of the grey heron feather.