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  1. #1

    Default The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    This is a dedicated thread for discussing article: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    I thought you might enjoy this article from the UK Fish&Fly site looking at the usefulness of Grey Heron in fly tying - a hard material to get in Britain these days as it is a protected species.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    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.

    Sincerely,
    Wolfgang Erl

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    Default Re: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    Nice fly and fish.....
    But here it is illegal not only to take, but even possess.....those pretty feathers.
    Otherwise we probably wouldn't have any left.....

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    Default Re: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    well.

    it was exactly the same here just about 20 years ago. the grey heron was a rare sight. but due to complete protection, the population first grew and then almost exploded. usually, the hard winters we had some 20 to 30 years ago held the population low, because many of these birds die during a hard winter, when all the lakes and smaller ponds are frozen over. but the last 5 winters in a row we did not have solid ice here for more than just a few days on any lake, which made the populations explode, and in some areas with lots of fish farms, these birds can be a problem. of course, if I see one on our lakes or rivers, it makes me happy, almost as much as seeing a kingfisher, but for a trout farmer this may be different.

    what about shed feathers?
    even as a studied biologist I am not good enough a bird man to know if it would be possible to tell for an expert to distinguish between a pulled and a shed feather. but I can image this should be possible, because the shedding of feathers is a natural process causing the base of the feather to die before the feahter is lost. this should be possible to determine.

    anyway, I think it is not allowed to sell or buy such feathers here, but who should mind to pick up a lost one ...

    best,
    Wolfgang

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    I agree they are beautiful and make my day when I see them.
    Kinda figure if they lose their feathers....they didn't really need them, right?
    Most Wardens wouldn't know if a fly is tied with those feathers.
    But since it's trouble here...... I wouldn't advertise too much about my stash.....

    Jim

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  11. Default Re: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    Would you care to publish the recipe for this. Nice looking Grey Heron. Is it a dry or a flymph?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    hi.

    well, good question. the original is a delicate dry fly, but the rainbow shown in picture above did not take a floating fly. after two passes in crystal clear water over this fish where it was critically inspected, on the next cast I pulled the fly under just a few inches in front of the fish and it took the sunken fly immediately. so lets say it can be fished dry, semi-dry, semi-wet, or wet.

    the original tying calls for microfibetts as tail. I substitute this with dun hackle fibers down from the side of the cape, where the longer, stiffer hackle is located.

    tying thread can be also ribbing, but in more recent patterns I prefer a somewhat heavier thread for the rib, silk if possible; yellow, tan, grey, black are all good and give a nice variety of body color in combination with the different shades of grey heron found in different feathers.

    I hope a description w/o pictures is OK since this is more or less a standard fly. here we go:

    hook: any light dry fly, preferably barbless
    thread: 8/0 black or grey
    tail: dark dun microfibetts or hackle fibers
    body: 2-3 strands of grey heron wing or tail feather
    rib: silk
    wing: a bunch (about a dozen) of CDC fibers 1 1/2 x the length of the hackle tied in as one wing
    hackle: blue dun (from light to dark according to natural to be imitated)
    2 turns behind and 1 turn in front of the wing

    the fly is intended as a delicate representation of smaller mayfly duns, original size #16-#18. I have tied some as big as #12; here I use a maximum of 5 turns for the hackle (3 in back, 2 in front of wing).

    depsite the delicate looks, this fly is quite tough; I had several holding up to more than 10 trout. although this fly is staying on top surprisingly well, this is not a fly for heavy and turbulent water.

    good luck,
    Wolfgang

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  14. Default Re: The Bigger They Are, The Ardea They Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by oldguide View Post
    hi.



    well, good question. the original is a delicate dry fly, but the rainbow shown in picture above did not take a floating fly. after two passes in crystal clear water over this fish where it was critically inspected, on the next cast I pulled the fly under just a few inches in front of the fish and it took the sunken fly immediately. so lets say it can be fished dry, semi-dry, semi-wet, or wet.



    the original tying calls for microfibetts as tail. I substitute this with dun hackle fibers down from the side of the cape, where the longer, stiffer hackle is located.



    tying thread can be also ribbing, but in more recent patterns I prefer a somewhat heavier thread for the rib, silk if possible; yellow, tan, grey, black are all good and give a nice variety of body color in combination with the different shades of grey heron found in different feathers.



    I hope a description w/o pictures is OK since this is more or less a standard fly. here we go:



    hook: any light dry fly, preferably barbless

    thread: 8/0 black or grey

    tail: dark dun microfibetts or hackle fibers

    body: 2-3 strands of grey heron wing or tail feather

    rib: silk

    wing: a bunch (about a dozen) of CDC fibers 1 1/2 x the length of the hackle tied in as one wing

    hackle: blue dun (from light to dark according to natural to be imitated)

    2 turns behind and 1 turn in front of the wing



    the fly is intended as a delicate representation of smaller mayfly duns, original size #16-#18. I have tied some as big as #12; here I use a maximum of 5 turns for the hackle (3 in back, 2 in front of wing).



    depsite the delicate looks, this fly is quite tough; I had several holding up to more than 10 trout. although this fly is staying on top surprisingly well, this is not a fly for heavy and turbulent water.



    good luck,

    Wolfgang


    Wolfgang, I just tied a copy of your pattern using Blue Eared Pheasant instead of heron. I have a little heron and I'll try one using that.
    Many thanks, it's a good looking fly and should work here in Northern California.
    Barry


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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