If you need a streamer to imitate the wiggle of bait fish then tie on a Gray Ghost. It catches trout, steelheads, sea-trout and salmon.
STREAMER WET FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 2 4 6 8 10 12 - $US each
Carrie Stevens (1882 - 1970) was a milliner by trade. She lived in Maine, USA. She was the wife of Wallace Stevens, a successful guide. She regularly built and glued feather combinations for ladies' hats and hatbands. The feather combinations were either subtle or rich depending on that year's fashion. She did not invent the feather wing streamer but she did significantly advance the design to make it act more like a bait fish when retrieved in the water and is credited with the design of what we now know as the Gray Ghost. The main design feature of her streamers was the glued double wing assembles with cheeks and shoulders, attached to each side of the hook shank and not on top.
There have been lots of variations on the general design, both in color as well as construction method. We believe that Carrie’s glued wing method is far more superior to some non glues wings. Carrie's glued wing assembles produce a more realistic tail (or wing) wiggle. The wing in this position masked the hook and the shoulder sections of the wings imitates the gills. This is a pattern for cold gray days, to be fished a foot below the surface. It will catch large aggressive fish on the lookout for a substantial meal. The Gray Ghost is one of many streamer patterns she designed and sold.
Fly Fishing Casting Styles
My own preferred river fly fishing style has developed from the standard 'across and down' technique to the 'up and across' method. Both present a bob-fly in a team of three; a surface floating dry fly, to help with identifying takes, on top of two sub surface nymphs.
I found that the 'across and down' method of fly fishing with the rod held parallel to the water's surface proved less effective that the other method. I observed that the main disadvantage was that it tends to attract take while the flies are 'on the hang' at some angle and distance downstream of the fly fisherman, resulting in strikes which tend to pull the fly away from the fish's mouth.
This method has similarities to fly-fishing for salmon, but trout rarely afford the angler the luxury of a delayed and deliberate line-tightening.
In my early fishing days I soon learnt that, when fishing 'across and down' the stream, the trout very often hook themselves, particularly in fast turbulent water, or else I felt the 'ping' of a taken and rejected fly. Occasionally, usually in gentle streams, I saw the take registered by a quick short draw of the leader or the line's tip. A quick reaction to it more often resulted in success.
Fishing by sight , I learned, may have more to offer than fishing by touch when fishing wet-flies by day in local streams. Fishing by touch was more the method of the nocturnal sea-trout angler on the quiet pools. These early experiences with the fly pointed me with increasing persistence in the direction of that most visual of fly-fishing forms, the dry-fly style.
I was soon to find out that dry-fly fishing does not work every day of the season. Nymphing trout, feeding just below the surface, would very often ignore my offerings. Smutting trout, grubbing on the river bed for aquatic insects, were also difficult to move. When the weather turned cold even my favourite hotspots failed to produce surface feeding fish.
I soon realised in these conditions the correctly presented wet fly would have out fished my dry fly. I learnt to be adaptable and be ready to change fishing styles to suit the conditions rather than press on with one fishing method. The greater part of a trout's daily intake of food is comprised of sub-aquatic insect-life; shrimps, snails, nymphs, and small fish not hatching mayflies.
However one tends to fish using the method which gives the greatest pleasure not necessarily that which produces the most fish. Having seen other fly fishermen use the 'up and across' method with success I decided to give it a go and change the way I fished using a wet fly team of two when my dry flies were not working. It involved casting upstream at an angle of about 45 degrees to the bank, with floating, or ungreased lines with the intention of hooking fish directly opposite where I was standing.
As the line and trace were borne back by the current, after being cast upstream, I would raise my fly rod to a fairly steep angle partly to keep in contact with the fly but also to create slack in the line hanging from the rod tip but not drag on the water surface which would spook the fish.
By watching the line where it entered the water it is easy to detect takes by looking for a quick short draw. Fishing with a rod parallel with the surface, feeling for the 'knock' sadly often meant that the fly had been ejected by the trout.
It is good practice to try a different style of fishing. It increases your fishing skills and makes you more able to adapt to changing conditions.
Gray Ghost Streamers are in my top ten list of flies. Most of my fishing is on rivers and streams in Maine, USA. Occasionally I'll canoe a few ponds. Most noted are the rivers of Kennebec, Penobscot, Moose, Crooked, Rapid, Messalonskee, Kenebago, Grand Lake Stream, Magaloway, Dead River, Kenduskeag and Sebasticook. As always tight lines, Jeff Haresear
Well we can only write about what we know but some general rules apply to fishing almost everywhere. I live in Labrador City and I fish mostly for Landlock salmon and speckles. I catch all of my landlocks on number 4 streamer flies. My favorite is the Magog smelt, and Blue streamer but the Gray Ghost is a popular fly for a lot of people. I fish on Walsh River and the Ashaunipi. Peter Blackmore
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Maybe the best fly for my father in-law's river Svartá (Bárdardalur-Iceland) - Robert Ragnar. Húsavík-Iceland
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I catch a lot of trout on the Grey Ghost in Pennsylvania. Rainbows seem to favor it. I like the fact that it's easy for me to track (see) in the water. Bob Krakowski Kulpmont, Pennsylvania USA
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Large Grey Ghost streamers work well on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick, Canada. I took four double digit beauties this afternoon. Jason Wilkinson, Ottawa, Canada