Spey hackles

ozzyian

Well-known member
Messages
5,507
Reaction score
1,485
Location
East Lothian
Can anyone suggest a suitable spey style hackle.

I quite like to add various hackles as the last stage of a (say WG style) tube. A couple of years ago a herons misfortune on the Berwick bypass proved to be my good fortune and a fellow forumite dyed the feathers for me. I'm down to my last couple and would really like a decent black substitute.

I'm looking at a GP rump feather as I type that would do the job, does anyone know where I could get a black skin, or does anyone have another option.

Ian
 

ACW

Active member
Messages
952
Reaction score
49
Talk to cookshill ,he has some asian heron ,that does fine and for smaller spey type flys there is a very dark grey feather in generoud=s packages .
i recently picked up an egret hackle from the banks at walthamstow ,looks like it is very heron like!
 

DrPatrickT

Well-known member
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
2,267
Location
Cheshire
Can anyone suggest a suitable spey style hackle.

I quite like to add various hackles as the last stage of a (say WG style) tube. A couple of years ago a herons misfortune on the Berwick bypass proved to be my good fortune and a fellow forumite dyed the feathers for me. I'm down to my last couple and would really like a decent black substitute.

I'm looking at a GP rump feather as I type that would do the job, does anyone know where I could get a black skin, or does anyone have another option.

Ian

Short answer - nothing like Heron!

Canadian Tube Fly have some nice Spey Hackles alternatives - and Heron
Pheasant rump is OK - I dyed mine using Jacquard dyes and was happy - very good on smaller flies
Burnt goose shoulder - also is great

As said - Steve at Cookshill - I got some Asian Spey - that's good also

Thanks,

Patrick
 
Last edited:

munro

New member
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
0
Steve has a various types of Heron in size and natural colours black grey,last time i looked think he even had dyed He also does a spey hackle sub, the spey hackle came from a Chicken on Speyside now extinct i am led to beleive, they were bred specfically for spey hackles in brown blackish brown, came from near the tail of the bird the atound the couqe or area that the schlappen come from but not these feathers, gp rump is okay not as long as Heron
 

LouisCha

Active member
Messages
175
Reaction score
128
You could always make your own, that's what I did

I was given a couple of cock pheasants by a mate who shoots, plucked the rump feathers, put them in a zip lock bag then alternated between freezing and microwaving them for a couple of weeks to try to kill any bugs on the feathers.

Then I just got a pot of Veniards black dye from GAC, followed the instructions and they came out really well! Better quality and more of them than ones I've bought from Funky. Not as long as heron but the longest feathers have 5cm fibres

P1250018.jpg
 
Last edited:

ozzyian

Well-known member
Messages
5,507
Reaction score
1,485
Location
East Lothian
You could always make your own, that's what I did

I was given a couple of cock pheasants by a mate who shoots, plucked the rump feathers, put them in a zip lock bag then alternated between freezing and microwaving them for a couple of weeks to try to kill any nasty bugs on the feathers.

Then I just got a put of vineyards black dye from GAC, followed the instructions and they came out really well! Better quality and more of them than ones I've bought from Funky. Not as long as heron but the longest feathers have 5cm fibres

View attachment 34769

That's a helpfully post LouisCha!! TBH I wasn't madly keen on adding dyeing to the existing fishing task list but I think you're probably right.
 

Hardyreels

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
1,994
Reaction score
1,127
Location
Alaska
I've never used Heron. They were nearly eradicated in North America to satisfy the hat industry during the Victorian Era. Actually I don't use anything that could be called endangered at all. Someone mentioned 'Asian Heron' :shocked: We all know that those folks are very species aware and all that so I have a good feeling for that. I'm sure they have strict regulations to protect the birds so …. Yeah, right.

Now that I have rained on the parade with that opening I'll tell you what I use for hackles.

White Goose feathers: I bleach it then dye to suit, this makes a Heron substitute.

Schlapplan: Chicken feathers dye to suit or buy pre dyed.

Blue Earred Pheasant: Another heron substitute, I use rump and flank feathers.

This is bleach burnt goose dyed gray on a Jock O' Dee and an unnamed fly I tied.





This is goose dyed black;



This Ackroyd is made with chicken - black dyed schlapplen feather



More Chicken;


I had a hard time finding a picture of Blue Earred Pheasant but this was made with it.



I had pulled all the fibers down while setting the wings and don't have a picture of the fly with the hackles flowing evenly back. The point of digging the pictures up and posting is just to say that I found ways to tie fairly fancy flies without promoting the demise of a bird species in some country where someone may kill a heron for the equivalent of $5.00 USD.

I'm done now :cool:
 

ozzyian

Well-known member
Messages
5,507
Reaction score
1,485
Location
East Lothian
Thanks, nice flies!

They are of course protected here as well. I don't really understand what considerations were taken into account when the legislation was enacted 40 years ago but I can confirm that they are far from endangered in this part of the world. So much so that if you keep your eyes open you're a pretty good chance of finding them at the side of the road near watercourses having been hit by vehicles. Personally I dislike waste:) As it happens I'm not particularly enamoured towards herons either, a couple of years ago I watched one search out then flush a coots nest, amidst much panicked tweeting the fecker gulped four of the chicks down whole in front of the parents!!!!:)

Thanks for the info, the blue eared pheasant and goose look really nice subs, I'll look further into whats available, Ian
 

Grassy_Knollington

Well-known member
Messages
3,618
Reaction score
1,338
As you know, if you want Heron then there really is nothing like it. However there are other long-fibres hackles. Here are a few of mine.

Apologies for photo, bl**dy light

A437A444-68DA-44B4-9B78-301D2C2A7009.jpeg

From left to right:

1. Hen pheasant rump feather - a bit soft

2. Ringneck pheasant dyed black from Wapsi - This has stiffer and better fibres than the hen, like LouisCha’s dyed ‘normal’ pheasant.

3. Whiting Spey Rooster Hackle inOrange. This is a typical feather, long, distinct fibres but is quite soft and thin.

4. Whiting Spey Hen Hackle in Purple. Much shorter than the Rooster with a similar structure.

5. Cookshill Spey Hackle. This is a poor example, it’s my last one and I have shut it in the lid of my tying box. Typically they are much better, but the fibres are never as long as a Heron or Pheasant feather of a similar stem length.

6. Asian Brown Heron from Cookshill, they do come smaller.

7. Asian Grey Heron from Cookshill

8. A Heron wing feather from the side of the river. I include this because you can make a really good dubbing loop with the fibres. You wouldn’t do that for a presentation fly but for a fishing fly or over a dubbed body it does work. I used these fibres in a dubbing loop for the tail of my Nov TOTM entry.

On balance I’m probably going for the ringneck, because I can buy it and it looks pretty good.


Hope that helps
 
Last edited:

ozzyian

Well-known member
Messages
5,507
Reaction score
1,485
Location
East Lothian
Excellent information, thank you for taking the trouble to illustrate.

It does emphasize why the heron is so sought after, I agree though that pheasant looks very workable. That's my direction I think until the Berwick Bypass provides once again.
 
Last edited:

Hardyreels

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
1,994
Reaction score
1,127
Location
Alaska
Now I feel badly as if I were just posting to guilt trip people who like heron feathers. I apologize and I'll confess that I have in fact used them in the past although I had a rather interesting source, here goes a story...…..

I trout fished for many years on a spring creek in Pennsylvania in the US. The states tend to build hatcheries near to spring creeks because of the excellent water quality they provide and there was a large hatchery near this one. It came to my attention when I was chatting with a worker that they had a bird problem. There was netting over all the runways and pools and I had ask what that was about. Herons he replied, there are a bunch of them and were trying to keep them out.

It was a few weeks later that I was fishing on an extremely windy day complete with sideways rain when the thought occurred that maybe before leaving the area I should take a trip to that hatchery. I parked my truck and crosses the bridge to the place. I don't know how many acres it covers but I think 5 may be a decent guess with the whole of it surrounded by a tall chain link fence. I header to the down wind end of the property and just as I had expected any and all refuse light enough to be carried on a stiff breeze or wind was piled against the bottom of the fence. I used my fingers and in some cases the forceps I carry to extract dozens of heron feathers from that fence. Only a few were suitable for fly tying as many were wing feathers.

So there, I've had them and I've also shared a good place to have a look if there be a hatchery in your area :)
 

munro

New member
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
0
Grey heron feathers make Oliver Kites, Kite Imperial, great trout dry fly, tie up just like a standard pheasant tail with copper wire as good as sawyers grey goose nymph
 
Last edited:

ACW

Active member
Messages
952
Reaction score
49
Grey heron feathers make Oliver Kites, Kite Imperial, great trout dry fly, tie up just like a standard pheasant tail with copper wire as good as sawyers grey goose nymph

also a great stillwater Cove style nymph .
 

shucky4salmon

Member
Messages
63
Reaction score
31
I've never used Heron. They were nearly eradicated in North America to satisfy the hat industry during the Victorian Era. Actually I don't use anything that could be called endangered at all. Someone mentioned 'Asian Heron' :shocked: We all know that those folks are very species aware and all that so I have a good feeling for that. I'm sure they have strict regulations to protect the birds so …. Yeah, right.

Now that I have rained on the parade with that opening I'll tell you what I use for hackles.

White Goose feathers: I bleach it then dye to suit, this makes a Heron substitute.

Schlapplan: Chicken feathers dye to suit or buy pre dyed.

Blue Earred Pheasant: Another heron substitute, I use rump and flank feathers.

This is bleach burnt goose dyed gray on a Jock O' Dee and an unnamed fly I tied.





This is goose dyed black;



This Ackroyd is made with chicken - black dyed schlapplen feather



More Chicken;


I had a hard time finding a picture of Blue Earred Pheasant but this was made with it.



I had pulled all the fibers down while setting the wings and don't have a picture of the fly with the hackles flowing evenly back. The point of digging the pictures up and posting is just to say that I found ways to tie fairly fancy flies without promoting the demise of a bird species in some country where someone may kill a heron for the equivalent of $5.00 USD.

I'm done now :cool:
 

keithick

Well-known member
Messages
387
Reaction score
601
Can anyone suggest a suitable spey style hackle.

I quite like to add various hackles as the last stage of a (say WG style) tube. A couple of years ago a herons misfortune on the Berwick bypass proved to be my good fortune and a fellow forumite dyed the feathers for me. I'm down to my last couple and would really like a decent black substitute.

I'm looking at a GP rump feather as I type that would do the job, does anyone know where I could get a black skin, or does anyone have another option.

Ian
Cookshill usually has some, Sean Stanton sometimes has it as well , think he comes under Francnsnelda on the web
 

Loxie

Well-known member
Messages
10,932
Reaction score
1,566
Can anyone suggest a suitable spey style hackle.

I quite like to add various hackles as the last stage of a (say WG style) tube. A couple of years ago a herons misfortune on the Berwick bypass proved to be my good fortune and a fellow forumite dyed the feathers for me. I'm down to my last couple and would really like a decent black substitute.

I'm looking at a GP rump feather as I type that would do the job, does anyone know where I could get a black skin, or does anyone have another option.

Ian
I found a dead heron a couple of years ago and have been lambasted by traditional fly tyers for hoying it without removing the feathers. Should I ever find another which bits should I pluck?
 

ozzyian

Well-known member
Messages
5,507
Reaction score
1,485
Location
East Lothian
Thats a blast from the past. I think Loxie the long breast feathers are the desired ones, if you had a look at a dead bird I think you would see them, the desired characteristic is long separated barbs
 

Loxie

Well-known member
Messages
10,932
Reaction score
1,566
Thats a blast from the past. I think Loxie the long breast feathers are the desired ones, if you had a look at a dead bird I think you would see them, the desired characteristic is long separated barbs
I think I know what you mean. They have very long thin pointy feather on the breast. If I find one I'll whip those out and post them on.
 

ozzyian

Well-known member
Messages
5,507
Reaction score
1,485
Location
East Lothian
Much obliged, if you are at a loose end feel free to trap them, remove the feathers as described and release them again :)
 
Top