Heron Substitute - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Heron Substitute

I'm looking to start experimenting with tying akroyds/skagit mist/lady caroline type flies. I really like tying most of my current wetflies on AJ #3 irons. What substitutes are out there besides the Whiting Spey Hackle capes? I just don't have the desire to spend $40 on a cape that will be used minimally. Is pheasant rump appropriate for this?

Thanks

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 12:55 PM
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Blue eared pheasant. You can purchase in different colors and works great.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 01:12 PM
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Go to canadiantubeflies.com They sell real heron...and it is a species legal for import to the US. Just work your way through the site and they will tell you what they can ship here and what they cannot. When you get to the heron page read the column on the left...that will give you the details. And so you know...I have no stake in the company nor am I affiliated with them in any way.

I know about these feathers...because I have some from them and it is super!!!

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George
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSFT View Post
Go to canadiantubeflies.com They sell real heron...and it is a species legal for import to the US. Just work your way through the site and they will tell you what they can ship here and what they cannot. When you get to the heron page read the column on the left...that will give you the details. And so you know...I have no stake in the company nor am I affiliated with them in any way.

I know about these feathers...because I have some from them and it is super!!!
what george said, I've been ordering from them for awhile now, and have had no problems and great products, cameron
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 08:39 PM
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Purple Heron is legit if you can get it for the right price. If your looking for subs, Ringneck Pheasant rump is cheap and you can usually find lots of colors, although it's quite a bit shorter, so plan on using two feathers if your palmering up the body. Once in a while, you can find a really good pack of Extra Select Marabou, which has minimal barbules and looks the part, although it's significantly more limp than heron. I've not had good luck with the Whiting Spey Hackle so far. Even more limp and fragile than marabou, you're better off spending your money elsewhere.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 11:11 PM
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i managed a trip to the big river yesterday and fished this fly . no fish (3 guys , 7hrs ea. ) , beautiful day on the river though for sure . but , this looked pretty fishy . my bud commented so as they swum by him .
peacock herl , spun in a loop . i trim the short ends after spinning and bury them in the dubbing . just one idea .
now to hook up on one . ha ha
i also like the heron from canadian tube fly .
thanks to everyone , jim
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SW Alexander View Post
Plenty of Purple Heron floating around that was imported by Hareline in the late 90's. I purchased over 10lbs of 4-6" hackles. I don't sell materials, but McNeese might have a source...ask about 100pks.
i just drooled all over my screen with envy, nice bundles, cameron
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 08:36 AM
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Wow

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i just drooled all over my screen with envy, nice bundles, cameron
I don't tie enough Speys or Dees to drool over all those feathers...but I am pretty damn close
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 09:29 AM
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Burnt Goose maybe. I have bought some but haven't used it yet.
Anybody have experience with it?

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 11:48 AM
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As regards burnt goose as a heron substitute. Yes and no. Yes it works to make nice flies - sometimes. The problem is consistency. Too much time in the bleach and the feathers become brittle. Too little and the flue remains fluffy and still clings together. Not my first choice, although it is widely available.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 03:34 PM
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I bought a Blue-Eared Pheasant pelt from Feathers MC four years ago, and it's been great. Highly recommended. I've tried the Whiting spey capes, and can't recommend them. Wispy and brittle in my experience.

Last edited by debarb; 10-12-2019 at 05:32 PM.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 03:39 PM
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I’ve tried every thing mentioned save blue eared pheasant, and I like them all, but they are all different and behave differently in water.

One not mentioned is Rhea. I believe it was brought into the market as a heron replacement as well. But, it too is different.

In regards to winding up a hook shank, your best bet will be whiting farm Spey hackle or blue eared pheasant. Pheasant rump won’t make it. And goose sucks!

But, there is now legal heron called pond heron that isn’t anymore expensive than all the other feathers listed. Canadian Tube has it and it’s awesome as well! Blue eared pheasant is extremely versatile and nice but probably the most expensive out of them all. For smaller collaring work the pheasant rump is gorgeous. And I’m beginning to like the whiting farm stuff more and more! Never tried schlappen, but I’m sure it rocks for catching fish and you can hackle all the way up a hook with it. Maybe try a pack of the long stuff from Fish hunter??

Good luck

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 09:43 AM
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Natural and dyed waterfowl flank/shoulder can make for a nice spey type hackle, it's inexpensive and available from most venders. I used dyed black bronze mallard on this fly.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelheadMN View Post
I'm looking to start experimenting with tying akroyds/skagit mist/lady caroline type flies. I really like tying most of my current wetflies on AJ #3 irons. What substitutes are out there besides the Whiting Spey Hackle capes? I just don't have the desire to spend $40 on a cape that will be used minimally. Is pheasant rump appropriate for this?

Thanks
Ringneck Pheasant rump is perfect for small speys. Heron feathers, those used for hackles, tend to be large with long, flowing barbules - so Dee and Spey patterns (Akroyd and Lady Caroline) trend on the larger side.

Goose shoulder is just OK. The stems become too thick too quickly that it is only good for 3-4 wraps before becoming too bulky. White goose feathers do take dyes very well so if you're into that you can have a variety of colors from just a pack or two. The barbules will separate when wet so it isn't necessary to bleach-burn them. A fly will only appear heavily hackled but dressing down well in the water.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 07:45 PM
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I just received a small shipment from the Canadian Tube Fly Company: 20 large gray heron feathers for $22.95 + $4 shipping. Most are 7.5-8 inches long, with fibers long enough for almost any spey hook. The requested color was for natural gray, and so says the invoice. I call them brown, dark in the lower feather, medium brown toward the base. A bit disappointing, but suitable for most traditional spey patterns. They also offer colored, and smaller, spey feathers. I'll be ordering more things from them.
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