Published Feb 1. 2012 - 12 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 27. 2020

#32 - Gray Ghost

Tied by: Don Bastian, Bob Frandsen, Greg Heffner, Ryan Houston, Gray Wolf Originated by: Carrie Stevens Sources: Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing -...

#32 Grey Ghosts - Originated by Carrie Stevens and tied by Don Bastian, Robert Frandsen, Greg Heffner, Ryan Houston and Gray Wolf

Tied by: Don Bastian, Bob Frandsen, Greg Heffner, Ryan Houston, Gray Wolf
Originated by: Carrie Stevens
Sources: Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing - Joseph D. Bates 279-281

Hook: #2 8xl Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek Rangeley Steamer
Thread: White
Tag: Flat silver tinsel
Body: Orange floss / silk
Ribbing: Fine flat silver tinsel
Belly: 6 strands of peacock herl followed by a small bunch of white bucktail
Throat: Golden pheasant crest
Underwing: A long golden pheasant crest extending past the hook bend
Wing: 4 olive-grey hackles
Shoulder: Silver pheasant
Eye: Jungle cock nail
Head: Black (with red band optional)

Notes: The Gray Ghost along with the Black Ghost are likely the 2 most recognizable streamers. When Carrie conceived the notion to tie the fly, she put aside her house chores at the time. Carrie was inspired to dress the streamer to imitate a smelt and had decided upon a gray wing with a white belly. She then modified the streamer by adding a few other feathers to further enhance it's look as a bait fish. She cast the streamer from the dam into the fast waters below and hooked up with a 6lb 13oz brook trout. She entered the trout into the Field and Stream fishing contest which netted her second prize and an oil painting by Lynn Bogue Hunt. Soon after the win, Carrie was receiving many fly orders, and so began her foray into commercial tying. 

According to Carrie's letter to Joseph Bates, the fly had undergone several versions before settling on the current. The original Gray Ghost used only 2 hackles in the wing, and a larger portion of bucktail. this was later revised to a smaller bundle of hair and 4 hackles (which Carrie dyed herself). She describes using a cheek feather with black spots before discovering jungle cock nails. It would also be noted that Carrie did not start tying on longer shanks until a couple years after creating the Gray Ghost, so her earliest examples have a quite different look than her refined Gray Ghost. 

The Gray Ghost was the first of the long line of Ghost family of streamers. Carrie Stevens credits Mr. Frank Bugbee of Willimantic, Connecticut with naming the iconic streamer. The Black Ghost(an original design rather than an adaptation), Red Gray Ghost, Green Ghost, White ghost, Lady Ghost, Brown Ghost and several other variations are among the many streamers that comprise the ghost lineage. 

#32 Grey Ghost - Don Bastian


Comment to #32 - Gray Ghost...

Amazing set of Ghosts, been waiting for this one!! Didn't disappoint, what a showing of one of the most classic of feather-wing streamers. Nicely done.

Comment to #32 - Gray Ghost...

This is one of my favorite flies to fish and look at it and tit is a pleasure to see these together. Thanks!

Comment to #32 - Gray Ghost...

There is something so elegant and simple about this fly. Absolutely beautiful ties.


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