#32 – Gray Ghost

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

Don BastianDon Bastian – Don was born and has lived in Pennsylvania all his life. He started fishing at about the same time he learned to walk. He has been tying flies and fly fishing since 1964. He has taught fly tying classes since 1987, has 16 years guiding experience, and has been operating his business, Bastian’s Angling Specialties since 1983.
Don Bastian Wet Flies | Don’s MyFlies.com profile
[visit Don’s streamer page]

#32 Grey Ghost - Bob Frandsen
#32 Grey Ghost - Bob Frandsen

Robert FrandsenBob (Robert) Frandsen – I started fishing at a pretty early age going as a hanger on with my grandfather in my pre- school years.
I began tying flies at 13 under the guidance of Lance Wedlick who was well known in Australia more as writer.
“The Blacker Compendium” | Robert’s site
[visit Bob’s streamer page]

#32 Grey Ghost - Greg Heffner
#32 Grey Ghost - Greg Heffner

#32 Grey Ghost - Ryan Houston
#32 Grey Ghost - Ryan Houston

Ryan Houston Ryan Houston – I am a Veterinary surgeon working in Co. Fermanagh in Northern Ireland but if I didn’t have to work I would spend all day fishing and tying flies. I grew up fishing the river Lagan and we had an active competetion scene that forced me to become innovative in my fishing and fly tying. I won the ITFFA national rivers championship and represented Ireland at age 20 then 2 years later I repeated that success.
Ryan Houston Fly Tying
[visit Ryan’s streamer page on Streamers 365]

#32 Grey Ghost - Gray Wolf
#32 Grey Ghost - Gray Wolf


  1. […] The five streamers that led to the multi-toned streamer include the Winter’s Return, Indian Summer, Purple and Blue (aka the Lavender Blue Dilly), Regal Red and the Sky Blue Pink. The series of streamers all share similar construction with Golden pheasant crests used in the throat and many in the underwing, a nod to Carrie Stevens’ Gray Ghost. […]

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