“Now and then fishermen get excited about a fly that has been ‘outlawed’ in England or the Sahara Desert. That fly is said to be a wicked killer.”

– Arthur R. MacDougall, Jr.

Over the years, a lot of new streamer flies have been tied, tried and talked about since famed Maine outdoorswoman Carrie Stevens first fashioned the Grey Ghost from some hat feathers. Most anglers have developed some strong prejudices about which streamer flies are the most effective. Generally these fly preferences are formed by experiences on the water.

A few years back, I fished a number of small trout ponds in Southern Aroostook County with Bradley angler Gifford Stevens. A hard-core angler and a fun guy to share a boat with, Stevens spent many hours fishing the county during his teaching days at Houlton’s Ricker College. He knows the waters. He knows his flies. And he loves to fish!

Although water temperatures were hovering just above 42 degrees, we managed to boat some trout. Flies that caught fish were: Black Ghost, Grey Ghost, Cecil Smelt, Joe’s Smelt, Mickey Finn and a relatively new creation, a Jeff’s Smelt.

Of this fly selection, the old standby Micky Finn and the Jeff’s Smelt saw the most action. While you probably have a few “Finns” in your fly book, it’s doubtful that you have, or have ever heard of a Jeff’s Smelt.

Stevens swears by this particular streamer fly. His stepson, Jeff LaBree of Rockland, dreamed up this little beauty about 10 years ago. Says Stevens, “I know of no pattern so effective for taking trout, salmon and bass. It ought to be banned as a worm in a hatchery run.”

After some coaxing, Stevens, with his stepson’s consent, agreed to let me “share the wealth.” Here’s the recipe:

Jeff’s Smelt

Hook: Size 4-8, long shank streamer

Tail: Bunch of golden pheasant tippets

Body: Copper cord

Chin: White marabou as long as shank under which is yellow marabou one- half length of shank.

Wing: Light or dark marabou (gray); three or four strands of blue crystal flash; top with four or five strands peacock herl.

Head: Red thread

Cheeks: Red-dyed duck breast feathers over which are two jungle cock eyes.

Like most creative streamer flies, LaBree’s concoction doesn’t come easy. It involves some material and some work. But it works, and surely will one day join the ranks of Maine’s other legendary streamer flies.

Short casts

Although not conclusive, it appears likely that there will be a fall firerarms season this fall for turkeys in Maine. As proposed, the season will be a six-day shotgun season that will run from the Saturday before the Youth Deer Day and end on the Friday before the Youth Deer Day in late October. The hunting areas for Maine’s first fall turkey hunt will include Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) in southern and central Maine. Bag limit will likely be a bird of either sex. Legal hunting times will be the same as deer season …There is also a good chance that Maine’s Penobscot River will be open next spring to the fishing of Atlantic Salmon on a catch- and-release basis … After many years of closure to deer hunting, it also appears that Marsh Island in Old Town and Orono will be open this fall to bow hunters. The University of Maine is balking at this proposal and the DIF&W commissioner has a proposed meeting with the President of UMO. Stay tuned … The Maine State Legislature, by a close margin, voted down a proposal from an anti-hunting group, the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, to ban recreational bear trapping in Maine. Skip Trask, spokesman for the Maine Trappers Assn. thanked trappers and sportsmen for turning out in droves at the public hearing on the proposed ban. It was held at the Augusta Civic Center. Proponents of the measure, many of the groups that supported the bear referendum of two years ago, characterized trappers as “barbaric terrorists” and purveyors of “unspeakable cruelty.”

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WCME-FM 96.7) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is [email protected]