How to Tie: The Grey Ghost

In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Kelly Galloup gives us a tutorial on how to tie a classic streamer pattern, the Grey Ghost.

Difficulty: Intermediate

The Grey Ghost is a streamer developed in Maine by the late Carrie G. Stevens. This fly was created to imitate smelt while targeting the big native brook trout that once, and still do in parts, inhabited Maine’s rivers. Although first tied in 1924, anglers imitating smelt swear by this pattern to this day. Some classics never lose their productivity or are replaced by new flies, and the Grey Ghost is a perfect example of one that has stood the test of time.

If looking to tie a dozen in a half hour, this may not be the fly for you. The Grey Ghost is a classic that demands, and deserves, patience on the vise. Selecting feathers of the proper profile and making sure they lay correctly will ensure you get the most out of this streamer pattern. When the smelt are running, big fish will key in on these large meal tickets heavily and it pays to have an arsenal of Grey Ghost’s in your fly box.

This how to tie tutorial is on the longer side, but Kelly Galloup’s video are long for a reason much like Quentin Tarantino movies. Tying the Grey Ghost goes well with your drink of choice and TheSlideInn playing in the background, as it should be a slow methodical process. Classic flies offer both beauty and effectiveness, and the Grey Ghost should undoubtedly accompany any angler targeting fish dialed in on smelt during their spawning runs.


  • Thread: Black Danville 210 
  • Hook: Daiichi 2220 #2
  • Tag: Large Silver Tinsel
  • Body: Large Silver Tinsel and Red 4 Strand Floss 
  • Belly: White Bucktail
  • Bottom Wing: Peacock Herl
  • Throat: Golden Pheasant Crest
  • Under Wing: Golden Pheasant Crest
  • Wing: Gray Hackle or Saddle Feathers
  • Shoulder: Silver Pheasant
  • Cheek: Jungle Cock Head: Black Thread (Red Band of thread or Red Lacquer)

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