Flies for the Wall

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel
grizzly king.jpg

A few years ago, nationally acclaimed artist Lincoln Stone was asked by an old friend to take an illustration of a trout fly and express it as a piece of fine art to decorate the rock fireplace of the Catatoga lake lodge in western North Carolina.

Stone agreed and completed the commission, inspiring him to further study the elegant history of fly-fishing, and to ultimately release a limited edition collection of vintage 19th century trout fly designs as fine art.

Stone, whose craftsmanship can be found in such places as the Smithsonian Museum and the Fernbank Natural History Museum in Atlanta, is offering his expressions of two classic trout flies; the Royal Coachman and the Grizzly King. Stone will limit the release of the two designs to 125 originals each, all hand-signed and numbered by the artist.

The trout fly designs, each measuring four-feet in breadth, are predominately made from natural materials. The hook is made from poplar, a sustainable hardwood, and the wings, tail and hackle are crafted out of sheets of copper. Herl from the eyed-tails of peacocks is being used to recreate the traditional body of the Royal Coachman fly. The floss windings on each of the flies are made of an elegant satin cord.

“I cannot imagine a more artful and engaging pastime than that of fly fishing,” remarked Stone. There is an artistry in the fluid curves of the trout line as it defies gravity in search of a resting place, and certainly there is unique imagination in the wondrous trout fly, a miniature piece of art in its own right. I feel privileged to be able to interpret that artful pastime through my own passion.”

Stone’s trout fly art is 48” in width and crafted to either hang as a piece of wall art, or for presentation on a table-top. Each piece is individually hand-made to exacting standards designed to maintain the creative vitality and stability of the art for decades to come.

The trout flies chosen by Stone represent two of the most famous designs in the sport, their origins both dating back to the 1800’s:

The Royal Coachman, with its peacock herl body bound in the middle with striking red silk, is regarded as “the world’s most famous trout fly,” according to The Orvis Story by Paul Schullery. The Royal Coachman was first tied in 1878 by John Haily of New York City, and features broad white wings and a colorful tail of Golden Pheasant tippet. The Grizzly King’s origin dates back to the 1830’s in the British Isles, but the fly became popular in America by the mid-19th century. The Grizzly King’s unique green and gold ribbing and broad wings of black and white bars (Mallard breast) are set off by a tail of crimson, commonly thought to resemble a sword.

Stone hand-paints the coloring of the Mallard and Golden Pheasant feathers, and White Duck quill traditionally used to tie Grizzly King and Royal Coachman flies. In that effort he enjoys the artistic counsel of Mary Jane Stone, his wife and a national-class artist who has been commissioned by the National Audubon Society on several occasions to capture the art of wild birds with brush and paint.

Says Mary Jane. Stone, “The feathers of North American game birds are elemental in the design of nearly all trout flies, and I am thrilled to be able to lend my expertise to this exciting project.”

Lincoln Stone’s 30-year history as an artist includes commissions for The Smithsonian Museum, Hyatt Regency Hotels, the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Disney World, Turner Advertising, The City of Detroit and Callaway Gardens Resort. Stone is a contributor to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The fine art trout flies are being marketed by Atlanta-based Windfall Communications with an expected retail price of $3,250. For further information on the Royal Coachman and Grizzly King fine art trout flies contact Warren Grant at 404-266-2351.