Category Archives: fly art

The art of Johnathan Cole Griswold

Owner of Grizzly River Art.
Nashville, NC.

“Ever since I can remember I have been drawing and fly-fishing. If I wasn’t hunched over a drawing pad I was out slinging cheap department store flies at a farm pond down the road from my house. I didn’t know a single soul who fly fished so I taught myself. Any kid can catch a fish with a bright colored bobber and a wiggling worm, but I wanted a challenge. I wanted to be an artist indoors and outdoors.

When I catch a fish the size is the last thing that draws my attention. These colorful creatures are so amazing with perfect lines, thick powerful bodies, and extreme intellect. I want to capture that beauty on paper and share it with the world.

When people see my artwork they say, “how do you draw like that?”When it comes to drawing something it’s actually a pretty simple process. It’s just being able to see every detail large and small of whatever it is you’re drawing and transferring that mental image into your hands then on to paper. And of course patience lots and lots of patience!”

Instagram : @grizzlyriverart

Instagram personal page: @tuscarora_grizzly45

Business email:


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Filed under fish art, fly art

Art bugs by Peder and Robert

Peder Wigdell and Robert Strahl have tied up some beautiful bugs in the last couple of months. They will both tell you, these are not realistic fishing flies, they are just art. Even though you cannot fish with them, I thought it was worth displaying them here so people can see this level of realism is possible in fly tying. So check them out and enjoy!

Tied by Robert Strahl

Sulphur Dun tied by Robert Strahl

Tied by Peder Wigdell

Tied by Peder Wigdell

Mosquito tied by Peder Wigdell

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Filed under fly art, Realistic

Green Bus Designs

Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Michael Williams studied Art Education at Michigan State University and has been teaching 6th-12th Grade Art and U.S. History for the past 15 years. Once he began his teaching career, his art projects included requests from friends and colleagues at school, project examples for students, and t-shirt designs for various clubs and organizations. It wasn’t until one of his students recently asked him to help draw a Rapala that he really started to pursue art for himself again.

“I found that I really had a great time with not only the process of creating these images, but also sharing my work with others, which was something I typically didn’t care to do. My classroom and kitchen table became littered with drawings of my favorite flies and lures, covered in Sharpies and watercolors.”


His love for fishing and art really started at about the same time in his life,

“My great grandpa and mom fostered my love for drawing and my grandpa Jack introduced me to my love of fishing. I became obsessed with fishing at the age of 7 when I took a trip to a family cabin in Ontario, chasing Pink Salmon and Brook Trout.”

His love of fishing has since grown into a year-round pursuit of steelhead, kings and browns with a close-knit group of friends who have the same love of the river. Williams has spent the past 26 years fishing the Big Two Hearted River, still with his 80-year-old grandpa in tow. Michael explains,

“Being surrounded by the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, enjoying my grandpa’s stories of the river and the fish, and appreciating the walls of a green 1960 GMC school bus that was our fish camp, will always feel like home.”


Now living in Oscoda, Michigan for the past 10 years, he spends most of his time on the hallowed Au Sable River and the rivers of North-East Michigan.

“I would have never imagined that a few doodles for my personal enjoyment, would lead to the creation of stickers for anglers, and ultimately so many great conversations and opportunities. For this, I have to thank my friends and family, most importantly my wife and twin sons.”

If you are interested in purchasing decals, art, or want a custom piece by Michael, head over to the Green Bus Designs website.



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Fly Tying comic pages – Alyssa Halls

Alyssa Halls of Owl Creek Flies has been extremely busy lately. Not only has she been tying flies and making fly tying videos, she has been drawing fly tying comic pages for a friend of hers that requested them. They aren’t full step-by-steps, but more art to show glimpses of the process of tying some of the flies designed by Owl Creek Flies, like The Cannonball, El Pulpo, and Thunder and Lightning.

If you haven’t seen the full step-by-step Alyssa drew of the Cowboy Wayne, an articulated mouse pattern, you can find it here.
Awesome stuff!




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Andrea Larko – Angling Artist

Andrea Larko

Andrea Larko

I’ve been admiring Andrea Larko’s artwork for some time and I recently messaged her to see if she might be able to send me something to post on FrankenFly. To my surprise, she is a fan of FrankenFly! She said she even named one of her fish FrankenTrout. How cool is that!?!? So take your time browsing her beautiful artwork and to keep up with all of her eye candy you can visit her art Facebook page at or to purchase her work you can visit her Etsy store at
Now I’ll let Andrea take it away, so read on…

Andrea writes…

My earliest memory was learning how to draw a house with perspective. Since then I’ve been hooked on art of many kinds. From taking courses while I was in college in printmaking, glass forming, pottery and sculpture to fine art, graphic design, and jewelry making, art of all kinds has always inspired me.
I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology without the clear sense of personal style that many of my peers had evolved. I enjoyed drawing anything, painting with any medium, and loved to experiment rather than focus on one particular strength. I wasn’t afraid to fail and loved to learn what worked well and what didn’t but more importantly, why it worked or failed. I didn’t want to be told what the rules of art were, I wanted to figure them out for myself.


Through college drawing incorporated itself into so many aspects of my life. I always found myself doodling in margins, drawing on my clothing or even myself if I didn’t have paper. When I saw something that inspired me I’d start to see things the way I’d draw or paint them. Those visual images would stick in my mind almost as if they were burned into the back of my eyelids until I could get them onto paper or a canvas. I still see every piece in my head before it goes onto paper, and with each new piece I create I get closer and closer to being able to make it look the way the back of my eyelids see it. I do, however, realize my limitations, and have had some pieces stuck in my head for years now, knowing full well that I’m not at the point yet where I could master trying to paint them. I know I’ll get there eventually and I know they’re not going anywhere soon, so until then I just aspire to learn from every mistake and each time I get a little closer to where I want to be.

Growing up with 3 sisters, my parents shared their love for fishing with us. I still remember my father casting a rod for me and putting worms on my hook. He even let my sisters and me reel in his fish if we weren’t having any luck. My mother would help us with our casting in the front yard and we all loved going hunting for nightcrawlers after it rained. When we were too young to start fishing my mother would take us with her to watch my father catch fish larger than we were. I was always amazed by the beauty of what came out of the water.


As my sisters and I grew older fishing took a back seat to education and us all moving for college, but my father still recognized the importance of being on the water, and decided to start a family trip. We now go salmon fishing every year together and camp for a weekend reconnecting and telling the best fish stories from the day and years past.
After I graduated from college I moved back to my hometown of Indiana, PA and started fishing again when I could find the time. I met the love of my life and he purchased me my first fly rod 6 years ago. Needless to say I feel in love with fishing all over again. I felt closer to the water and found a sense of peace and tranquility from being on a stream that I much needed. Once my boyfriend held a fly rod in his hands he fell in love as well. We started spending our free time tying flies and scouting the streams for trout. I ended up with beautiful photographs of so many fish and thought it was a shame they just sat in iPhoto, so I decided to make a few oil paintings for our fly tying and art studio to brighten up the bare walls. After they were posted on Facebook and Instagram I was asked to make prints, so I did, and my business as an angling artist began.


I made prints from the color study sketches I did for the paintings and also a few others I was asked for. I enjoyed what I was doing but it seemed as though anyone could draw a realistic fish. So I started sketching one night with a fish outline and as I always have done while I was thinking, I started to doodle. I ended up with a doodle fish and I thought it looked interesting. I tried to play off the surfaces of the fish, what would be flat I put straight lines and where I wanted dimension I added more detail and curves. They’re so much fun to create. I’m so thankful that people have enjoyed these whimsical illustrations as much as I enjoy creating them. I never dreamed I could be so lucky to live out my dreams of being an artist and getting to fish some wonderful places with someone who appreciates it as much as I do.

-Andrea Larko


Filed under fly art

Crooked Creek Holler

In my eyes there are very few companies out there with bad ass fly fishing art for gear and such. Crooked Creek Holler has caught my eye on more than one occasion with some sweet looking merchandise! On top of the cool designs already available, they have just added some brand spankin’ new bass tees. Owner Danny Reed is doing a bang up job. See some of the Crooked Creek Holler offerings below.

Head over to the Crooked Creek Holler product section to see more goodies. To keep up with new offerings and some nice fish, be sure to check in on their blog.


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Filed under fly art, Fly Fishing, New Product

The art of Nate Karnes

Appalachian Native

Appalachian Native

I live in Joplin, Missouri and love fishing the little creeks, streams and ponds around the area. I also enjoy going to Arkansas from time to time, as well as any other place that has fishable water. In May of 2011, a tornado tore through Joplin about 10 blocks south of my house. In the wake of that tragic event I did some soul-searching. In the years prior to that, I had gotten away from doing art of any kind, so I decided to take some time and create a piece for my home that I had wanted to do for several years. The piece I wanted to do was Brook Trout markings made out of Oak and stained rather than painted. I really loved working on that piece, and as I did other ideas came to mind of how I could combine my love for fly fishing and my passion to create. From there I’ve done other abstract fish markings out of wooden dowel rods as well as cutting, sanding, and staining/painting scales of different fish. Creating pieces this way gives them a dimension and texture that are unique and interesting (to me anyway!) to look at. I’ve also done several paintings and even a Tarpon piece out of aluminum that I was a TON of work but I think turned out pretty cool.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

I’ve also gotten back into drawing – t-shirt designs, fly boxes, stickers, etc. I really like having fun and drawing things that I think are fun or funny. Probably the most popular things I’ve done are my pigs. I was literally in the shower one morning thinking about how fisherman call big fish they catch “pigs” and thought it would be funny to draw an actual pig with Brown Trout markings. People who don’t fish don’t get it, but fisherman see them and immediately get the joke. I’ve done several other pigs since the initial Pig Brown Trout – Smallmouth, Musky, Carp, etc.

Pig Brown Trout

Pig Brown Trout

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting involved in the fly fishing community through my art. There are so many folks I haven’t actually met, but there is a camaraderie that exists between those of us who know the joy that being obsessed with being outside on the water pursuing fish on the fly.


If you would like to order something from Nate or keep up with his latest art, go to his website, Nate Karnes – ScaleFish Studio.

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Twisted Firestarter by Eunan Hendron

This fly came about after I tied the Eastern Sunset. I felt on an artistic roll, and decided to break out the big 8/0 4.5 inch hook I’ve had stashed away for over a year.
Truth be told, I had a completely different idea for this hook, which I kind of started out on, but it soon morphed to what you see before you. The already started fly is pictured (below) with a 3/0 hook, similar to that on which I tied the Eastern Sunset.
You’ll notice from the final fly, and the earlier pictures that I changed the tail. This was to complement the tail veiling, Amherst tippets flanked by smaller jungle cock nails. The early tail was just a Golden crest, but I soon switched it out to an Amherst crest. You might even see the very tip of the tail is banded like the Amherst tippets; I thought this was cool. The jungle cock, as you will see, ended up being a running theme through out the whole fly. Perhaps the only section that doesn’t fit with the rest of the fly is the white floss with blue rib This was a transition section, and I wanted it to be a bit different. White floss and blue tinsel are not often seen on flies. Soon after tying this part, the fly began to morph to its current form. There is also a fine gold tinsel rib leading the blue tinsel.
The copper tinsel section, is again another feature not often evident in classic flies, and I went with embossed tinsel to futher enhance the appearance. This is the beginning of the metamorphosis from what I had intended to what came out. The tippets veiling this section are from an Am-Gold pheasant, as are the crests (light coloration) veiling both sets of tippets. At this point I started to see more of a color theme forming, so I went with Jungle cock cheeks for the tippets, and an orange herl butt.
Keeping the jungle cock theme was something I did on a whim. The Chatterer fly (Traherne) is a fly I’ve long wanted to tie, but never really gave it a shot. That fly has chatterer, or more often these days, Kingfisher feathers, tied along the body. I’ve seen other artistic flies using Jungle Cock, so I decided to give it a try. It work out ok. There is a black floss body under the jungle cock body. For the most part all are in the right place, except one or two. I’ll let you try to figure out which ones are not up to scratch. Veiling this section we have back to back Jungle Cock nails, surrounded by dark Am-Gold crests, and butted with black ostrich.


The last body section is simply orange floss, with two tinsel ribs. Between them is an experimental rib I wanted to try. Orignally I wanted to have a very bushy and almost ‘mohair mane’ like rib, but that didn’t quite work out, so instead it ended up a more compact rib threaded between the tinsels – it is a hand blended mix of yellow and orange mohair in the ratio of approx 2.5 yellow : 1 orange. Hackle here is blue eared pheasant.


Finally the front wings. These are comprised of back to back spear shaped Jungle cock. There was literally only two pairs of those shaped nails on the cape so everything worked out well in that regard – i.e. I didn’t screw up any of them. The married wings are custom dyed sunburst goose shoulder with kori bustard. Cheeks are jungle cock. I decided to forego toppings over as the head was already pretty bulky and I didnt want to ruin the wings, an easy thing to do with toppings. Head is black thread varnished to a high gloss finish.



Keep up with Eunan at

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Filed under fly art, Salmon

Becca Schlaff – artist

Below you can read more about Becca, but I wanted to chime in and say you should definitely take the time to gaze at her art. It’s not just beautiful, but if you are a FrankenFly reader, it’s our favorite subject right?!?! I met Becca last year at the fly tying show in Holt, MI. She was very pleasant to talk to and her art in person was even better! Be sure to look at her website to see more of her work. She also does commissions if you want her to paint custom work for you.


Becca began showing professionally in May 2010 and has gained praise as an emerging artist.  Her style of painting brings the awe of the natural world to fishing enthusiasts and art collectors alike.  Many admirers of her work often remark how it provides both the sense of seeing the fish itself and also the experience of being out on the water.

Becca grew up in Pinckney, MI surrounded by rivers, lakes, and fields…endless playgrounds for her imagination which still hold true today no matter where she is on the map.  She has exhibited in juried art shows across Michigan and Florida, and her work is held in private collections in the United States, Canada, England, and Sweden.  She has been featured in MidCurrent, American Angler, and Fly Rod & Reel magazine.

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David Ruimveld

I have been creating art for 25 years professionally – meaning I make a meager living at this more than full time career. I am known for the River Map Series and I was painting Trout and Angling Art before it was cool. I have recently been working in clay, mixing it in with my paintings and castings. I also love to pursue Grouse & Woodcock with my bird dog, so.. I have a bit of Sporting art in my portfolio. I work with acrylic paints mostly in a water color style.

Visit David’s website: David Ruimveld Studio

Rivers Of Michigan

Rivers Of Michigan

Au Sable River

Au Sable River

Lower Malleo River

Lower Malleo River

River Maps – I started out my career as an artist with the release of 2 River Maps – The ” Au Sable River ” & the ” Pere Marquette River “. These sold so well that I was able to paint full time for a living. That was 24 years ago. I just finished the ” Lower Malleo River ” – Patagonia – for a company called Andes Drifters. Working on several more for this spring release.

Mayfly Mayhem

Mayfly Mayhem


Castings & Clay – the castings were mold made from an original clay sculpture on tile that I created. Each casting is hand painted and is an original work of art. With some of the larger pc’s I will use several castings and add original clay and then paint them with acrylics. I am working on several larger originals with clay mixed in with the painting.


Commissions – Most of my commissions are of bird dogs, Rivers Maps, and some fly paintings.  image –   ” Brothers ” 3.5′ X 5.5′

Fifty Years

Fifty Years

Conservation Efforts – I work with TU, DU , Ruffed Grouse Society, & the FF.




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