Fly Tying

Fly Tying

Fly tying your own flies is highly satisfactory, especially when you start catching fish with them. It gives you self-confidence and pride in your craftsmanship and makes you want to go fly fishing even more.

Fly tying, however, requires patience, attention to detail, and a steady hand. Once you practice your fly tying, you can expand your dexterity to more elaborate fly tying techniques.

Here at Fly Fishing Outfitters, we offer fly tying kits that include the tools and materials you need to start. Such kits will offer a good introduction to fly tying and guide you into developing your own skills.

What Does Fly Tying Mean?

When you learn fly tying, you learn how to make your own artificial flies that you will use when you go fly fishing. The point is to create flies that match as perfectly as possible the real world. Your flies should imitate the progress of an insect’s life cycle and adjust to the riparian and aquatic life that exists through the seasons.

How Many Different Kinds of Flies Are There?

Understanding the life cycle of aquatic insects is the basis for tying flies. There are thousands of flies you can make. The insects and bugs that exist on the surface of the water and around vary with the river, season, and even time of day. You will find different bugs on a sunny summer morning and different ones in the late afternoon.

Generally speaking, fly fishing flies are categorized according to the lifecycle of a bug. That means you get:

  • Nymphs, which represent the larva stage of a bug
  • Emergers, which depict the in-between moment between aquatic stage and terrestrial life
  • Dry flies, which are adult flies that float on the surface of the water
  • Wet flies and streamers, which sink in the water

In short, there are as many kinds of flies you can make as there are bugs and insects that live around rivers and streams. Which is to say, countless.

Think of midges, Caddisflies, Stoneflies, mayflies, aquatic worms, grasshoppers, leeches, and beetles are just a few of the things that fish eat. There are even smaller fish that are great delicacies for larger fish.

Each insect has various stages in its life cycle. This means you can create several different flies based on a single insect during its aquatic, terrestrial, and in-between stages. You have literally thousands of options and opportunities.

Do I Need to Know about Entomology to Make Good Flies?

Entomology will certainly help your fly tying endeavors.

It is a good idea to simply sit by a creek or river and observe the life around it. Study what sorts of bugs emerge throughout the day and how fish respond to them. This will give you plenty of clues about the types of flies that will better mimic aquatic life and fool fish into biting.

However good your fly tying skills and no matter how believable your fly is, fish will not respond to it if they don’t expect this specific bug at that particular time of the day. You must place your flies within a specific aquatic habitat and blend in as best as possible.

To master the art of fly tying, you need more than fly tying fishing gear: you need to study nature. This will help you greatly during fly fishing as well because you will be better aware of your surroundings. You will also understand much better how to cast in a way that mimics an insect landing on the water and how to move your streamers in a manner that resembles real-life creatures like leeches.

What Sort of Tools Do I Need for Fly Tying?

Making a fly sounds simple enough: you hold a hook and gently place around it feathers, beads, wires, tinsel, and other materials. To properly attach all these without leaving loose wires or anything else that might spook a fish, however, you need the right fly fishing knot tying tools for the job.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most important fly tying tool is a simple vise, which is securely clamped on the table and holds firmly the hook. Once the hook is placed, you can start building your fly by winding around it wires, tinsel, feathers, and whatever other materials you wish.

You also need scissors and a whip finisher to help you make a knot and finish your fly. A bobbin will help you wind the wires more easily and steadily. You may also need pliers and head cement to secure the end of the loose wire on the fly.

How Should I Start Fly Tying?

We suggest you start with attending a couple of classes at your local fly shop. Getting hands on teaching will start you off on the right footing. A good teacher will be able to show you techniques that make tying your own flies that much more fun and productive.

Start with tying larger flies, they are easier to make and don’t require the dexterity that smaller and more intricate flies demand. If you start with something too complicated, you risk getting frustrated and discouraged.Once you have tackled simple fly tying techniques and you are pleased with the results, you can move on to more complex fly fishing ties.

Keep in mind that your first fly tying attempts will probably be less than perfect. Given time and patience, you will develop your skills. When you look back at your first attempts, you will likely notice the mistakes you made. Instead of throwing your first flies in the bin, cut through the wires with a razor and keep the hook to use in your future ties.

One last tip is to start with fly fishing ties that require the same size of hooks and wire diameter. This way, you won’t need to buy several different hooks and various wire diameters. Keep things simple at the beginning. Once you have honed your skills, you can invest in more sophisticated fly ties.

Fly Fishing Outfitters Fly Tying

Here at Fly Fishing Outfitters, we have everything you need to get you started on fly tying, including a fly fishing tying kit. Arm yourself with patience and determination and you will soon get hooked on fly tying and making your own flies!

Fly tying used to be a winter hobby for fishermen with ample time in their hands. They would prepare their flies and have them ready for spring fishing. Why not take a leaf out of their book? Whenever you miss fly fishing, sit at your table and start making flies. After all, fly fishing season is never far away!

Showing all 6 results

  • Dr. Slick Ceramic Bobbin



    Bobbins are the critical tool in tying since they must keep smooth tension on the thread spool and have super smooth inserts to apply the thread to your fly. To this end, we have created three series of bobbins that handle these tasks with ease. All have delrin feet for smooth tension on the thread spool, and have either dual glass, ceramic or titanium oxide inserts for smooth application of thread to fly. These funnel shaped inserts allow for a smoother application of thread or other materials as the bobbin is rotated, and they cause less breakage than traditional pipe or straight edged inserts.

    Available in 3″  4″ and 4.75″

  • Dr. Slick Hair Stacker




    Dr. Slick Co. Has been building the highest quality tools for fly fishers and fly tiers since 1989.  The company was founded by a surgeon who understood that the essential tools of a angler, especially a fly tier of surgical quality.  Dr. Slick tools are designed by fishermen, for fishermen, you’ll find innovative and unique tools to suit your tying and angling needs.

    To this day, Dr. Slick continues to lead the industry in quality and innovation.  Each DR. SLICK instrument produced undergoes a 6-step inspection process to ensure the highest quality possible, and each instrument carries the Dr. Slick logo on it to guarantee that it is the best they have to offer. 

    If you want precision tools made to last, you’ll want DR. SLICK. 

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    Dr. Slick Prism Scissors



    This Big-Three-based series has a Titanium Nitride coating on the entire scissor. The coating creates a harder blade surface and thus makes these scissors ideal for synthetic materials. The finish is a unique and fantastic swirl of red, green, blue and orange, and no two finishes are ever the same.

    • Prism Finish
    • Serrated Blade
    • Available in Straight Blade Only
  • Peak Portable LED Light


    At PEAK, we were unhappy with the lighting solutions currently available. Halogen lights became too hot and needed a cooling off period before they could be put away, and worse yet, some could even result in burns if touched. Fluorescent sources were frequently not bright enough, produced off color light spectrums, were bulky, and the tubes are fragile. To solve this, PEAK came up with the Portable Fly-Tying Light. Our LED light source runs cool and provides a wide angle of light to illuminate your entire tying area with minimal power consumption. Even after a full day of tying, the housing remains cool to the touch; no need to worry about burning your hand if you accidentally touch your light. You also won’t feel the heat buildup in your tying area that you may from some light sources so tying will be safer and more comfortable.

  • Peak Rotary Vise



    peak fishing logo prv-g2 rotary vise

    peak prvg2 png fly tying vise with pedestal base

    Peak Fishing has been building some on the highest quality Tying vises in Colorado since 1994. Drawing on input from a very talented pool of local Colorado fly tiers, and their own engineering, fabrication, and manufacturing expertise, PEAK turned out their durable, functional, and affordable PEAK Rotary Fly-Tying Vise. All Peak vises are constructed from stainless steel, brass and Aircraft aluminum. Each detail of all of our vises are thoroughly thought out and designed to make your fly-tying enjoyable and productive. The steel jaws are built to hold hooks from size 2/0 to the smallest hooks available. Adjustments are simple and easily accomplished.  Materials are chosen for strength, durability, and smooth operation. All of this is accomplished at a price well below the competition and backed by PEAK’s limited lifetime warranty.

    As with the Pedestal Base configuration, PEAK’s C-Clamp mounting vise is engineered to outperform the competition. Reverse the lower rabbeted jaw to get a grip range from 2-1/4” to 11/16”. Jaws ride on precision guide rods, which hold the jaw faces parallel, meaning no rotating clamp screw to damage your table or work surface. Adjusting the clamp is accomplished by utilizing the large, comfortable tri-lobal screw. The deep rabbeted jaw engages even rounded table edges, so your vise won’t rock or shake as you tie. You won’t find a more stable, versatile, or robust clamp, and it’s the only clamp that will accept our accessory post.

    Almost all our shops tiers have been using Peak vises for year, because of their durability and ease of use.

  • Umpqua Dream Stream Clamp


    Dream Stream is a line of high quality, elegant, and dependable tools. All these tools are made using surgical grade stainless steel from Japan. The dream stream makes every cut, crimp and clamp on the water very effectively. It is a must-have accessory for tail water anglers who want to fish tiny flies. Here are the primary features of the Dream Stream Sring Creek Clamp.

    • Made of Japanese surgical grade stainless steel
    • Ultra fine clamp
    • It has smooth jaws
    • Available in Matte Black and anodized red finishes
    • Crimp barbs down to size 26