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!

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  • Renzetti Traveler 2300


    Since it’s inception in the 1970’s Renzetti has grown into a  flagship American company that designs and builds the best fly tying vises and accessories in the industry. The quality is unmatched. Renzetti pioneered the first True Rotary vises.

    Regardless of which model you choose (2000 Series, 2200 Series or 2300 Series), all Traveler Vises have spectacular features. Every vise offers a True Rotary® mechanism and several different mounting options – either a black powder-coated 5″ x 5″ pedestal base or C-clamp with an 8″ stem. Additionally, users can benefit from reliable hook holding power thanks to its cam jaw, as well as a bobbin cradle for extra convenience. Furthermore, these vises are also made in America and various accessories are available for those who want added versatility.

  • Salt Water Jaw- Peak Fishing


    PEAK Fishing is a division of PEAK Engineering and Automation. PEAK E&A opened for business in 1994 and moved to our current location in Loveland, Colorado in 1997. The business originated as a custom engineering and manufacturing company and has always been centered on strong engineering and quality manufacturing principles.

    The  PEAK Saltwater Jaws boast superior strength and durability, thanks to the hardening and tempering process utilized in their production. They are designed for hook wire diameters between .040″ – .075″, with a black oxide finish that creates an aesthetically pleasing look and reduces glare around the fly. Both the PEAK Rotary Vise (SLT-1) and non-Rotary Vise (SLT-NR) have this superb jaw available.

  • Umpqua Beginner Fly Tying Kit

  • 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