The Art of Fly Tying

By Charlie Warfield

Fly tying is an art to itself. Many great fly fishers don’t tie flies and many great Fly tiers don’t do much fishing at all, you don’t have to love the one in order to excel at the other. But I think it’s safe to say that most of the best fly tiers are also good anglers, and tying is a natural progression, a way to take their passion for the sport to a higher level. When you tie your own flies you have the ability to make small adjustments in color or body features, you can add or take away weight to dial into a specific tie or depth of water that you fish. Also you can watch the fish and then turn your observations into real world success. Earlier this year I was fishing a great march brown hatch on the West Canada Creek in Upstate NY. I was fishing with a good friend who had done well on the stream earlier in the week. He gave his secret fly that had been working wonders, and sure enough it caught fish. Not like Dynamite mind you, but it was getting the job done.

As I watched the fish feed and the bugs fly by I made some observations for myself. First, I noticed that the fish were coming out of the water when they were feeding (a sign that the fish were feeding on emergers). Second, I noticed some variation in the naturals colors from that of my buddy’s “secret weapon”. So that night at the bench I created a light colored emerger tied on a klinkhamer hook with a nice poly tail that would mimic a partially emerged fly’s shuck in the water. The next day I couldn’t wait to get out of work and try out my new creation, and low and behold it kicked ass. I caught my largest trout of the sprig that day and lots of other great fish as well.

The point is that if you’re not tying flies, you should start. It is not very inexpensive to get started for about $30 you can get the basic tools, and for $10 you can have enough materials to make 25 flies.

Here is a link to a fly tying 101 class that I have posted on my YouTube Channel. Try tying, it is hard to beat the sense of accomplishment that you get when you catch fish on flies you have created.