How do YOU chose the flies to tie? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: How do YOU chose the flies to tie?

05-08-2002, 10:31 AM
When you are tying new flies, do you look for patterns in books, on the web, ect?

I have taken to a different approach. When I see a fly I like, or an actual insect/other food for fish that looks promising... I take a mental image and try to imitate it with the materials I have on hand.

I tend to keep a large variety of materials around so this could be possible and when I find something that actually catches fish. I note it in a Jornal as to how to tie it, what materials I used, ect.

I also note where it worked and on what fish. That way I have a good idea of what to take with me when I know I am going out somewhere specific.

I note the size/type of body of water: stream/river/pond/lake/dam, the conditions of the water - clear/muddy and the position it caught a fish bottom/mid-depth/near-top/top

So far I have three solid patterns I know will work and hope to expand that this year.

So... how do YOU chose the flies you tie?

05-08-2002, 03:41 PM
"In the darkness and on the ebb, Rockus turned not once but three times on the bait before he decided to take lunch. Sort of like a night watchmans late night meal."

You got it exactly right as you are, just keep going the way you are. There are some good books out and about on flies related to fly fishing, but you don't need them from what I read.
If you want to learn more about the aquatic insects you observe then the local library is the place for you. There you will find books that will deal with your local entomology written no doubt by some local tweedy proffessor. It's a great way to go and your understanding of what you have been observing on the stream will make more sense.
As for the tying, keep going as you are. Develop your own styles from your observations, you will find no greater satisfaction. Even if the fly fails, your observations on the water and at your tying table are the rewards.
I take it you are new to the sport and it's great to see you make time to fish as fly fishing was intended to be.
Stone, it won't hurt your style at all to look at all the colored pictures of beautifully tied flies, many are a work of art. But remember good art is made to admire, to copy is ? Hey and if you do it all on your own maybe with time all your fly's not only will catch more fish but have personality and beauty worthy for all of us to admire.
Don't know how old you are Stone but if you get out to Wyoming to fish sometime let me know. I got a 21 year old daughter out there who does not fish much anymore but when she gets stressed out from calving and stringing fence and paying vet and conbiner bills on the ranch she heads for the backyard trout pond or down to the river and observes and collects aquatic insects. She been doing it since she was 6 and it is one of those special bonuses related to fly fishing. Boy she could show you some observations on bugs. She might even let you fish the pond.
Good luck with your observations and tying, your doing just fine, stay the course.

05-08-2002, 03:53 PM
As for my age, same as your daughter... I haven't gone out from NH much, so I don't know when a trip to Wyoming would be in the itinerary.

Hoping to hear from more anglers as to how they chose to tie the flies they do. Seems like a topic that could yield very diverse answers.

05-08-2002, 09:50 PM
Stone, good advice from OC.
At one time, I had over 300 "little glass bottles" each with an insect in it, preserved in some bug juice.
My wifey, whom I love dearly, "convinced" me to part with them a few years back.
I used them to create patterns, as you do, but also as a reference guide for various lakes and rivers.
I could match them to books I would pick up about Bugs!
Here are a few good references you could look up;
"Mayflies - An Angler's study of Trout Water Ephemeroptera" by Malcolm Knopp aand Robert Cormier - ISBN 0-9626663-8-6
"The Caddis and the Angler" by Larry Solomon and Eric Leiser - ISBN 0-8117-0312-6
Meeting and Fishing the Htaches" by Charles Meck - ISBN 0-87691-232-3

05-09-2002, 11:29 AM
Hi Stone: Funny you should ask and that I should see this question right now, as that is exactly what I was wondering today. Weird, huh?! Usually I decide what fly to tie, based on where I'm going fishing and what I'm fishing for. For instance, the past couple of weeks a river near me has had blizzard hatches of a certain caddis fly. So for the past few weeks I've been tying every conceivable imitation of each stage of that particular bugs life--paying close attention to coloration, sizes, and successful patterns (other angler and fly shop suggestions, plus all the reading about that river and it's bugs).

When I'm tying for others, then it is a matter of what they need/ask for me to tie. But occasionally, as is the case today, I want to tie some flies, but have plenty of the caddis, and no orders are on my, I think I'm going to start reading the new Paraloop Fly book I received as a gift and play with tying up some of these remarkable flies.

That's just my 73 cents worth...your mileage may vary...javascript:smilie(':)')

John Desjardins
05-09-2002, 12:27 PM
For me it tends to be one of three ways that I decide what to tie.

First, and this one gives the best results, is to watch what I see while fishing or just out & about. One pattern I tie for sunfish & bass fishing is an adult dragon fly imitation that was inspired by a day of fishing with my son where the sunfish were coming out of the water to catch dragon flies. this can lead to baaehaviors that some might consider weird like studying the colors on a mosquito(the olive under belly was a surprise) while its biting you or studying bugs on the windsheild at 40 mph.

The second is to study the fly bins and material racks of every fly shop I can. Telling a shop keeper that "I'm not from around here, what do you have that I wouldn't see at home" has lead to some good finds. The further from home you are the better the chances are of finding something new & different.

Finally I look at books, magazines, etc for ideas.

05-09-2002, 12:34 PM
Same for me as John stated, plus talking to the locals on the river you fish and getting them to open up on their secret flies. Did that two weeks ago in Michigan and we traded some patterns etc...