tying flies you may never use

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Scotty MacFly 2 years, 10 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    When I started tying, the guys at the local fly shop said after I learn to tie for our fish in our rivers, I’ll start to learn salt water flies and salmon flies.

    It’s been a few years now and I still don’t have the urge to tie salt water flies. There’s not an ocean for a 1000 miles from here and I have no desire to fish the ocean. Dry flies for salmon, well that’s another story, but I’ll wait till that chapter opens.

    Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with learning new techniques, or broadening your horizons. I see great advantages to that, but I tie what I need.

    I maybe tie a dozen different patterns that produce fish, so I have no need to tie flies that I know I will never use.

    What are your thoughts and opinions on this? Do any of you tie flies not intended for your area?


    Dry Fly Guy


    I tie what I use and nothing more.

    I do experiment and try to improve my skills and learn new ways of doing things. But those are still only applied to flies I’ll personally fish. (Even if I do give a lot of them away.)

    Which brings me to another tendency I haveā€¦.

    I fish “pretty” flies.

    Can’t tell you how many perfectly serviceable flies I have given away because they just didn’t look right or I “screwed up” something when tying it. I know I’ll never select one of these from the box, so it just gets passed on to friends or family.

    Stupid to do I know, and when I was learning to tie Humpys in particular, there seemed to be an awful lot of them. But I just can’t seem to get over it. Even if the fish won’t care, and the ones I do keep still aren’t worthy of framing anyway.

    ~ DFG


    Scotty MacFly

    I wouldn’t say giving away flies that are not to our standards, but yet will still catch fish is stupid. I do the same thing.
    My nephew loves it when I give him flies I don’t feel right about, and last year he took 2cd place in a fly fishing contest using the flies I tied. I can’t complain. He’s only 17 yrs. old and I am well pleased in his efforts.
    Here’s some good news on top of that, that I am excited about. My youngest niece has started fly fishing as well. She is 18, and will be going to college in Greely. I hope we can share time on the water. It’s 50/50 with her right now.
    But anyway, giving flies away that you won’t fish gives you the opportunity to tie more.
    Of all the flies I have tied only two have found a special place ( in the hat band of my fishing hat ).



    I just tie what I use. I’m way too picky to be tying flies I won’t use.

    Part of being a dry fly fisherman is tying on a proper looking fly. It always makes me smile. The smile gets wider if the trout like it too.


    Dark Waters

    When I first got into tying flies 16 years ago I loved it. I started with bass bugs (spinning deer hair) and various saltwater flies. I had a couple hundred saltwater flies I tied and threw most away, never used them preferring to use store bought. The ugly ones do work though.

    Now I hate to tie anything and haven’t even tried to tie anything in over a year. Finally gave up trying to do things in the house so I cleaned up the garage recently and got another table for rod wrapping and various things. Maybe the vice will come out again, but maybe not.

    Monday I actually wrapped an entire tip section of a blank I bought a few months ago, getting closer but last night we lost power at work and all connectivity was down so no chance for section 2.



    I’ve tied some flies that I never intended to use myself -some were gifts for friends who were headed on a saltwater or Alaska trip. Before the small flyshop here went out of business, I tied some patterns for them that their commercial supplier didn’t carry.



    I tie what I need, that I can’t buy, usually right before I need it. I still have hundreds and hundreds of flies I’ve tied over the last 35 years that I’ve never tied on. Some will never be tied on. Most, actually. I have thousands, and most days I use two or three at most. I recently fished the Beaverhead River in Montana with ONE fly, for TWO days, catching dozens of trout on the one fly. FYI, the fly is the one in my avatar, a Last Chance Cripple, fished in the PMD hatch. Super Glue is my head cement. Case closed.



    I use one fly all the time on all waters. Adams. Case opened. :)

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Creek.


    I love tying flies, but I already have a couple thousand sitting in various fly boxes and storage containers. So I try not to tie ones I won’t use.

    For a while I tied flies to sell, but since I won’t tie anything but dries, that kind of dwindled. Now I only tie what I use, and every now and then I’ll tie a new pattern or even an old one that I don’t use anymore just to keep my tying skills up. Most of mine are basically the same fly but in different colors–parachutes in Adams, BWO, hare’s ear, rusty, and lately some Purple Hazes. The only other three I tie somewhat regularly are Delaware Adamses, rusty spinners, and CDC and Elks. That said, I almost always end up fishing a para. Adams or para. hare’s ear–even for smallmouth bass.


    Scotty MacFly

    I can relate to that. I only tie flies that I use because they work really well. And I am falling in love with the Delaware Adams. I never thought of tying the same fly in different colors. Maybe because I stick to tradition when it comes to flies. But that would keep things a little more intriguing.
    I will admit that tying flies is good for the imagination.

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