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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives
Baetis

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Dorsal view of a Limnephilidae (Giant Sedges) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen resembled several others of around the same size and perhaps the same species, which were pretty common in my February sample from the upper Yakima. Unfortunately, I misplaced the specimen before I could get it under a microscope for a definitive ID.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Trtklr
Banned
Michigan

Posts: 115
Trtklr on Dec 14, 2008December 14th, 2008, 5:29 am EST
I'm building a fly tying desk and about to start putting the plans into action but I thought since so many people tie here i would ask what people are using now. right now I have a single desk that i keep my computer on that is also my tying desk, not a great set-up. so how much room does your area take up, what do you like about your current set-up and what don't you like?
I have seen nothing more beautiful than the sunrise on a cold stream.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Dec 15, 2008December 15th, 2008, 9:31 am EST
A perpetual mess. Or is that not what you meant?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
RleeP
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Dec 15, 2008December 15th, 2008, 10:21 am EST
An old oak 6-drawer desk, salvaged from the place I used to work many years ago. Top is 60 X 36. Center drawer is removed so I can use a C-Clamp when I use the vise that needs clamped. All the drawers are full of tying crap, not in any particular order or manner of segregation. When I die or move, the desk stays. It weighs as much as a carload of sumo wrestlers. I'm not moving it again..

Then I have like 4 of those plastic stack storage towers on wheels. Two on either side of my tying chair. 4 or 5 big drawers in each stack. They're all filled with tying crap too. Segregated roughly by all hairs together, all feathers together, etc. The sole exception are my good necks which occupy the top 2 drawers of one of the stacks. They're all kept pretty neat and in order.

Then I have 2 old photo albums, each with maybe 16 pages or so with 6 plastic sleeves per page. I use these to store dubbing in the original plastic envelopes in comes in retail.

Then I have one of those 60 drawer hardware organizers for hooks. All the drawers are full of old Mustad hooks in various sizes and types. I have Mustad 94842's (regular wire, standard shank, TUE) in sizes 8-22. I also have a full range of Mustad 37160's in every size from 8-20. Hundreds and hundreds of them. The hooks I actually tie with (Cabelas, Dai-Riki and a few Tiemcos) are in smaller boxes in the drawers.

On the desk, I have a 3-way desk lamp and a high intensity krypton lamp poised over the vise. And then I have one of those big magifier thingies that you look through. It has a light bulb in it too...

Before I got my krypton lamp, I had another lamp with a broken neck. It wouldn't stay still. So, I knotted the thin end of a necktie to it to hold it in place and then I push pinned the other end of the necktie to the ceiling. It worked pretty well. The lamp stayed put.

All this is in the basement. It's always a mess. But I clean it all up every March, whether it needs it or not..

Oh, last thing... Over on the far left hand corner of the desk is a small folded blanket. That's where the cat hangs out when I'm tying. He gets to sniff everything I put into a fly before I tie it in unless I'm in a hurry. Then I make him go back upstairs.

I wouldn't recommend the way I do my tying area to anybody...:)
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Dec 15, 2008December 15th, 2008, 11:47 am EST
Years ago I bought a beautiful 24x48 oak roll top desk, 30 inches to the desk top and 45 inches tall over all, with 13 drawers, 7 storage slots, and two 14x12 pullout panels, all done in raised relief, lacquer finished, and accented with polished bright brass fittings. I can’t remember the last time I tied on it but it sure is pretty to look at. All my tying equipment and material now resides in a 12x14x10 zippered Battle Creek carrying case and an old Umco model 204 aluminum tackle box, following me faithfully were ever I may be headed, and easily spread atop whatever table is available.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Dec 15, 2008December 15th, 2008, 12:58 pm EST
please see the Photography section. i'm really pleased with how it all turned out, since it's in a corner of the guest room and has to be cat-proof as well...

"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Dec 16, 2008December 16th, 2008, 2:17 am EST
Lee, your areas sounds like mine, except I tie on an old formica-covered steel-framed office desk (also very heavy) with a box on it that my daughter's cat gets in when I'm tying. He and I have an agreement: he's allowed as long as he stays put, and he's pretty good about it except when he insists on getting in my lap. That can get tricky. As Shawn said, it's a perpetual mess, and as you said, it gets cleaned up each March, whether it needs it or not. But the fish haven't been complaining, and that's all that counts for me. Recently we've been buying organic spinach in big clear plastic tubs. They are great storage, since you can see what is in them, and they go on shelves to the right of the desk, along with a few boxes. I have an old three-drawer chest to the left of the desk, that has all kinds of fur and feathers in it. All this is in a little nook in the basement that has a flap of plastic sheeting over the doorway so I can hold in the warmth of a heater during winter. And there are some boxes on the floor, and one that I keep my dyes in out on a shelf in the main part of the basement. (Ran out of room on the floor.) It's my fortress of solitude--except when my wife yells down for me to unstick a door, change a lightbulb, help a kid with homework, etc. By the way, as I type this my other daughter's cat has planted himself firmly in my lap and is happily purring away. He's not much on tying, but loves it when I'm typing. At least my wife's cat won't sit in a lap. And I do have several bags of cat fur in the desk. They all like getting combed.

"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wetfly1
Johnstown, Pa

Posts: 11
Wetfly1 on Dec 16, 2008December 16th, 2008, 9:24 am EST
Years back when I started remolding my home. I built a fly tying room off of my living room about 9'x 9'. 4 ft counter top w/ drawer underneath for threads and tinsels and other misc for easy access. Above the desk I installed book shelves to put all my fly fishing books and magazines. To the left I built a window seat/ fly tying material storage area divided into 4 sections feathers,fur's,dubbing,misc in side is built out of cedar to keep the bugs out, all material stored in zip lock bags. In the room is also a closet with a shelf and 2 closet rods one high and the other low for all fishing gear to be stored away. Off to the side of that is my rod tube rack where my rods are keeped. Lighting in the room is a 4ft, 4 tube fluorescent light ( never can have to much light ). On my desk is my Regal vice w/ Mc Kenzie light and tool caddy for all my fly tying tools and plastic box with all of my hooks in individual compartments. And of course a good fly tying chair that rolls and has padded armrests. And no fly tying room is complete without some pictures of some memorable outings.

I know this guy sounds like a real neat freak, but there's nothing worst then having to fish around through stuff on your desk that your not using. Also when I am going on a fishing trip I know where all my gear is at. Just grab it and go.
Trtklr
Banned
Michigan

Posts: 115
Trtklr on Dec 17, 2008December 17th, 2008, 2:32 am EST
thats been helpful, I had no idea you all would have such large areas to tie in, and sounds like much more material than what I carry. I could put all my fly tying stuff in an old plastic milk crate. rleep, I just wonder how much of what you have you use on a regular or fairly regular basis? shawnny-thats kinda what I meant, thats what I have now. falsifly-i thought about having a mobile set up like that, I like the idea, i'm just such a tying fanatic that I have everything tied before I get to the stream, it'd be nice to be able to take with and tie w/ a friend or something like that. wetfly-someday there will be a room like that, it will be the trout room. casey-thats a nice set-up, its what i'm shooting for, being the ever critical self I am, I would put a rolling chair with arms with that but I know not very aesthetically pleasing. thank you all for sharing.
I have seen nothing more beautiful than the sunrise on a cold stream.
LittleJ
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
LittleJ on Dec 17, 2008December 17th, 2008, 4:07 am EST
what ever you do, DO NOT put it in your home office. I used to be productive at home. Now, not so much:) But on the bright side my tying skills have improved.
jeff
Troutnut
Troutnut's profile picture
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Dec 17, 2008December 17th, 2008, 7:05 am EST
Shawn's "perpetual mess" looks really good. He should post pictures!

If you want to see a REAL mess, see my tying area right now! And it's not messy in the good way, littered with the product of outstanding flies... it's messy in the "still haven't quite set it up in this house" way and the "being used as storage for other stuff" way.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Dec 17, 2008December 17th, 2008, 8:51 am EST
I would put a rolling chair with arms with that--Trtklr

yeah, someone told Santa Claus i needed one. especially the adjustable arms! can't wait...
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Dec 18, 2008December 18th, 2008, 9:54 am EST
Ugh, Jason. A flytying bench used as a holding area for musty old sweaters - that is truly ugly. You got me beat.

Mine is actually a really nice desk, an old writing table/dresser that my grandmother gave me. It's tiger maple and has really cool curves, a beautiful piece of antique furniture. But it's almost too nice for a flytying desk - I feel terrible getting head cement on it. It doesn't have a lot of convenient storage space, so I have a few bookshelves on either side with my materials on them. I am such a tinkerer, though, that it seems like the majority of my materials are usually exactly in my way instead of on the shelves. When I sit down to tie a serious fly, I have to purge the desk first in order to maintain my sanity. That's about the only time it gets cleaned up. My hookmaking bench is separate and is typically quite filthy as well.

My best invention for organizing materials is 3-ring binders with transparent sleeves in them. OK, I didn't invent the 3-ring binder or the transparent sleeve (that would be Al Gore, for which I believe he recently won the Nobel Peace Prize), but I don't know anyone else who uses them for storing flytying materials. With the binders, everything isn't in one big heap of zip-lock bags, it's in one big heap of binders. Works well for me.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Trtklr
Banned
Michigan

Posts: 115
Trtklr on Dec 19, 2008December 19th, 2008, 2:45 am EST
"When I sit down to tie a serious fly, I have to purge the desk first in order to maintain my sanity. That's about the only time it gets cleaned up." thats what I go through now and sometimes the clean up before tying deters me from tying. so think about this, peg board behind the desk maybe framed with a decent paint scheme, with pegs holding the fly tying material just like when you bought it. its easily seen, easily stored and out of the way.
I have seen nothing more beautiful than the sunrise on a cold stream.
Leakywaders
New England

Posts: 43
Leakywaders on Dec 19, 2008December 19th, 2008, 3:55 am EST
Glad you asked, I'm kinda proud of it.
Was in a camper, alone, for 5 years, and had a space which kind of evolved, with a lot of plastic drawer units filled with plastic bags, didn't work very well.

When we moved here Anne wanted me to be within talking distance of the kitchen. I wanted a view and LOTS of storage. Well, there was nothing in front of the sliding glass door (the side that dosn't slide). We managed to find kitchen wall cabinets that matched the cabinets in the kitchen, both at yard sales. One cost $5, the other $10. We also found drawer units (12"W, 24"H, 15"D) with 6 small drawers, for only $24 at a discount store (had to shim out the drwrs so they wouldn't slip off the runners). The cabinets sit in the corner, one on top of the other (on the right), the drawer unit sits on the other side. The table itself (work surface) is a oak stair tread, varnished to match the cabinets. It sits between the two cabinets, and on top of the drawers. It required a bit of shiming on the cabinets/drawer unit to get it right, but that was easy. The work surface is small, which I like becouse the mess never gets too bad, before I have to pick up. I have a lot of storage space which also makes it easy to pick up. I also got thread racks at craft/sewing store, and put them on side of drawer unit, Anne dosn't like the look, but hasn't become vocal about it...yet. Inside the cabinets and drawers I have plastic storage boxes, had to experiment to find sizes thet fit. Cheap at dollar stores. Didn't like all the plastic bags, as I had to take tham all out to find what I wanted, and they usually covered the floor. Now I have the plastic boxes labeled, and can pick out just what I want. If I was any bigger it wouldn't work. Too low, and too narrow, but I fit in just right. AND!!!! it matches the kitchen, and IF I close the cabinet doors, actually looks good.
The cedar cabintes sound like a great idea, I have the little cedar closet chips in my drawers/cabinets. I also like the idea of the 3 ring binders. Almost went that way myself. I store my necks, and saddles in the plastic boxes SWIFFER wet refills come in. Each box holds three necks/saddles comfortably, and fit the cabinest well. It helps to have an anal clean freek around.
Drag free??? If the fly didn't drag, I wouldn't know where it was!!
Leakywaders
New England

Posts: 43
Leakywaders on Dec 19, 2008December 19th, 2008, 3:55 am EST
Glad you asked, I'm kinda proud of it.
Was in a camper, alone, for 5 years, and had a space which kind of evolved, with a lot of plastic drawer units filled with plastic bags, didn't work very well.

When we moved here Anne wanted me to be within talking distance of the kitchen. I wanted a view and LOTS of storage. Well, there was nothing in front of the sliding glass door (the side that dosn't slide). We managed to find kitchen wall cabinets that matched the cabinets in the kitchen, both at yard sales. One cost $5, the other $10. We also found drawer units (12"W, 24"H, 15"D) with 6 small drawers, for only $24 at a discount store (had to shim out the drwrs so they wouldn't slip off the runners). The cabinets sit in the corner, one on top of the other (on the right), the drawer unit sits on the other side. The table itself (work surface) is a oak stair tread, varnished to match the cabinets. It sits between the two cabinets, and on top of the drawers. It required a bit of shiming on the cabinets/drawer unit to get it right, but that was easy. The work surface is small, which I like becouse the mess never gets too bad, before I have to pick up. I have a lot of storage space which also makes it easy to pick up. I also got thread racks at craft/sewing store, and put them on side of drawer unit, Anne dosn't like the look, but hasn't become vocal about it...yet. Inside the cabinets and drawers I have plastic storage boxes, had to experiment to find sizes thet fit. Cheap at dollar stores. Didn't like all the plastic bags, as I had to take tham all out to find what I wanted, and they usually covered the floor. Now I have the plastic boxes labeled, and can pick out just what I want. If I was any bigger it wouldn't work. Too low, and too narrow, but I fit in just right. AND!!!! it matches the kitchen, and IF I close the cabinet doors, actually looks good.
The cedar cabintes sound like a great idea, I have the little cedar closet chips in my drawers/cabinets. I also like the idea of the 3 ring binders. Almost went that way myself. I store my necks, and saddles in the plastic boxes SWIFFER wet refills come in. Each box holds three necks/saddles comfortably, and fit the cabinest well. It helps to have an anal clean freek around.
Drag free??? If the fly didn't drag, I wouldn't know where it was!!
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Dec 19, 2008December 19th, 2008, 12:12 pm EST
I like the pegboard idea, Trtklr.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Al514
Al514's profile picture
Central New York

Posts: 142
Al514 on Jan 26, 2009January 26th, 2009, 12:25 pm EST
This is an older post, but I wasn't really in tying mode when it first came up. This is what my desk at school usually looks like....

Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Jan 28, 2009January 28th, 2009, 10:57 pm EST
I got tired of not having adequate storage space so I went out and bought this giant roll top desk and a lawyer's bookcase. It is a great place to tie.



Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Falsifly
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Jan 29, 2009January 29th, 2009, 3:27 am EST
Wbranch,
Very nice, and well organized. A perfectionist I see!
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Jan 29, 2009January 29th, 2009, 10:44 am EST
Matt, can I live at your house?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com

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