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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Dorsal view of a Amphizoa (Amphizoidae) Beetle Larva from Sears Creek in Washington
This is the first of it's family I've seen, collected from a tiny, fishless stream in the Cascades. The three species of this genus all live in the Northwest and are predators that primarily eat stonefly nymphs Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019).
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.

Bellsporter
boulder colorado

Posts: 18
Bellsporter on Nov 16, 2011November 16th, 2011, 10:34 pm EST
Hi everyone! What advice would you give to a novice to help him increase his (minimal) skills? So far I can only do the simple midges and nymphs.I tend to get frusterated on the flies that are more complex.Not having anyone to watch and learn from makes it tough. Thanks for any advice. On the bright side ...I have caught fish off of flies I've tied. That's what keeps me inspired:)
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Nov 17, 2011November 17th, 2011, 2:56 am EST
Take a class, or, better yet, make friends with an experienced tier....
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Nov 17, 2011November 17th, 2011, 3:30 am EST
My advice is look at tutorials online. There are many places to find them including youtube. Fly tying forum and Fly Anglers Online have great reference libraries. Another option is to visit your local library. They often have a selection of tying books in the stacks. Purchasing a tying DVD is also a great help.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Nov 17, 2011November 17th, 2011, 4:31 am EST

All good advice. Basic skills, and a vision for proportions, material preparation, knowledge of a good feather, or hair vs. a lousy feather, or hair goes a long ways. I tie thousands of flies, and seldom include in my fly box a fly that is complicated to tie, or takes a long time to tie. A few, but not many. And I often chose a fly that I think is durable enough to catch more than one fish, but if it does catch only one, and then destroyed, fine as well! It did its job. Then tie a lot of flies. I sat and watched a commercial tier, a guide from Jackson Hole, WY tie his much asked for fly...especially after it won the big One Fly Event on the Snake River. And that is what turned him to commercial tying that naturally followed his fly winning the event. He told us he got very good at tying his Turk's (John Turk) Tarantula AFTER he had tied his 100,000th one!
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Nov 17, 2011November 17th, 2011, 5:40 am EST
He told us he got very good at tying his Turk's (John Turk) Tarantula AFTER he had tied his 100,000th one!


Sayfu,

My tying mentor would tell me to tie another dozen and then compare them. They begin to look more alike and better tied the more you have tied.

Tim Neal above and his good friend Jerry Regan in Grayling tie commercially and have since they were young. They can crank them out and you would be hard pressed to tell any of them apart...Jerry used to have a barber shop and would tie between clients and some folk swear that he was catching a nap sometimes sitting at the vice as he tied...Technically in REM sleep and still tying another dozen...;)

There was a post here a day or two ago about procuring deer hides etc. These two from Grayling are pros when it comes to deer hair. But they tie enough to have a real need for bulk...The rest of us can get by with shop bought deer, I would think.

Back to my mentor...I have heard a story about him from before I knew him where he was teaching a fly tying class at club meetings. He would tie and then tell everyone to tie another dozen or so for next time and bring them in...He would then sit there with a paper bag on the floor between his feet and if the fly didn't pass muster he tossed it in the trash...Ouch!

On the bright side ...I have caught fish off of flies I've tied. That's what keeps me inspired:)



Bellsporter...Bottom line...What you say here is what it's all about and as long as you are inspired you will be motivated to get better and tie passable flies. IMHO.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Bellsporter
boulder colorado

Posts: 18
Bellsporter on Nov 17, 2011November 17th, 2011, 5:59 pm EST
Thanks for the advice guys. Sounds like "practice makes perfect".My immediate goal is to get proficient at a handful of the practical flies for where I live. I've probably caught 75% of all my fish off of 10 different flies.
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Nov 18, 2011November 18th, 2011, 4:13 am EST

And remember Bellsporter....Most often, it is not the fly that failed...Presentation, Presentation, Presentation!!!!
FredH
FredH's profile picture
Lake Charles , Louisiana

Posts: 108
FredH on Nov 18, 2011November 18th, 2011, 6:23 am EST
Keep the amount of thread between the hook and the tip of the bobbin at a minimal.

When tying in material don't use 10 wraps when 2 or 3 will do.


By keeping your proportions correct you are less likely to over crowd the hook eye.

And as stated above , tie many of the same pattern and they will get easier and you will improve.
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Nov 18, 2011November 18th, 2011, 8:32 am EST
Bellsporter,

There are way more options on the web, in terms of tying instruction, than when many of us older-sots began tying. We are actually pre-web. :) Fred above has some step-by-steps etc, but a favorite site of mine is on the Fly-Fish Ohio's page. http://www.flyfishohio.com/Adventures_in_Fly_Tying.htm

Now you may not know how difficult it is for me to say that, considering I'm a Meee-chigan boy and the MI/Ohio State games right around the corner here...:) They have a wonderful site though and you can either watch a step-by-step or an actual video. Joe Cornwall is a great tyer and there are great trout as well as warm water flies there to choose from.

Another great site and tyer is Charlie Craven's Fly Box. His step-by-step photos are hard to beat and he is a very helpful fellow. He has answered my questions many times. http://www.charliesflyboxinc.com/flybox/index.cfm

Try these out and good luck!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Strmanglr
Strmanglr's profile picture
Posts: 156
Strmanglr on Nov 21, 2011November 21st, 2011, 7:20 am EST
I've got to back up Fred here, don't use more thread than you need, every wrap counts. Learn to leave room for tying off at the end, big mistake I see people consistently do.

Take the time to do one thing right at a time. If you just put something on your hook and it's wrong, stop, take it off, and do it right, and then move on. Each part of a pattern is there for a reason and if it's not done right, you'll be suspect of the fly and it will mess with your confidence of fishing it.

Got to back up Sayfu here too, a poorly tied fly will catch more fish presented right than a perfect fly presented poorly.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 21, 2011November 21st, 2011, 9:49 am EST
"Learn to leave room for tying off at the end, big mistake I see people consistently do."

I STILL do that on occasion! Especially on dry flies, and especially the smaller ones...and I've been tying for almost 22 years!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Nov 21, 2011November 21st, 2011, 10:25 am EST
Just a guess, but I do not think good tiers see that head end. They've excluded it when dividing the proportions.(ie) 1/2 the shank length does not include the head portion of the shank as they see it. Allowing it creep into your math analysis causes the crowding.
GldstrmSam
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Nov 21, 2011November 21st, 2011, 9:04 pm EST
Hey Bellsporter,

This summer I found a really great site that I think you would find helpful. It is www.flyanglersonline.com.

Tight lines to you,

Samuel
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Nov 22, 2011November 22nd, 2011, 7:04 am EST
Hey Sam, love your quote!! McManus is quite a hoot...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
GldstrmSam
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Nov 22, 2011November 22nd, 2011, 11:43 am EST
I totally agree with you Jonathan !!



Sam
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus

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