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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 Glossosoma (Glossosomatidae) (Little Brown Short-horned Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
I caught this tiny larva without a case, but it seems to key pretty clearly to to Glossosomatidae. From there, the lack of sclerites on the mesonotum points to either Glossosoma or Anagapetus. Although it's difficult to see in a 2D image from the microscope, it's pretty clear in the live 3D view that the pronotum is only excised about 1/3 of its length to accommodate the forecoxa, not 2/3, which points to Glossosoma at Couplet 5 of the Key to Genera of Glossosomatidae Larvae.
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.

Samlucido
Posts: 1
Samlucido on Sep 6, 2015September 6th, 2015, 7:16 pm EDT
As a newbie, I've been shopping on line for an assortment of "recommended flys". I'm finding that, for the same fly, some online sellers list a price as low as $0.50 each while brand name retailers sell the same fly for a couple of bucks each. No where does anyone claim their flies are "more durable" or "made of higher quality materials". It must matter because I've found some of my flies fall apart after only 2 or 3 fish. How can I tell how well made they are?
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 6, 2015September 6th, 2015, 10:14 pm EDT
I think one way might be to establish an ongoing relationship with one seller and develop a sense of the quality. I can't always tell by looking at a fly how well tied it is. Part of the durability comes from the thread tension, and clues about that, if visible, are often buried under the dubbing, etc. In addition, it's possible that quality may vary from batch to batch with one seller. The only reliable way consistently to get quality flies is to tie your own, or buy them from a person (or persons) who you know tie(s) well. Tying flies is not hard to learn, and in time it will allow you to design flies unlike the mass of what is bought and sold on the open market. Unique designs sometimes fool fish that have seen the typical. And the satisfaction of designing a fly and fooling a tough fish is hard to beat.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Sep 7, 2015September 7th, 2015, 6:00 pm EDT
excellent advice from Louis.
the only thing I would add is to learn how to tie from someone you know who ties well. Classes are okay; much better one on one if possible.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 7, 2015September 7th, 2015, 7:11 pm EDT
Check your PM's.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Roguerat
Roguerat's profile picture
Posts: 456
Roguerat on Sep 8, 2015September 8th, 2015, 10:51 am EDT
I think (IMHO, anyway) there's a correlation between a Fly-shop's volume of sales and fly pricing. I've stopped to buy 'local' flies in smaller 'all-sports' shops and been stuck a buck-fifty for a fly that my grandson could have done better on...once I'd asked for white flies to try and match an E Leukon hatch and got some red-striped monstrosities.

And I've paid 75-cents for flies at a real Fly-shop and they were works of art, well-tied and accurate. Like I said, this is my opinion and experience though.

The wisdom about working with a reliable tyer- or shop- whose work is proven, or tying them yourself is beyond dispute!

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Sep 9, 2015September 9th, 2015, 7:07 am EDT
Every once in a while you get lucky in those little places -shops, mom-n-pop shops, gas stations -in trout country. One day, I stopped at a little shack of a mom-n-pop convenience store along a busy mountain road that wound above an unsung high gradient mountain stream. Not even sure why we stopped, but at the register was a box of dry flies of a single pattern in one size. They were beautifully tied three-hackle traditional dries with an sparse upright mallard wing, quill body, and a perfect stiff tail. The three-hackle dry is one I learned about in one of Joe Humphrey's books for use in turbulent water -which describes the length of this mountain stream for miles. Obviously someone there fished, that is, gave a sht. I asked, and the old man at the register said his son tied them. They were a buck-fifty a piece and well worth it for the knowledge, craftmanship and all around... giving-a-sht-ness.
TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Sep 9, 2015September 9th, 2015, 2:35 pm EDT
I personally don't tie my own flies and I'm a relative newbie myself. The orvis flies I buy at the shop are decent. Here and there you get a badly tied one that falls apart after a fish or two, but they are usually good, although they range from 1.75 to 3.00/peice! Like mentioned above, the mom n' pop style places can provide you with quality flies for half the price of orvis (if not cheaper). Plus, going in to a shop and supporting the people who live and fish in 'trout country' usually gets you some valuable info on access spots, camping spots, what patterns/hatches are working, etc. Just spend a little loot in a good store, with a good reputation, and ask for advice, is my advice. Every time I stop in Grayling, MI or Benzonia, MI (hubs for fly/trout fisherman), I learn something new, and save money compared to shopping at my local orvis spot.


P.S. I'm not knocking orvis, they are just out of my price range for almost everything usually.

"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Catskilljon
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Catskilljon on Sep 9, 2015September 9th, 2015, 3:20 pm EDT
Sometimes its not the way the fly was tied, but what it is tied on. I have heard lots of stories of overseas flies that are super inexpensive but tied on hooks that are of ridiculously inferior quality. If you want to tie a cheap fly, skimping on the hook is the quickest way to do it. Good hooks are fairly expensive, sometimes $.50 each. Cheap hooks are...cheap. You can get frustrated in a big hurry using them too.

I guess it could vary due to area, but most of the fly shop flies I see are $2.00. These are locally tied to match the area bugs and they are worth it. Some shops order their flies from Umpqua or other big time retailers, and they can sell them cheaper. If your just looking for Mickey Finns, hares ears and Adams dry flies, that's great but the area fly shop is the place to get the real skinny on what's going on, and they can equip you properly. CJ
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Sep 9, 2015September 9th, 2015, 4:27 pm EDT
"Like mentioned above, the mom n' pop style places can provide you with quality flies for half the price of orvis (if not cheaper). Plus, going in to a shop and supporting the people who live and fish in 'trout country' usually gets you some valuable info on access spots, camping spots, what patterns/hatches are working, etc. Just spend a little loot in a good store, with a good reputation, and ask for advice, is my advice."

Tim, Nordic Sports in Tawas City sells flies, and tying materials to boot (also fly rods, reels, lines, leaders/tippet, etc.). Plus, lots of other cool outdoor gear (kayaks, mountain bikes, x/c skiis, all accessories for the above, camping gear, etc.). Coolest outdoor shop in this area, and run by really nice folks as well!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 10, 2015September 10th, 2015, 1:21 am EDT
CJ wrote;

Good hooks are fairly expensive, sometimes $.50 each.


Yes this is true but when a fly manufacturer buys hooks in the thousands you can be sure he is getting a very good discount. When I had my business license I used to pay $9.00 for a box of Tiemco 100 that retailed for $15.00. Just imagine what the price would be if you bought a hundred gross of #14 TMC 100's.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Afishinado
SE PA

Posts: 75
Afishinado on Sep 10, 2015September 10th, 2015, 3:53 am EDT
$.50 or $1.00 flies are surely not tied locally, they really can't be given the price. Even if hooks were purchased cheaply, the cost of the hook and materials would be say $.20? at the very least.

Also remember each fly is tied by hand and the simplest flies would take 2 or 3 minutes to tie, with more complex ones taking longer and materials may be more expensive.

So, for the sake of argument, 25 flies / hour can be tied. The labor cost would be $.29 per fly ($7.25 an hour minimum wage) and $.20 worth of materials the cost of the fly would be $.49. That's before it's purchased by a distributor or even directly a fly shop. Both have to make a profit.

The fact is, the really cheap flies are made overseas with cheaper hooks and materials and cheap labor. If they fall apart and/or the hooks bend or break, they really aren't a bargain at all.
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Sep 10, 2015September 10th, 2015, 5:08 am EDT
As a commercial tyer for the past 30 years or so, I can tell you that my average fly is about 3 minutes;some being less and some taking as long as 4 minutes. So about 20/hr on the average; almost all are hackled dry flies.With today's hook and hackle prices, it would be impossible to make a buck at anything less than $1 wholesale. My flies are currently averaging $13.60/doz. With the cost of materials and the 10% off the top for federal excise tax, it becomes more of a labor of love than a money making endeavor. The bottom line is that any flies sold for under at least $1.50 are likely tied by non-fishermen with inferior materials.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 10, 2015September 10th, 2015, 5:10 am EDT
There are two on-line web sites that I am aware of that sell flies at about $.99 each. Some of the more complex flies may cost $1.19 compared to $2.50 - $3.00 here in the USA. I've bought flies from both of these outfits and all the hooks look like high end Japanese micro barb hooks. Are they Tiemco, Daiichi? I doubt it but they might be Saber of some other lesser priced hook. The materials used are all top of the line and the flies have the correct proportions and very good hackle if it is a dry fly.

If anyone wants to know the names of there two web sites feel free to send me a PM.

I have no idea what these vendors pay their employees in Sir Lanka, Uganda, or wherever else the flies are being tied but it surely isn't the minimum wage paid here in the USA. It is pretty much the same concept as buying a dress suit or shirt in Egypt or Hong Kong and saving a ton of money.

Please don't bust my balls about buying American unless none of your clothes, cars, or household items are made overseas.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Sep 10, 2015September 10th, 2015, 9:17 am EDT
...Please don't bust my balls about buying American unless none of your clothes, cars, or household items are made overseas.

The daughter of a good friend was visiting from China -the first time she was out of her native country. It being Christmas time I had errands to run so she came along with me. I needed small "river rocks" to put Paperwhite bulbs (flowers) in for gifts. I was short on time so instead of stopping at the nearest stream I grabbed some at a local garden store; a little bags of rocks for five bucks. On the tag was a sticker that read, "Made in China". There we were, in the Rocky Mountains and we were buying rocks that were flown all the way from the other side of the globe.
Flynut
Posts: 1
Flynut on Sep 10, 2015September 10th, 2015, 1:23 pm EDT
Flies are cheap. The big mistake to avoid is the rod. I bought a a cheapy rod called a zhusrods from china and now I am out the money as the rod was crap. It broke the first time I caught a fish. While I had a hell of a time landing the 15 inch brook trout, I was surprised when the handle broke in half. I never had a handle break in my 45 years of fishing.
So I have a $120.00 fishing story about the trout that broke my new bamboo fly rod. And I will going to Cabella's for a replacement. I guess I should have just gone to a local store in the first place. Getting a person in China to the right thing has proven to be impossible. At least if I have a problem with my next rod I can to Cabella's and get 5 star sevice. I once lost a rod tip and Cabella's gave me a new on for free. Crazy good service policy. And no I don't work there. And yes, I go there to much.
Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Sep 10, 2015September 10th, 2015, 2:43 pm EDT
CJ wrote;

Good hooks are fairly expensive, sometimes $.50 each.


Yes this is true but when a fly manufacturer buys hooks in the thousands you can be sure he is getting a very good discount. When I had my business license I used to pay $9.00 for a box of Tiemco 100 that retailed for $15.00. Just imagine what the price would be if you bought a hundred gross of #14 TMC 100's.


Hey Matt
Check your PM's.
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Sep 11, 2015September 11th, 2015, 10:19 am EDT
if you can go factory direct they are about #18 per thousand.
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 11, 2015September 11th, 2015, 4:34 pm EDT
TNEAL,

Did you mean to type $18 per thousand?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Sep 12, 2015September 12th, 2015, 5:46 am EDT
That is correct. That's a factory direct price. Somebody's making a lot of money on hooks..
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 12, 2015September 12th, 2015, 8:07 am EDT
Wow, that is sick! I think a 100 Tiemco 100's are going for about $18.00. Yep we are being gouged along the line on hooks for sure. I'm glad when I first retired in 2005 I bought a couple hundred each of Tiemco 100's in #14, 16, 18, and 20. Ditto for the Tiemco 2457's and 2487's in #14, 16, 18, and 20, and also stocked up on their 3761 nymph hooks. Once in awhile I need to buy a packet of 25 hooks for a special pattern I'm tying but very seldom. I bought lots of fly tying material when I retired especially Hoffman saddles, buck tails for Clousers, and all sorts of other stuff. I doubt if I have spent more than $200 on fly tying material in the last ten years.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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