Fishing Flies

Fly-fishing may be just another sport to you but if you want to get some real satisfaction out of it, why not learn to tie your own flies? Experienced fly-fishermen who tie their own flies will tell you there's nothing like catching a fish with one of your own hand-made flies.

You will have to get yourself some instructions-it's not the easiest thing in the world to do-but with a bit of patience and some good diagrams, you'll be able to tie some basic flies in minutes.

The first thing you'll need is a fly-tying kit available at sports stores. The kit will contain all the basic essentials like a vise, feathers and animal fur, thread, sharp scissors, bobbins for the thread, clamps and hooks. Don't expect this kit to be cheap although it will be well under $100. Once you really get into tying your own flies, you could get carried away and invest thousands of dollars in the hobby.

Artificial flies imitate bugs at various stages of their hatch so the fly you make will depend on what you want to fish for. Take a look at your fishing spot to determine what bugs are on the water. Tip over rocks to see the bugs that are underneath. Then look in the book that came with your kit for that species.

You will need good eyes and a well-lit work area. You'll also have to be pretty flexible with your fingers but there are lots of tools that can aid you as well. Tying flies involves winding one element after another onto the hook. Once finished, you'll have created a tail, a body, wings and a head including the eyes.

If you're a beginner and can't master the whip-finish, a half-hitch finishing knot will work just as well.

Keep in mind, you won't be an expert overnight but with a little patience and a well-stocked kit you'll soon be a successful fly-fisherman catching fish with flies you created yourself.

Some Simple Fishing Flies


This terrific pattern was originally a lake fly, but has become a standard on the Crowsnest River, particularly early in the season. The Tiemco 200R hook gives the fly a curved profile resembling a midge pupa. The Flashabou wingcase is pulled back and clipped to resemble emerging wings. The thorax is built up using a single strand of peacock herl. The body can be tied in a variety of colors, such as red or olive. Gold wire ribbing adds strength and sparkle.

  • Hook Tiemco 200R, size 16-22
  • Thread 8/0, black.
  • Abdomen One strand of red or olive Lure-fil (rubber floss). V-rib may be substituted.
  • Thorax One strand of peacock herl.
  • Wing case Six - ten strands of pearlescent Flashabou Accent.
  • Rib Fine gold or silver wire.

Tying Notes:

Start the thread with several wraps behind the eye of the hook. Tie the rib and Lure-fil in at the thorax. Pull the rib and body material tight and wrap thread tightly over both, finishing halfway between the barb and bend of the hook. This provides a smooth underbody, and the tie-in point will be hidden by the peacock herl thorax. Wrap the Lure-fil body forward over the hook shank, pulling the Lure-fil tight. Tie off at the thorax, and tie in the Flashabou then the peacock herl. Wrap the thorax forward, tie off, and pull the wingcase over the thorax, securing it behind the eye. Pull the wingcase back over the thorax, tie it off, and finish the head.


  • HOOK TMC 300, #2
  • THREAD Black
  • TAIL Bright Orange Hen Hackle
  • BODY Chartreuse Stetch Nylon
  • RIB Copper Mylar Tinsel
  • THROAT Chartreuse bucktail and orange hen hackle
  • UNDERWING Copper Firefly Tye and Peacock Herl
  • WING Two Pair of Green Chinese Neck Hackles
  • HEAD Black
Tying Notes:
  1. Using the chartreuse nylon stretch in a bobbin as thread, start behind the eye and begin to wrap in smooth touching turns toward the bend of the hook.
  2. Before reaching the end of the hook shank, tie in the copper mylar that will be used for the rib and then finish wrapping to the start of the hook bend.
  3. Pluck a orange hen hackle and strip off a few barbs to serve as the tail. Tie in the tail at the end of the body so that it is about one hook gap in length.
  4. Wind the stretch nylon back to the eye in smooth touching turns. Tie off with a two turn whip finish and start your black thread.
  5. Wrap the copper mylar tinsel up the body in evenly spaced turns. Tie off and trim excess.
  6. Snip some chartreuse bucktail and even the ends. Tie in beneath the head area such that the tips extend just beyond the hook bend.
  7. Strip some more orange hackle and tie in beneath the chartreuse bucktail so that it is about the same length as the tail.
  8. Clip a single strand of copper Firefly Tye and double it twice, forming four strands. Tie on top of body so that it reaches the middle of the tail.
  9. Take three or four pieces of strung herl and tie on top of the Firefly Tye so that too reaches the middle of the tail.
  10. Select 2 pairs of green hackles from you chinese neck and clip them to length. Tie them a bit on the sides of the head so they envelope the underwing yet allow some of the body to show.
  11. Wrap a neat head and whip finish.
  12. Apply head cement to build up a smooth glossy head.