Learn How to Tie Fly Fishing Flies

Fly tying starts with the fundamentals and a tier builds on experience. Once a week, Gary Lewis writes a fly tying feature about a fly that he has fished at home or abroad. The fly tying features include fly tying patterns and instructions that show you how to tie fly fishing flies.

If you like fly tying and hand tied flies, or just want to pick the right dry fly for your next fishing trip, this is the place to be.

Types of Fly Fishing Flies

Dry Flies: Dry flies are the best choice when fish are feeding on the surface. This type of fishing fly is meant to be suggestive of an insect caught in the surface film. The idea is to have the artificial fly look like an insect that stays at the surface of the water. Many dry flies are intended to land softly, to drop onto the water like a surface insect.

Wet Flies: Wet flies are made to resemble insects that are under the surface of the water. Wet flies are sometimes meant to imitate a struggling aquatic insect trying to reach the surface of the water. As a general rule, wet flies are supposed to look like aquatic insects that are drowning or moving to the surface.

Nymphs: With nymphs, the angler is trying to imitate the underwater stage of surface insects. It is the stage where insects have just come out of the eggs. Nymphs are fished below the surface of the water. Most of a fish’s diet is taken below the surface of the water, making nymphs the best choice for most situations.  

Streamer Flies: Streamer flies are meant to look like baitfish or other large aquatic prey. They are meant to imitate fresh or salt water baitfish. Streamer flies are larger as compared to other fly fishing flies and are meant to target larger, predatory fish.

Terrestrial Flies: Terrestrial flies imitate landborne insects like ants, grasshoppers, crickets and beetles. They can be used as dry or wet flies.  Terrestrial flies imitate insects that are caught in the water or are struggling at the surface to get out of the water.

  • Flying Black Ant

    Flying Black Ant fly patterns are great on windy days when ants can be blown out of shoreside grass.

  • Mouserat

    A big bass, brown, or pike, will be looking for a big meal. A mouserat fly pattern may be just what these big fish are looking for.

  • Dave’s Hopper

    The Dave's Hopper fly pattern has been designed to imitate adult grasshoppers. A popular choice for many.

  • Purple Peril

    The Purple Peril fly pattern is an old standby pattern that has commanded space in the fly boxes of steelhead fishermen for years.

  • Clark’s Stone

    Tying a Clark's Stone fly pattern is a good bet around late May through Mid June.

  • Kaufmann’s Stone

    If you are looking into tying a Kaufmann Stone fly pattern you will need some extra long nymph hooks. The Kaufmann stone fly is great when the fish are close to the bottom and nymphing.

  • Girdle Bug

    Tying a girdle bug fly pattern is a good bet as the girdle bug does a good job of imitating many different fish foods.

  • Humpy

    You will want to tie a Humpy fly pattern if you are fishing near turbulent water where the fish may not be too selective.

  • Elk Hair Caddis

    Tying an Elk Hair Caddis fly is a good idea if you live out west, as the caddisfly is a large part of a trout's diet.

  • Green Butt Skunk

    Everyone should learn how to tie a Green Butt Skunk fly, as it is one of the best known Steelhead Flys.

  • Parachute Adams

    Learning to tie a Parachute Adams fly pattern is worth your time, as this fly is an easier to spot variation of the old standby The Adams fly.

  • Prince Nymph

    The Prince Nymph can attract selective trout. Tie a Prince Nymph fly with a brass bead head for flash and depth.

  • The Orange Scud

    If you are looking to imitate freshwater shrimp then learn to tie an Orange Scud fly pattern.

  • Pink Crazy Charlie

    If you are trying to catch some bonefish, you may want to learn how to tie a Pink Crazy Charlie fly.

  • Royal Wulff

    If you want fish to take your fly, learn how to tie a Royal Wulff fly.

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