Just Learning, any suggestions???

Howdy everyone..

So I have been trying to learn how to tie flies.. Nothing fancy, I just want to beable to tie some basic flies so I don't have to buy them..

I can tie a bugger pretty good (still have a hard time with the hackle)..

Now would you think that paying to go to a fly tying class would be worth it? or should I keep trying to learn on my own. I have this kit from cabelas, and for the most part it has alot of stuff.. The book that came with it is kind of hard to follow though. Its supposed to be for begginers and they have me trying to tie things like a muddler minnow... uhm that one seems a bit hard.. maybe its just me...

any suggestions would be great.

I'll admit my opinion is biased, as I teach fly tying classes, but I think the money is well spent on lessons.

I started in the hobby by taking lessons at a very young age. After approx. 6 hours of lessons, I could tie most any trout fly, including a muddler.

Some steps are very hard to choreograph in pictures, but very easy to show someone how to do. The majority of the people I teach have already purchased a kit and tried it on their own. Their feedback is always very positive. Often they say that there are many things they struggle with, but after being shown in person, the steps are very easy.


If you don't have it, I'd get a copy of 'Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple' by Skip Morris. That and a friend showing me a few basics was plenty to put me well on my way. Have Fun.
I think you could probably learn on your own using some of the excellent books that are out there. That said, I think you GREATLY shorten the learning curve by taking classes. As was mentioned in an earlier post, it is much easier to show someone in person than in a book. It is also easier to learn by watching someone than by looking at a book. Another plus is that you often learn short-cuts and tricks in a class that you would never pick up in a book.

In the class I took, I was tying muddlers after four weeks. They weren't pretty, but they were fishable and they caught fish.

Take a class its worth every penny.

Good luck!
I don't know where you live, but I know Avid Angler has classes regularly, as does Kauffmann's in both Seattle and Bellevue. Swede's in Woodinville also offers them quite often.


Most Fly Fishing Clubs offer some kind of beginner classes also and can really be a good source of information. In the meantime keep working on that wooly bugger hackle until you can get it right-maybe buy some better hackle if it just doesn't work out right. Many of us are still doing very well with wooly buggers after 40-50 years of fishing. To keep it simple you might work on just 3 flies at first until you have your proportions right and can repeatably tie a decent fly. In addition to the bugger you might work on a Gold Ribbed Hares Ear and a parachute Adams-both about size 14 . This will sharpen your basic skills and give you confidence to do more challenging stuff later. One other thing I would recommend is to tie 5 or 6 of each pattern at a time and then compare the first with the last. I still do this and always strip the ones that aren't quite right and tie them over. Have fun-it will only get better, Ive

Craig M

Almost Senior Member
this is (if i did this right) patrick's latest newsletter
there are having classes in april on tuesday nights 6:30 - 8:30 starting the 8th


Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
I agree, 'Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple' is very helpful and I am currently going through it. I'm just getting started tying flies and this has me well on my way. The book is organized in a way that walks you through the techniques in order of difficulty and has good pictures that demonstrate the techniques.

The other main book that I have is 'The Art of Fly Tying' from the hunting and fishing library. This book is organized by technique and the combination of the two books has helped me out immensely. These books and the many fly fishing magazines have given me more than enough info to tie quite a few flies.

Good luck!

Mike Etgen

Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

Looks like you've gathered a lot of good advice here and I can't come up with anything better, but as a new tyer myself I can second the idea that it would be really helpful to have some lessons. I've gathered three different books (won one at a raffle, was given another, got one myself) and they all have strengths and drawbacks.
However, the comment that you can speed up the learning curve with lessons is dead on. Seeing someone do it, getting some explanation, etc., is well worth it, no matter how you arrange it.
I gather you're around Seattle, so my options wouldn't work. I was able to attend six hours of free clinics at a local flyshop (Clearwater in Kennewick) and later will attend a five week session put on by the local flycasters' club I belong to.
I got an email not too long ago from someone advising me that an Ellensburg group was also launching classes. Not sure who or when, but someone here will probably know, if that's an option for you.
Someone else suggested that you stick with a few basic flies at first. Good call. And if you tie several of the same, you'll see for yourself that you're progressing, which is a great motivator.
Get some good materials. One Washington supplier I've discovered sells through eBay and I've been pleased with prices and quality as well as service, and I can point you in their direction if you're interested.
And you know what - it's a lot of fun - damn near addictive once you get going!
Have fun tying and fishing your own flies.

Mike :thumb

Jay Allyn

The Poor-Student Fly Fisher
A good book to get is a little pricy, the CD is twenty bucks cheeper, but is well worth it. It's called 'The Fly Tiers Bench Side Reference'. It doesn't have fly patterns in it but it tells you how to do every little step in fly tying that there is. It will tell you secrets and hints that few poeple know about. This is deffently an esental book for every fly tier.:)

Do fish think the world is wet?


Active Member
I'd agree with going for lessons if you can afford it. If not, you can find fly tying lessons on the web that are free. http://flyanglersonline.com Select the "Fly Tying" and then the "Beginning Tying" links. Al Campbell has put together some great photos and steps to tying some common flies.

Have fun,

If you are around Seattle a Tying Klatch (klatch- a gathering characterized by informal conversation, I had to look this up) has started. We had the first gathering on March 3, They are planned for the first Monday of each month, next Tying Klatch is April 7. Gathering are at 6:30 pm in the Downtown REI store South meeting room, upstairs. There were about 10 people that came to the first gathering, and we just sat up our tying vise and went to work. People shared what they were tying when asked. It's a good way to set one day to focus on tying, If your like me I seem to always find other things to do. It was setup by a member of the Northwest Fly Anglers club, but is open to everyone.

A tying group has been talked about on this site before, here's one that has actually been organized with a place to meet. So gather up a travel kit and Come join us.

Gene (Yots)

Brad Niemeyer

Old School Member
I learned from a master tyer whose flies now sell for hundreds of dollars...here are some tips

1) Use the best materials ( but don't pay through the nose for them)

2) Be methodical about your tying...i.e. think it through before you start...

3) Tie the same pattern over and over until you are satisfied with the result....then you can get creative

4) Dress the flies sparsely...most beginners struggle with too much of any given material.

5) Always remember that poorly tied flies catch fish

-Son of The Master