best site or book for tying flies

I am fairly new to tying flies with a lot to learn. I feel like I'm spending more time searching for a video or instructions on how to tie NW flies then I actually do tying. Any suggestions on good sites or a good book to invest in? Thank you!!


Active Member
Cannot say whats best, but here are two good resources.
this site has lots of fly patterns and detailed instructions

youtube, search Davie McPhail
lots of video demonstrating some very nice flies.

However, neither of these helps you know what patterns to start with and progress you through increasingly difficult skills. I suggest you check out your local library for books that will help in this regard. There are many many books on flytying.

P.S. also see if your local flyfishing club has flytying classes. You can also see fly tying demos at sportsmen's shows, although most of those are in the winter spring.
Thank you. I'll for sure look into the website and youtube video. I was very disappionted with the libraries selection :-( Would be nice to find a good book for my nook.
Thanks again for the advice.
the best book for techniques is the following: the fly tiers benchside reference

one of the best books for beginners is the following: basic fly tying by charlie craven

a good beginner site is the following by dave cammiss

davie mcphail has good video and even some basic fly tying but i think his material is too advanced for a beginner

most fly tying videos simply assume you know how to tie flies and dont usually teach the how and the whys of fly tying


Active Member
In addition to above I like the books by David Hughes. His "Trout Flies" is very complete and covers most bugs you will ever need. I second jwg's advise on checking out local clubs, shops, or even community classes. A few lessons can go a long way and point out some tricks that make the process a lot easier.


Active Member
So here is a hint about fly tying recipes.

The convention is that the ingredients are listed in the order that you put them on the hook.

However, some people do not follow this convention.
I looked at dave camiss and his recipes do not always follow this convention.

for example, his site posts:

  • Hook -- Wet Fly sizes 10 to 16
  • Thorax - Seals fur, orange, brown, olive, black or red.
  • Body - Copper wire.
  • Tail - Small bunch cock pheasant tail feathers. Option brown cock hackle fibres.
  • Underbody - Optional fine lead wire

I would say this should be listed in the order Hook, Tail, Body, Thorax...

I agree about Dave Hughes. I learned using Essential Trout Flies by Dave Hughes.
A beginner really needs a book or site that not only lists materials, but describes and illustrates each step in the tying process. Fly tying is mainly about knowing how to prepare and apply different materials, and use various techniques (pinch grip, finger whip finish, brushing dubbing, etc.) in applying the materials. A simple recipe list doesn't teach these things.
I like the The Fly Tying Bible and a book I picked up at my local library that is title something like Fly Tying for Streams it shows the different insects that you are trying to mimic.
Fly Tyers Benchside Reference
Charlie Cravens Books
Trout Flies by Dave Hughes
Tying Emergers by Jim Scollmeyer and Ted Leeson
Northwest Fly Patterns & Tying Guide by Rainland Flycasters

I have all of these books listed above, but still find myself searching the internet for videos. I think videos give you more instruction like watching someone sitting next to you tying flies.
Out of all the books I have though, I find myself going back to Trout Flies by Dave Hughes the most.
Another great source is getting a subscription to Fly Tyer and Flyfishing and Tying Journal magazines.

Good luck and have fun doing it.
Also, if you tie most of your own, always make a point to tie up an experimental pattern or two of your own to give a try when you are on the water. The feeling is great when you find "your" pattern is hooking fish.


Active Member
I do not know if you get this on the west side, but "Fly tying, the anglers art" runs over here on PBS throughout the year. Good series where they demonstrate three flies each episode. I just record it for reference.
The late Roy Patrick wrote some very good books for beginners.
TIE YOUR OWN FLIES is available through the library system in King Count. I just returned it a few weeks ago. I started with it and I wanted to reread it for nostalgia. It will give you some good pointers.

That said, I would suggest that you join a fly fishing club and take advantage of the offerings for fly tying. I belonged to the Northwest
Fly Anglers from 1975 until I retired in 2002. They have some interesting programs. I am sure there are others as well. Nothing like a little hands on learning and someone to talk you through the difficult spots.

ED: I offer you a bit of beginner advice. You will buy way more material than you need and eventually you will use only a hand full of patterns. But it is good to know how to tie a large collection of flies, even if you seldom use them.

Latest posts