Flies for Fly Fishing

Tying a fly is really an art and it takes practice and patience before it can be mastered. Once mastered it is extremely rewarding, there is no better feeling to catching a fish on a fly you have tied yourself. In this article below we will walk through how to tie flies for fly fishing.

Another advantage to tying your own flies is that you can pick and choose what patterns you wish to make to target different species of fish and tying your own flies will save you money! Flies are usually tied to imitate different insects and baitfish at different stages of their life. Some patterns however are just made as per the person’s taste who is tying them.

Making a fly for fly fishing usually involves a set of tools such as a vise, materials such as feathers, beads and synthetic materials. The materials are used in different sequences and in stages of the fly tying process in order to reach the finished fly pattern.

Read our article on:  How To Use A Fly Reel 

Setting Your Fly Tying Station

Setting Your Fly Tying Station

  1. First, off you should set yourself up with a desk, chair, and table lamp in case you wish to tie flies at night. Some people choose to have their set up in a quiet place where they can relax and without distractions.
  2. Next, it is advisable to have a clear or white colored silicon or rubber mate on the desk so that any pieces of material you may be using and lay on the desk can be seen easily to the naked eye.
  3. Like in a workshop, it is a good idea to keep your fly tying tools tidy and organized, either in the desk draws or hang them onto the wall in front of the desk for ease of reach when needed. Some of the tools you will need will be a hair stacker, bobbin, whip finisher, some sharp scissors for trimming and cutting, and a small desk bin to discard any waste material. Having yourself organized will save you time later whilst in the midst of tying a fly.
  4. Having enough space on your desk to perform fly tying is required as is having some bookshelves around you to grab your favorite book or person’s pattern you may be following to tie a specific fly. Nowadays there are a ton of videos on youtube that explain step by step how to tie flies and tie leader to tippet so you may also like to keep a tablet or laptop close by to use to assist you.

Fly Tying Basic Techniques

Fly Tying Basic Techniques

  1. First take one of your fly hooks and place it into the vise. This can be a little fiddly at first but you will soon get the hang of it.
  2. Next and depending on the fly pattern you will be following, you will take the bobbin and thread and make a few wraps around the hook to form a small body of thread onto the hook.You can think of this initial thread as a foundation. It’s important throughout the process to keep the thread tight to the hook as any loose parts will spoil the pattern and fall to pieces at the end.
  3. At this stage you will probably select a piece of feather or synthetic material for which to use as the main body of the fly.Now take the scissors and cut a small section of the feather or material and pinch it between your left thumb, forefinger and middle finger (reverse this for left-handers).Hold the feather or material on top of the hook shank and make two soft wraps quickly followed by two firm thread wraps to secure the material to the hook.
  4. You can at this stage add more feathers or material to the fly following the same process as in point 3 or move onto the next step.
  5. To finish off the fly there are a few stages. Take out your whip finish tool to make several half-hitch knots.Place the tool flush and up against the thread. Keep the thread with the hook located on the top arm of the whip tool.Then twist the tool handle to form a small triangle in the thread and then wrap the thread around the hook shank. To finish off, remove the tool from the main thread whilst at the same time pull the thread to form a clinch knot.

Fly Patterns to Tie for Trout

Fly Patterns to Tie for Trout - Fly Fishing


  1. Mayflies

Mayflies are the best source of food and a popular fly in the sport of fly fishing using strike indicators for trout. The lifecycle of mayflies passes from nymph to dun (pre-adult), dun to the spinner, and spinner to the egg. As soon as the mayfly becomes adult, the trout hunts for it and consumes it as they are large in and plentiful during this season in number.

  1. Caddisflies

Caddisflies have a ten-like formation. They are easy to catch when they are taking a rest. The lifecycle of caddisfly passes from egg to larva, larva to pupa, and from pupa to adult. Trout wait for the adult to be vulnerable ie usually when taking a rest and soon as they see them in this form, they hunt them down and consume them.

  1. Stoneflies

The stonefly is a complex insect that cannot breathe underwater very easily. It waits for the water to pass oxygen through its gills so it can breathe. They need as high-quality water for habitat as trout in order to survive and is one of the main food sources for trout in their habitat. They have three main stages of life:  egg to nymph, nymph to adult. On average they take 2 to 4 years to complete their lifecycle.

  1. Midges

Midges hatch from early spring to late-fall. They resemble mosquitoes but are different. You can say they belong to the same genre but are in fact a different species. Trout tend to consume more midges than any other insect in the water as they are in abundance. The life cycle of midges and caddisfly is quite long hence they are also a popular source of food for trout as they exist and roam around the habitat of the trout frequently.

  1. Dragon and Damselflies

Dragon and damselflies are the most favorite food of trout in the water. Dragon and damselflies are nearly two inches in length. These insects have longer lives than the rest of the aquatic insects and are a generous and healthy meal for the fish. Both of them have the same lifecycle, i.e., egg to nymph, nymph to an adult however their life cycle period varies. I.e., damselflies lifecycle varies from one to two years, whereas dragonfly’s lifecycle is two to four years.

  1. Terrestrials

Terrestrial insects are the ones who fly, hop, and stay on land and water both. Grasshoppers are one of the examples. They vary in sizes and are one of the largest food items for a fish which they are full of nutrition.

  1. Crustaceans

Crayfish, shrimps, sowbugs and scuds are not insects; they are known as crustaceans and are also a popular source of food for trout. Hopefully, this article gave you some insight into how to tie flies for fly fishing