What happens in a fly tying class

Arrival, ten minutes before class. One of my students pulls into the space next to me and greets me with, “It’s the professor.” The first thing that goes through my head is, red tail, yellow floss body, gold tinsel rib, brown hackle, mallard wing. Yes. I am a  fly pattern nerd.

Introductions are made, and name tags are filled out. I have a pathological flaw when it comes to remembering names. I don’t know who who thought of the concept of “Hello, my name is,” but whoever you are, I don’t think the word “genius” is an excessive blandishment.


I have seven students. They ask many questions. Some of my answers are too long, and stray down labyrinthine anecdotal paths. But everyone seems interested. Thank God for captive audiences.

All fly tiers are not created equal, and in any given class you have a broad range of skill levels. I look at some of the finished flies, and they will never grace the pages of a fly tying magazine. But, so what? To a trout, they will be beautiful. And that is all that matters. I also notice that some of the tiers are making significant improvements over the course of a couple hours. I would like to take credit for this, but I really can’t. I comes from within the tier. Still, it is gratifying to witness.

And then, we’re done. Seven flies (Partridge and Cahill, Drowned Ant, BWO Spider, Dark Hendrickson, Squirrel and Ginger, Ginger Caddis Larva, Pale Water Wingless) in a little over four-and-a-half hours. Thank you, gentlemen, for letting me be your instructor (and well done, all of you!). Thank you, UpCountry, for letting me teach. And thank you, Mother Nature, for saving the snow until Monday.

8 comments on “What happens in a fly tying class

  1. Phil says:

    Thank you Steve, you did a great job!

  2. Robert says:

    The art of tying and fishing wet flies and nymphs will never be lost as long as Steve continues to share his knowledge and passion for the sport. An excellent class, thanks again for taking the time to share your knowledge.

  3. Steve – this was such a wonderful class. I can’t wait to sit down this weekend and tie and tie and tie! You really did a great job walking us through, not only how to tie the flies, but also how you fish them and why they work so well. Excellent class!

  4. Ray Hamilton says:

    Great class Steve. I have tied about 40 flies getting ready for a break in the weather. I still want to fish with you.

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