Time to Tie the Flies

Waters have receded and streams are fishable in the Smokies, but it’s that time of year when I start tying the flies. When most tyers sit at the vise they’ll tie a few of their favorites, then go fishing or do something else. When I sit at the vise I don’t leave until I’ve tied at least a dozen.

A few hours of work in that pile

A few hours of work in that pile

It depends on the pattern, but I can tie between 9 flies an hour to 2 dozen in an hour. The Rubber Leg Tellico Nymph is one of my slowest since it has so many steps. Standard parachute patterns and beadheads are much faster. I usually crank out around 18 – 24 parachutes in an hour if there aren’t any interruptions and I’m firing on all cylinders. About the same for beadheads if the beads are already on the hook. That might tip you off to another clue. I spend time just putting beads on hooks.

Same amount of time, more flies, but a smaller pile

Same amount of time, more flies, but a smaller pile

I’m planning to hit the stream this afternoon while the weather is still nice. I’m probably just going to tie a dry fly on and do a little dry fly fishing and not worry about chasing big fish. Probably won’t even bother with a small olive, just tie on a #14 Parachute Adams because it’s one of my favorite flies.

Speaking of flies, care to comment on what your favorites are?

Hazel Creek spring 2010


  1. Awesome tip on the PT nymph…

    By the way, that’s my favorite fly as it always produces and has in many differing trout waters. The least favorite part of me tying this fly is dealing with getting a decent looking tail. Thanks!

    My second favorite is the omnipotent wooly worm (heavily weighted with tons of hackling, in black, green or yellow. You rarely see these on the end of angler’s tippets but they are very productive during the winter.

  2. I like a parachute hare’s ear for park streams, but I tail it with orange pheasant tippets.

  3. Tyler Hatcher says:

    Ian,thanks a bunch man.

  4. Tyler Hatcher says:

    I was looking at your bh pheasant tails and was wondering what you use for the tail. Is it zion fibers? Those pheasant tails look awesome!

    • Tyler, I use the Pheasant Tail Nymph framework, but use Z-lon instead. I like the way it looks, it seems more durable, and it has a translucency that pheasant tail fibers don’t have.

  5. Jason Elkins says:

    One of my favorite flies to fish and tie is the Pat’s nymph. I swiped the recipe from a R & R article. Thanks.