Category Archives: Fly Tying

Angler Education (or lack thereof)

Every US state requires some sort of certification prior to issuing a hunting license. Most do the same for a trapping license as well.  But nothing of the sort exists for obtaining an angling license. As much as I enjoy seeing a kid walking/biking to the local river to fish, it causes me to wonder if they know what they are doing?


This kid obviously knows what he’s doing. After all, he lives under the same roof with a Fly Fishing Guide/Tree Hugger.

The Oregon Department of Fishing & Wildlife does an outstanding job of promoting the sport of angling. They put on numerous seminars and clinics around the state introducing kids (and adults) to the sport. They have a huge network of volunteers that receive instruction and certification. The ODFW provides basic instruction on the various fishing methods and opportunities in each area. They also have “free fishing days” and family fishing events. It’s a great program in most respects.  But there are a few things missing, at least as far as I’ve seen when attending and/or assisting with various events.

Some of the areas I would like to see expanded on are:

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Choosing Hair for Fly Tying

antelope_grab_bigFly tying hair can be broken into two main categories:  Big Game and Small Game.  Big Game animals include; Elk, Deer, Bear, Caribou, Moose, Antelope.  Small game animals include; Fox, Squirrel, Rabbit, Skunk, Badger, Woodchuck, Mole, Nutria, Beaver, Muskrat, Mink.

Most Big Game animal hair is used for winging materials.  Some is hollow and very buoyant, while others are solid fibers, or mostly solid fibers that are best suited to wet flies.  Hollow big game hairs are often used for body materials as well.  When spun or stacked, then clipped to shape, the result is a high-floating fly – most often seen in hopper patterns, muddler heads,  bass poppers and steelhead skaters or bombers.

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Choosing Dubbing for Fly Tying


rabbit_trout_bigDubbing can be a mystery to the beginner fly tier. It was for me! You see the little packages of fuzzy stuff at the fly shop, but you’re not quite sure that it’s for. You continue down the row of bins and grab some chenille, floss, yarn or other body product and go about your business. Then one day you take a class, watch a video, read a book or are otherwise exposed to the wonderful world of natural fur and synthetic dubbing products. Your choice of flies to tie becomes endless!

There are a number of ways to utilize dubbing, but basically what you’re trying to accomplish is a way to bind the fur or synthetic product to the tying thread so that it can be wrapped around the hook. There is the “touch” method, loop methods, pre-made ropes and brushes, twist and wrap, etc. etc. Practice makes perfect and soon you’re dubbing like a master!

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