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Learn to tie flies: fly fishing tying experts offer tips for novice fly tyers | Local News

SHERIDAN – Whether it’s peacock feathers or synthetic thread, beads or fur on a glistening hook, nothing beats a beautiful fly fishing fly. Learning to tie your own flies, however, might be easier than you think.

Flies are meant to imitate food, especially insects and invertebrates, fish are interested in eating, explained famed fly fisherman, instructor and guide Bob Krumm during his recent EveningPlus+ fly tying course at Sheridan College. .

The most important aspect of a fly is, of course, its ability to catch fish, Krumm said. Although some flies fail to catch anglers — they don’t exhibit the shiny pearls or feathers needed to impress experienced fly tyers — most flies do catch fish, Krumm reassured his students.

Fly tyers choose to tie their own flies for several reasons. Koby Campbell, associate at Fly Shop of the Bighorns, said he enjoys the practice as a way to get excited – and prepared – for the peak fly fishing season in the spring, summer and fall. Although fly fishermen can find thawed fishing holes near Sheridan County year-round, Campbell said Wyoming winters can still offer little opportunity to fish on water that isn’t. jelly. Campbell spends lazy winter Sundays tying flies and waiting for peak season.

Likewise, Campbell explained that tying your own flies is a great way to relax. Kent Andersen, a longtime fly fisherman and Krumm’s co-instructor in Sheridan College’s fly tying class, agreed. One of the goals listed by Andersen and Krumm in the classroom curriculum is to provide students with a pursuit to reduce stress levels and improve mental well-being.

“It’s just a really satisfying feeling…[Tying flies] is a place, other than the river, where your mind can just wander,” Campbell said.

Finally, some fly tyers use their craft to express themselves. Krumm said he found his artistry in fly tying. Now, tying flies offers him an outlet for artistic expression.

“To me, fly tying is an art form,” Krumm said.

Krumm introduced a few essentials for tying flies, including spools of thread, hooks and scissors, to his class at Sheridan College. Some of the more specialized essentials, Krumm explained, include a bobbin holder, a specialized knotting tool called a whip finisher, and a fly tying vise, a contraption for holding the hook stationary while tying a fly.

More advanced ties may also involve hackles or animal products applied to the hook, which may include moose and rabbit hair, synthetic materials, and all manner of bird feathers.

For new fly tyers, Campbell said many of these materials are found in fly tying kits. Krumm also provided his Sheridan College students with kits to begin their fly-tying expedition.

“A kit is a really good starting point,” Campbell said.

YouTube, Campbell said, is also an exceptional resource for new fly tyers. The website offers thousands of instructional videos with step-by-step instructions on how to tie different flies, many of which are specifically designed to mimic certain types of insects and for use during particular seasons. These tutorials can help new or experienced fly tyers discover and practice new patterns, Campbell said.

And practice is key, said John Madia, president of the Trout Unlimited Little Big Horn section and avid fly-fishing enthusiast. Madia recommended that students of a particular flight pattern practice it 12 times on their first flight attempt. The practice, Madia said, allows anglers to improve and refine their attachment of the pattern while filling the tackle box.

From there, the only step left is to wade into a stream and start using those self-tying flies.

“It’s kind of a thrill to catch a fish on a fly that you tied yourself,” Andersen said.