Making Your Own Flies For Fly Fishing

Flies are made from materials like fur, feathers, plastic, and yarn. All of these materials are tied onto a hook so they imitate an insect, minnow, egg, or anything else a fish might find attractive (or perhaps annoying).

To Buy or Make Flies?

Flies can cost anywhere from $1 – $5 a piece, even the best fly-fishers loose flies so it is a renewable cost. Since fly tying could be (and deserves) to be considered a separate hobby than fly fishing it might be a bit too much to learn and invest time and money in for the novice or occasional fly-fisher.

But if you enjoy working with your hands and don’t mind spending the cash and time to get started, fly-tying is an excellent hobby (and great to do during the slow fishing months).

If you decide to take up the art of tying flies, you will want to check out some of our fly-tying articles.

Types of Flies you can make:

    • Streamers – Long, skinny flies that sink and look like a baitfish
    • Dry flies – Flies that float
    • Wet flies– Flies that sink
    • Poppers – Floating flies that are made out of cork

Another common Fishing Fly:


Generally used for fresh water trout fishing, but also known to attract many other species such as salmon. Chronimids are generally tied on very small hooks and come in a great variety of materials, colors, shapes, and sizes. They are used and fish love them throughout North America as well as many other parts of the world.

Again this is another universal fly… and it’s also most commonly the first fly that the novice fly tier will learn to tie. Works great for a wide variety of freshwater fish species.

Tools for Fly Tying:

First the tools that are most needed:

    • Vice – This is what holds the hook as you tie your fly. Prices range from $10 – $300 +. There is really no reason to get an expensive vice… as a novice find a cheap but sturdy vice. Practice gripping a hook in the vice’s teeth before buying if the retailer will allow you to.
    • Bobbin – Is a tool that holds a spool of thread, floss or other material that is used to wrap this material around your fly hook.
    • Scissors – Fly tying scissors must be small, strong, sharp and with a very fine tip. Choose a good pair of scissors made specifically for fly tying.

Other tools that will come in handy:

    • Hackle Pliers
    • Bodkin
    • Whip Finisher
    • Hair Stacker

The above list is a good starter set of tools. If you are purchasing a fly-tying kit, all of these items should be included. On average a beginner can find a fly tying kit containing all of the above and also generally include a book, hooks, and a variety of fly-tying materials for between $60 – $150 USD.

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