Fly Tying

There's nothing more satisfying than catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself. Not to mention that it's a good way to pass those long winter days. Here are a few "recipes" to keep you busy for a while.



Sculpted Streamer, Spring fly fishing Montana
Peavey, Beau
Streamers in the spring? You bet! As the water warms up, the bigger fish will be looking for a substantial meal. This is a great sculpin imitation for both pre- and post-runoff fishing on the Yellowstone or Madison. It can be dead-drifted, swung, or stripped. Read more >>
Armijo, Jimmy
When fall returns, so do the hatches of Blue Winged Olives (BWO). As with most fly patterns, this BWO cripple is an adaptation of many proven patterns—and possibly something I unknowingly borrowed from another fly tyer. Read more >>
Shark & Yankee Jim
If you’re looking for a go-to summer and fall attractor pattern, then look no further than the Purple Parachute. A long-time favorite among Missoula guides, this fly was fished west of the Divide for many years before making its way over the pass a few years ago. Read more >>
Kumlien, Kris
The Cheerio Plugger is a cool carp pattern that is similar, but with a few tweaks and an addition or two, to Jay Zimmerman’s Backstabber. I like this pattern better than Jay’s and it’s great for taking carp in every water condition, on lakes, ponds, sloughs, and rivers. Read more >>
Self, Willy
The Double G is a sweet little pattern that can be used any time there are midges clustering up on the water. It is a must from late fall all the way through to late spring—with its simple materials, it floats well and, like clustered midges, is easy to see. Read more >>
Kumlien, Kris
When I think of fishing in the fall, I think of one thing: streamers. There’s something almost romantic to a streamer addict about fall, with the leaves turning colors and fish getting aggressive as the brown trout begin their courtship. Read more >>
Bailey, John
The Tan Cicada Foam has proved very effective, especially as a second fly behind a salmon fly. In fact, last year I used this fly behind a large salmon fly pattern and caught more fish on it than on the larger fly. Read more >>
Shark & Yankee Jim
The Tungsten Bead Goomie Worm is a go-to fly in the spring. This worm pattern is great when the bugs aren’t hatching, the water is off-color, or the fish are slow and lethargic. Those truths said, let us also disclose that this fly pretty much works all the time. Read more >>
Jones, Gary
The spruce bud worm is no friend to the forests, but after a decade or so of this "late-summer-early-fall" phenomenon, trout everywhere are conditioned to the late-season treat. Read more >>
Self, Willy
The UV Chewy Crayfish pattern is a great year-round pattern on the Yellowstone and Madison rivers as well as our local lakes. Its lifelike movement, silhouette, and softness draw many species of fish—they like to chew on it for an extra second or two, allowing time to set the hook. Read more >>
Cowardin, David
When it comes to tying dry flies, nothing is more important than how realistic a fly looks and how well it floats. There are many fly-tying techniques that can produce an almost unsinkable dry fly, but they usually require large quantities of foam, animal hair, and hackle feathers. Read more >>
McKnight, Doug
A winter fly. Read more >>
Spartas, Dale
100 Best Trout Flies for Montana Trout ($25; wildriverpress.com) by Tom R. Pero and Ted Fauceglia, is a fascinating and beautiful little book with the best fly photographs I've ever seen. Read more >>
Rogers, Matson
I take no responsibility for this fly whatsoever. It's been around for several years, and guides continue to rely on it because it's just one of those patterns you can't do without. The Shop Vac, as the name implies, seems to hoover fish from all parts of the river or lake. Read more >>
McKnight, Doug
I can’t think of a more productive winter fly than this version of the Disco Midge. A good friend of mine from Victor, Idaho turned me on to it years ago, and countless good fish have fallen victim to its small, innocuous imitation. Read more >>
Cavan, Josh
As the snow begins to melt and the trees brighten with their spring colors, anglers gear up for some of the best dry fly fishing the season has to offer. The notorious caddis, the small meat-and-potatoes insect of the trout world, begins to hatch. Read more >>
Hostetler, Jeff
Once again the showery skies of springtime Montana turn to blue, and the summer yellow sun shines high and long. While fisherman adapt to the heat with sunscreen and sandals, the bugs time their hatches and breeding seasons according to body color. Read more >>
Hostetler, Jeff
Early summer in Southwest Montana is typically striped with muddy, raging rivers full of the melted snows of winter. Most anglers this time of year seek out tailwater fisheries and lakes. Read more >>
Hostetler, Jeff
Many fly patterns have been designed to work for a specific region. There are, however, a number of flies that cross over between fresh water and salt water. One fly that has been a crossover pattern for several years is Bob Clouser’s Clouser Minnow. Read more >>
Jeff Hostetler
Spring in Bozeman is an amazing time for numerous reasons—the fields turn green, the bears awaken, and the temperatures warm—but for the fly fisher, it means the long-awaited thaw of snow and ice. Read more >>
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