Fly Tying Season


I am a fly tying procrastinator which isn’t a good thing in my line of work. I have tied two dozen flies so far this winter and as a full time guide I go through a lot of flies between March and October each year.  At the end of each season I always tell myself I’m going to do better this winter.  I will plan to tie an hour each day.  I can crank out roughly a dozen flies an hour, so if I stick to my plan I would have 120 dozen or so before the season even starts.

But then hunting season opens and it’s impossible to think about flies when there are critters to chase around.  That runs right into the Christmas holiday and it’s hard to focus on bugs when I’m trying to pick out the perfect gift for my wife, and after that is New Year’s.  Those are all fairly legit reasons but I continue to look for any other possible excuse to put off tying for a few more days or a week until right about now.  Once February shows up I finally realize that I’m screwed my back is against the wall and it’s time to clean that tying desk off.

Fly Tying Season by Tony Reinhardt

Time at the vise.

At this point it’s almost an insurmountable task so a good plan is in order, a plan I’ll actually stick to this time.  The first patterns to get tied are the basics, the flies I go through in bulk each year.  San Juans, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, hoppers, and parachute adams all get hammered out first.  After that it is time to sort through the fly boxes.  Identify the weak spots and make a list organized by the seasons.

Once I make my list then I check to make sure I have all the materials I need.  I never do, so a trip to the fly shops is in order.  It is important to do this early on because if the fly shops don’t have what I need then I still have time to get it on-line.  The only thing left to do is buckle down and tie flies.  I start with Skwalas and work my way through the season until the only thing left is the Mahagonies and Blue-wings of fall.

Fly Tying Season 1 by Tony Reinhardt

All lined up and ready for action.

Of course the plan never works quiet that well and I still end up tying flies late into the night after getting off the river at times.  Procrastinators always have a price to pay, but I have already promised to myself to do better next winter!

Tight Lines,

–Tony Reinhardt


Tony Reinhardt BioTony Reinhardt is the owner, outfitter for Montana Trout Outfitters in Missoula.  He has been a guide on the rivers of western Montana for 16 years and absolutely loves his job.  When he’s not working you’ll find him fishing with his two children or in the woods hunting.