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Tying Some Up for another Season Opener
While sifting through bins of flies, you usually notice the names of the flies more than anything else. From the Sex Dungeon to Trixie the Hooker Hopper, you can tell there’s always a back-story to every fly in a shop. Fly-tying has always been a way to pass the dark winter nights. When the sun sets at five, it’s easy to turn on the boob tube and settle in to a pile of feathers and thread. I personally cue up some South Park or something equally offensive and get creative.
Sturtevants helped inspire a few more crazy fly-tiers this spring at their free fly-tying classes. Held twice a week at their Hailey store, local guides Carl Evenson, Paddy McIlvoy and I shared our expertise with some Valley residents willing to go to the dark side. From steelhead flies for the Salmon River to basics for the Big Wood and mayflies for Silver Creek, the fly-tying classes covered a lot of the flies to stock up on in your boxes.
I stick to basics, I like tying production style—there’s nothing more rewarding than a full box of what you need. Carl and Paddy like to get a little crazy with their tying, though. Both Evenson and McIlvoy are signature tiers for Montana Fly Company. Some of their patterns include Evenson’s 2B Midge and McIlvoy’s Silver Creek Sculpin. Paddy even has tied a duckling for big browns on Silver Creek and is known for the Shagger, a six-inch brown trout streamer.
Learning to tie flies becomes a black hole. There’s always a new material to buy or a new pattern you dreamed up while in the shower. Creativity is only hampered by what you can or can’t attach to a hook. Throughout the class series, it was interesting to see the creativity of the students grow. What was an egg pattern one week became a fluorescent egg sucking leach pattern the next week. The class participants brought in their new creations and new questions.
Opening Day is now upon us, which is a real relief to pack up the fly-tying vise for a while, get out of the dark and catch the fish we’ve been dreaming about all winter.
*[Morgan Buckert is a local fishing guide and freelance writer.]
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