I hate trout flies

I started tying trout flies when I spent a summer as a guide on some of the prettiest waters in California (or anywhere else). I needed to fill my boxes with quick, practical flies that would catch fish. That meant dark nymphs in a #16, probably a bead head.

PT’s, AP’s. Maybe an Eng Theng if I was feeling cocky. I tied hundreds and clients lost just about every single one, but that is why I tied them.

Once I started tying bonefish flies… I kind of put all that stuff away… the bead heads, the #18’s, the 6/0 thread, the dubbing and Pheasant feathers.

My table or bench started to see craft fur and crystal flash and EZ Braid. The threads were Big Game. The hooks started at #6 and went up to #1/0 and then even larger for other species. I have come to love bead chain eyes and have growing opinions about the various materials one uses to craft a saltwater fly.


I was asked to tie some trout flies for a donor of a river conservation nonprofit (one I used to be the Development Director for) and I said “sure.”

Now I know it… I hate tying trout flies. I’ve been ruined. Not only can I not find all my materials, but the hooks are so small! How did I have room to put all the bug parts on an #18? Wing case? Damn.

I’ll buy my trout flies, gladly, from fly shops I visit and enjoy.

I’ll tie my saltwater flies, which I enjoy tying very much.



  1. I know exactly what you mean. Plus, as you get older, #16 hooks get smaller.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. The eyes aren’t what they once were. Let’s tie something substantial.

  3. All too true – miss the salt & the larger flies. Specially here in CO – forget tying- I can barely tye a fly on my tippet.

    Can’t wait to move …

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