Fly Tying Tips from a Master

This Partridge and Hare’s Ear wet fly is very similar to the March Brown tied by Steve LaValley featured on the video at the DRWTU web page discussed here.

I invite you to visit the web site for the Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited (here) and check out the fly tying video I posted there. Steve LaValley is a master fly tyer who led a beginner fly tying class for our chapter last year. In the video he ties a March Brown which is his favorite fly for the Deerfield. You can get a lot out of tying the fly with him using the video, but I want to highlight a few of the more subtle techniques he uses in the course of tying this fly that you can incorporate into you’re tying.

  • 1:07 Steve picks up his scissors and keeps them in his hand from then on
  • 1:10 He lifts the tag end of his thread and cuts it above the hook
  • 1:59 He removes any underfur from the moose mane fibers
  • 2:04 Measuring the moose mane against the hook shank & switching hands
  • 2:19 After minimal wraps to hold the tail in place, adjusting length of tail
  • 3:00 Securing the rib and wrapping down, up and back down to build a thread wrap underbody
  • 3:39 Bottom corner of dubbing envelope has been clipped to dispense dubbing
  • 3:52 Steve applies a small amount of dubbing and note how he slips it up the thread to the tie in point
  • 4:11 Spin the bobbin clockwise
  • 4:40 Careful placement of successive turns of dubbing
  • 6:36 Securing the rib
  • 7:20 Soft hackle preparation
  • 7:54 Folding the hackle
  • 8:37 Space for the quill wing and head – the width of the eye
  • 8:47 Fussing with the set of the hackle
  • 9:33 Matching the look of the right and left slips for the wing
  • 10:15 Using a couple half hitches to secure the tie still in process
  • 10:25 Measuring the wing against the hook gap
  • 11:20 Using dull side of slip for this fly
  • 11:50 Sizing the wing against the tail
  • 12:11 Switching hands after measuring
  • 12:15 Pinch method for placing & tying in the wing
  • 12:37 Building the head and the hand whip finish

Steve talks about his unconventional method for fishing wet flies in the final few minutes of the video.

There is a lot of valuable information here – verbally and visually captured in this video. If your interest is piqued about any particular aspect, please don’t hesitate to comment here or send me an email. I’ll do my best to elaborate on the gems you uncover here or point you in the direction for further exploration.

Time to tie some March Browns…

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