Learn to Tie Perfect Flies
Fly Tying Membership – The Fly Explorer
The Fly Explorer is a fly tying membership that helps you figure out what flies to tie and learn everything you need to know about them to tie them better and catch more fish. Youtube videos can only take you so far. It’s time to take your fly tying to the next level.
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Learn to Tie Perfect Flies
- Get Expert Knowledge on Tying Better Flies
- Get Access to 300+ Tying Recipes & Videos
- Recipes, Variations, Substitutions, Entomology Info and More!
- Catch More Fish with The Flies You Tie
- Adding More Patterns Every Month
*Accessible from any device with internet*
Better Flies Come From Better Info
Learn Why Fly Explorer Members Tie Better Flies
Let’s be honest, there are a lot of free videos out online, but that’s not what you’re paying for. We provide loads more information beyond the tying videos to help you fully understand the flies you tie. Here’s just some of the info we do beyond videos:
Teaching You to Match The Flies in Your Box to the Insects You See
If you are on the river and you experience a caddis hatch, do you know what flies in your box can imitate a caddis? We list all the insect and stages that the fly pattern imitates so you can learn and memorize this info for when you’re on the river. That way, the next time blue wing olive emergers are coming off, you’ll know what flies in your box will actually catch fish.
- Insect Stages (Nymph, Emerger, Dry, Spinner etc)
- Insect Order (Categories) – Caddis, Stoneflies, Mayflies, Midges, Scuds, Sowbugs, and all 13 major categories of insects
- Insect Species: Any insect species that the fly pattern imitates is listed in our seasonal insect info section where we list the colors, sizes, hatch seasons and stages of the insect so you know what to tie.
Knowing when you can have the best success with a pattern and what fish species you can target, help you figure out when to stock it up in your box. We provide a list of the best seasons to throw the fly and all the major fish species it could catch.
It sucks to find a sweet pattern, get the materials and get all settled in to tie the pattern only to find out it is way freaking harder than it looks. All flies require a little practice when they are new patterns for you, but knowing what you’re getting into is very helpful.
We list each pattern as:
- Difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard
- Tying Time: 1-3 Minutes, 3-5 Minutes, 5-7 Minutes etc
This helps you gauge if you are able to tie the fly with your skill level and how long it will take you after you get the patterns basics down.
What makes a golden biot stonefly different than a pats rubberleg stonefly? We describe the benefits of each pattern based on the materials properties so you can understand why it works and what the materials do for the fly for pros and cons. This will make you a better tyer as you learn the properties of materials and their benefits and drawbacks.
Tying recipes are critical to planning out materials and getting set up to tie the pattern. We provide detailed material lists in the most helpful way possible, so you can get the materials ready before you watch the video.
One unique thing that we do that others don’t tell you to tie with a Tiemco 100 dry fly hook because there are many substitutions for hooks, and what matters the most is the weight and profile of the hook. Instead of saying Tiemco 100 dry fly, we’ll say a down eye, straight shank, dry fly hook (1x Fine) is recommended. Now you can look at your hooks and find something that matches that as close as possible and put it on your vise.
This is just one example of the thought we put into the fly explorer. This service is made by fly tyers, for fly tyers and we know what sucks and what is awesome to have when you’re tying flies at the bench.
We provides some tips based on experience to help you tie faster. We often include them in the videos and show you some tips and tricks to tie patterns faster. Examples include:
- Tips for creating the best proportions on a fly
- How to tie in tricky materials with ease
- How to increase the durability of the pattern
When a recipe calls for a Gamakatsu S10-25 and you only have Daiichi hooks, what is a good equivalent? We have put together a comprehensive list of hooks from the 6 largest hook manufacturers so you can easily search and find a hook that matches the recipe. We even include the 9 hook properties on the list so you can understand why that hook was chosen over others.
We do this same thing for beads including all the fish skull and sculpin head beads so you can get the right beads for the hook sizes you want to tie.
If the pattern calls for australian possum dubbing and all you have is hares ear dubbing, will it work? We provide a list of all substitutions based right off the tying recipe so you can easily understand if you have similar materials or need to buy something for the pattern.
We list all the known variation options for each pattern to help you tie more innovative flies. Not only do we tie up as many variations as we can and post up pictures, but we allow for you to post up pictures of variations. There’s dozens of ways to tie a pheasant tail, and other major patterns, and listing them as a variation helps increase your creativity and get your juices flowing to tie better, more innovative flies.
An Easier Way to Find Patterns
Use Our Filters to help you choose the perfect fly for your tying session
Our fly tying filters allow you to customize your results better than google, youtube or any other fly tying site. See all the filters we offer below and imagine the possibilities.
Match the right stage to the fly pattern and tie more intelligently filtering by nymphs, emergers, dries, spinners or streamers.
There are over 12 major insect categories and several baitfish and crustacean/invertebrates that are important to fish we target on the fly. Use this filter to find the right food source to imitate.
Find the fly patterns by easy, medium and hard difficulty to make sure you tie patterns you can actually make look good.
Seasons are huge in fly fishing and matching patterns to the right season helps you stock your box correctly. Use the filter to find the right patterns for whatever season you’re targeting.
If you’re looking for a color to match, use our color selector to find flies that work in that color range
Use this filter to focus on flies for rivers vs stillwater
Targeting a certain species? Find a good pattern for Carp, trout, bonefish, redfish and more.
It sucks when you spend 30 minutes to tie a fly you thought would take 5. Tie patterns based on the time it takes to tie them so you can set your productivity and output for the night. This is an especially useful filter when you’re tying the night before a trip and need to budget your time.
Delivered to Your Inbox
Get Seasonal Tips and Patterns Delivered to Your Inbox Each Month
It can be hard to just sit down at the vice and pick a pattern. Often times we get stuck just getting started.
Our monthly recommendations will keep you motivated and engaged trying patterns that are curated to help you improve your tying skills and tie patterns that work.
View what a sample piece of content looks like below to see if you find the depth of content useful in helping you tie flies
” Fooling Picky Trout Since 1943 “
Key Benefits of This Pattern
The Smokejumper midge is an excellent fly pattern that can fool even the more selective trout. It is tied with CDC which is an excellent material that stays dry without any floatant. The CDC parachute on top of this midge pattern keeps the fly near the top or on top of the water column which helps the fly appear to be in the emergence phase. The trout love eating emergers and a natural material like CDC creates a very nice presentation. Try a few of these patterns on selective tailwaters and see the results for yourself.
- Imitates: Midge Emerger, Midge Dry, Mayfly Emerger, Mayfly Dry
- Insect Species: Midges, Blue Wing Olive, PMD, Trico
- Imitation Category: Imitative, Impressionistic
- Fly Seasons: Spring, Fall, Winter
- Water Type: Coldwater Rivers, Stillwater
- Difficulty: Medium Skill Levels. 1-3 Min Once Mastered
Preferred Tying Recipe
- Hook Type: Tiemco 2457 or 2487
- Hook Size: #16-26
- Thread Type: 8/0 Uni Thread or 70 Denier
- Thread Color: Any – Black Standard
- Dubbing: Peacock Herl
- Wire: X-Small Silver
- Wing: CDC Oiler Puff
* Guides only available to paid members *
- Body: Using goose biots for the body is also a good option
- Dubbing: Any superfine or antron dubbing
- Wing: Thin 1mm or 2mm foam as the post
Using a variety of colors will help you imitate any small emerging or adult midge or mayfly. using foam for the wing post can work, but CDC is much better. The CDC stays above the water while the rest of the fly is below. With foam, it’s a little too buoyant and makes the fly float on its side. Both can catch fish, but the CDC oiler puffs is preferred. Black, Olive, Yellow and Red seem to work best for this fly.
You can always tie any fly in any color imaginable, but we’ve found the best colors to be Black, Olive, Red, Purple, Blue, White, Tan
People often wonder how to fish this fly. Primarily it’s best fished as a dry fly and will float on top of the water. It sinks easily because it’s delicate and when it sinks, a small strike indicator or larger fly that floats helps detect strikes below the water which are common on this pattern. Using frog’s fanny or some other fly duster for CDC keeps this fly floating high and dry, but requires a little maintenance. You usually only need 1 or 2 good casts and drifts to hook a fish on this fly when they are feeding so make the casts count.
I usually fish as many drifts as I can before I catch a fish or it sinks then I fish 2-3 drifts with it sinking then I re apply the fly duster and start again. A renegade or griffiths gnat is a good choice as a first fly that floats well and then this as the point fly in a two fly dry fly set up. A NZ strike indicator is also great if you only want to throw the smokejumper and the fish seem to take it after it sinks.
Seasonal Insect Info
Midges hatch year round, but their importance is from September through winter into April. During the warmer months, the trout often focus on larger insects as they are more active on the water like mayflies, caddis and stoneflies.
- Colors: Black, White, Gray, Cream, Olive, Red, Brown, Blue, and Purple
- Sizes: #16 – #24
- Hatch Seasons: Year Round with a focus on early spring, late fall and warmer winter days
- Stages: Nymph (Year Round), Emerger, Dry Fly
BLUE WING OLIVE HATCHES
Blue Wing Olive, BWO, Baetis, all the same thing. View the info below on how to match their hatch and their seasonality.
- Colors: Olive, Brown/Olive, Brown, Black, Purple
- Sizes: #16 – #24
- Hatch Seasons: Year Round with Importance on Early Spring and Late Fall
- Stages: Nymph (Year Round), Emerger, Dry Fly
Pale Morning Duns, Pale Evening Duns, PMD, Sulphurs, all the same bug, just a different name. View the info below on how to match their hatch and their seasonality.
- Colors: Yellow, Tan, Cream
- Sizes: #12 – #20
- Hatch Seasons: Late Spring to Mid Fall
- Stages: Nymph (Year Round), Emerger, Dry Fly, Spinner
Some of the smallest and most challenging, yet plentiful mayfly hatches you’ll find. View the info below on how to match their hatch and their seasonality.
- Colors: Black, Purple, Cream, White
- Sizes: #20 – #30
- Hatch Seasons:Mid to Late Summer
- Stages: Nymph (Year Round), Emerger, Dry Fly, Spinner (Most Common)
Fish That Love This Fly Pattern
Trout, Grass Carp, Carp, Panfish
TIE SMART, DRINK WISELY
We provide a full breadth of content on fly tying including drink pairings with your fly patterns.
Recommended Drinks for This Pattern: Oatmeal Stout | Tennessee Whiskey