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The Sportsman's Corner

Time to Tie Flies


January 2, 2020

Winter is here, and no one is talking about global warming now. In fact, all but the most dedicated of outdoors people are shacked up in their homes, often huddled near wood burners in order to stave off winter's chill. I know that I spend a lot of time close to my fireplace insert, reading whatever novel I have been able to come up with at the library or at a not-too-distant bookstore.

I also spend a lot of my winter time ensconced in my fly-tying room, whipping up replacement flies for the ones I have lost the previous trout season. This year I have not spent as much time as usual in the fly-tying room, since I did not fish as often as usual last year and, therefore, did not lose as many flies as I customarily do. In fact, I am nearly done with my fly tying. I began to tie my replacement creations during the past deer season and have put a serious dent in the number of flies I still need to tie.

I have often heard fly tying referred to as an art, and in the hands of some fly tiers it really is an art. Their flies sometimes look more lifelike than real ones. Not mine. Though my flies are serviceable and generally do what I want them to do to attract trout, they are more-or-less caricatures of real insects than imitations. Even so, I am generally pleased with their effectiveness. Although my manual dexterity is not what it once was, tying a dozen or more flies takes only marginally more time than it used to.

If you are one of the growing numbers of sportsmen who are interested in learning to tie your own flies, there is help available. The John Kennedy Chapter of Trout Unlimited (Blair County) is offering a free fly-tying course beginning on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. This course will last for eight weeks, ending on March 7. The classes will be held at the Allegheny Township Fire Hall from 9 a.m. till noon. To register, call Jerry Green at (814) 934-7046.

The instructors are veteran fly tiers and fly-fishermen who can not only show students how to tie flies but can also advise them about what flies are effective in central Pennsylvania. By the time a student has completed the course, he will be well on his way to having his fly box stocked with a nice assortment of flies. He will also have begun what can be an enjoyable life-long activity.


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