The time is now to bring those fly boxes up to "combat ready". It is the time of year when the only thing busy around the ole cabin is...the furnace. This week we logged a Low of -26 F below zero. Today started at a low of -18 F at midnight, however dawn temperatures warmed up to a toasty 5 F above, hardly a noticeable change. I think I'll slide my fly tying station right over the heater duct and begin the upcoming fly fishing season preparations starting with nymphs, leaches, mouse patterns, and inventorying material.
So I like to get wet flies done first. These patterns always seem to gravitate. Gets me to that elusive place where sunglasses go when you lose them. Paras, duns, wolffs, and spinners are my favorites. I always keep a life time supply of these dry flies on hand. The wet flies I give attention to this time of year for obvious reasons, they are springs first choice. I expect high water in the rivers this spring. Wet flies might be needed into late May or longer.
The Internet offers instructional videos on every fly pattern, i.e."Zack Ties a Mouse" - You Tube. I watch them to get input as no what's hot, and what's not. I then just do my time tested patterns and "voila".
Fly tying is a labor of love to many, for me it is the insurance of having the right flies at the right time. There are only a couple of places in Northern Michigan, in 500 square miles that carry good flies and if they're out, your out of luck. Plus I sometimes have to go out of my way to buy them. Fly tying gives you that luxury of heading straight to the river, nonstop! Did I mention creativity? Try different materials and experiment. Different rivers can have slightly different looking hatches of a favorite fly.
So if you think it is too cold to go out to a show or wander the streets shopping, spend a little time at your fly tying station. During the winter months fly tying is the closest thing to being in a river and the closest thing to a heater duct!
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.