Last week I talked about filling three orders for customer Christmas presents in My Favorite Dry Flies of 2020 post. I finished the orders yesterday, a total of 191 flies. What I really enjoyed about this project was the diversity of flies I tie…river flies, lake flies, and steelhead flies. The image below are the materials for Shewey’s Spawning Purple. The flies are on the left, but difficult to see. These materials are so vibrant and I really enjoy creating flies with them.

Shewey's Spawning Purple Materials |

Here is a close-up of Shewey’s Spawning Purple. Perhaps you can make out the flies now.

Shewey's Spawning Purple |

The last order included a total of 17 different fly patterns, three each, for rivers and lakes.

Christmas Fly Order |

And a close-up…

Christmas Fly Order Close-up 1 |

People have called me a commercial fly tyer. When I hear that, I immediately correct them by saying “custom” fly tyer. I take pride in my ability to tie a wide variety of flies. I even surprise myself some days!

The variety is what I enjoy. I have over 200 fly pattern sheets on my RiverKeeper Flies website that I’ve tied at one time or another. No commercial fly tyer in their right mind would tie only three of one fly pattern. Commercial fly tyers tie dozens and dozens of one fly, perhaps in multiple sizes. I think it would drive me crazy if I did. As I mentioned above, I like tying many different flies.

Here is an example. Yesterday, I tied a handful of chironomids, Zebra Midges and MT’s Crystal Chironomid. The day before, it was two steelhead flies…Green Butt Skunk and Shewey’s Spawning Purple, four of each fly.

You saw Shewey’s Spawning Purple above. Here is the classic Green Butt Skunk.

Green Butt Skunk |

I don’t know anyone who ties steelhead flies one day and Zebra midges the next! 

Well, I better get back to the vise.

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

And tie a fly or two!

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  1. John
    I’m a new follower and am enjoying your tys. I’m with you, three at a time, a steelhead fly one minute and a midge the next. Love the brightness of the Shewey Spawning Purple.. I try to do the same in my Blue Max (canyon)

  2. Great blog on tying a diverse range of flies John. I couldn’t agree more. I feel the same way about leaders: no one leader can fulfill the multitude of casting and type of fishing requirements.

    p.s., your 11’ 4X and 6X leaders will be in the mail Monday



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