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RedQuill27November 7th, 2009, 3:55 am

Posts: 13
Where do most of you guys get your material? From online or your local Fly Shops. I usually get it off the web from Stone River Outfitters.
Fishing is like sex, when its good its great, and when its bad its still pretty good.
Aaron7_8November 7th, 2009, 8:03 am
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
On a related note. I am thinking about starting tying. What is a good way to go about starting this new hobby/insanity? Any help or advice would be appreciated.
JADNovember 9th, 2009, 7:08 am
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
Try to find a old geezer like me in your area . They will probably help and end up giving you their extra supplies.
I have a friend, ya I got one, all I have to do is cook this guy dinners in the fishing trailer and he will give me flies and almost anything in materials that I want---He hasn't figured this out Yet, poor fellow.


They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cockís wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
Aaron7_8November 9th, 2009, 7:31 am
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Ha Ha Ha! That just goes to show that there is more than one way to skin a cat or in this case tie a fly.
OldredbarnNovember 9th, 2009, 1:43 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600

Unfortunately it's getting a little more difficult as the years pass to find quality materials without resorting to mail-order or the web. Here in Michigan we have lost so many fly shops and the hands-on thing has faded a bit.

In the past we had some outdoor shops that had been around for a long time. Some of them had fly tying sections and in the older stores it was like a treasure hunt and you never knew what you might find. I have some really odd hooks for example.

I was lucky to have a friend that had been tying for years and he knew what was what. Up around Grayling we used to go in to some of the old shops up there and they had these drawers filled with stuff. My friend would point out deals and tell me what I could use a particular thing for. He picked out some great Indian Necks that I still use. Most folks walked right by them and they were loaded with great hackle tips that make great wings.

Having a buddy to direct you can speed you past fly tying 101 very quickly. We would sit down in his basement with the Wings game on and he would show me a pattern and I was sitting right at the masters elbow. His mom would make us homemade perogi and we would wash it all down with Molson...What fun!

Sometimes, if you have some friends that hunt, you can end up with more than you can use in terms of deer, or bird feathers. I have had customers even bring me in stuff...Just as an aside, it's a good idea to keep the wild stuff segregated from your other material until you know that there isn't any bugs on it that could ruin your whole stash.

Good Luck!


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
RedQuill27November 15th, 2009, 7:05 am

Posts: 13
That's the same thing that has been happening on our side of the pond. I found a couple of Internet only shops and have called and specified the materials that I need. I probably return 2/3's of all the material I order. I know it sounds like I am very particular but I still tie in the Catskill style and finding quality hen capes is a real beast. The only product that I found that is really nice is Whiting Hen Wingers. They are as rare as Hen Teeth. J Stockard is one of the most helpful sites.

Another is Chris Helms in Ohio. He is very helpful and is willing to get almost any product that is out in the market for you. I only wish that I could still go into a Fly Shop and go over a rooster necks to find the best one for me. I really miss those days. I also miss the days when regions had there own style of flies.

Well Tight Lines and Good Tying.

Fishing is like sex, when its good its great, and when its bad its still pretty good.
DryflyNovember 15th, 2009, 2:32 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Well the lack of quality fly shops will be a moot point come December 21st, 2012 ;)

Definitely the interweb for me. The local Gander Mountain has an odd selection of stuff, that you can't rely on. Tmc 3761 size 14 maybe, but we have 20 colors of egg yarn. The nearest steelhead is probably five hundred miles away. I was excited a few years back when the moved across town and opened with an incredible variety of tying hooks for a big box retailer. Well apparently that ship has sailed and I'll have to say farewell to the C49S, 206bl, 900, even my beloved 2488, and the honorable hopper hook the 5212. They're all on clearance. Oh well, back to the interweb.
TwofeathersNovember 15th, 2009, 10:34 pm
Parker CO

Posts: 2
In Denver, we have several shops that still sell quality material. Blue Quill Angler, Charlieís Flybox, Anglers All, Denver Angler, Hook Flyfishing within 20 miles of home and at about 65 miles, Colorado Springs, there is Anglerís Covey and Ghillies Fly Shop. All have good material, hooks, thread, capes, etc..
I like Mustag hooks, but they are getting harder to find locally, so using the internet is necessary. Itís a two edged sword as local shops cannot match internet prices, but you loose the ability to select your material
OldredbarnNovember 16th, 2009, 8:27 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
I second the nod to Chris Helm...He goes above and beyond...

He reminds me of an old guy that we used to have near downtown Detroit, back in the day, called "BSA Bob". He was obsessed with old British motorbikes. He lived in the Cass Corridor near Wayne State U. He had a huge barn/garage in the back alley jammed with old bike parts.

I drove truck for one of the major newspapers here in Detroit to pay my way through Wayne. I used to stop, in the middle of the night, at his place and have a couple beers out on the front porch and pick his brains. I had an old Norton at the time. In his dining room he had dresser drawers filled with files with old clipping from bike magazines from the 60's. What a rare find!

It is very difficult to stump Chris Helms...One of these days I'm going to hike down to Toledo and rummage through his stuff...

Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone is my second favorite fly shop to Gates' Au Sable Lodge. I have never been dissatisfied with anything ordered from BRF. They sent me a piece of comparadun hair that is as big as a washcloth! They sent me a whole pheasant skin that I almost framed. Sometimes with wild birds you see evidence of their life in the wild...This bird from BRF's looked like he never left the spa...I can't find a roughed up feather...When I plucked the first feather from it I winched...I almost didn't want to mess it up!

I know that I'm one of the nostalgic old farts on this web, but a wonderful era has passed I'm afraid. The early days of fly tying. True. Some of the material wasn't as good as it is now. When we were first introduced to genetic hackle it flipped us out. I still haven't totally worked out working with a perfect feather that's almost a foot-and-a-half long! I have a saddle that appears to be uniformly size 16's!

We used to talk about hunting down the ellusive "Blue Dun" like it was the Holy Grail! I have a neck that is so beautiful my tying buddy, who pre-dates my tying by 20 years, said, "You can't tie with this man, you frame it!" It is a perfect slate color that matched a good many mayflies in our neck of the woods.

One Christmas my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her I wanted some chicken necks. She grew up on a farm as a kid in Maryland and looked at me rather oddly. When I told her prices she nearly flipped. I just gave her the number to Gates' told her to get Rusty on the phone, tell him who you are and how much you want to spend...Wonderful!

There were a few years in a row that I couldn't leave his shop without snagging a Hebert neck or saddle...I even snagged some that were marked for "shop use" that were primo! One evening I was down in the basement and my wife stopped to see what I was up to. I couldn't help myself and showed her how beautiful one of those things are...She spotted the price tag and then looked down in to my open hope chest where I store them...The hackle tupperware box was opened and she started to do a mental count and I said, "Oh shit! What have I done?!"

Well. We are still married at least. Probably because she's a seamstress and ran right off to buy some wool material for herself...I've been a tad more careful since then.


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WiflyfisherNovember 16th, 2009, 9:09 am

Posts: 618
I only wish that I could still go into a Fly Shop and go over a rooster necks to find the best one for me.

Have you tried Jim Slattery's fly shop at Campfire Lodge in West Yellowstone for Whiting/Hebert hackles?
John S.
RedQuill27November 16th, 2009, 2:47 pm

Posts: 13

thanks I 'll check that site out.

Tight Lines!
Fishing is like sex, when its good its great, and when its bad its still pretty good.
RedQuill27November 16th, 2009, 2:48 pm

Posts: 13

thanks I 'll check that site out.

Tight Lines!
Fishing is like sex, when its good its great, and when its bad its still pretty good.

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