Photo Courtesy: Brad Sprinkle
It has been a cold and very disagreeable weathered winter so far. I personally fished 3 part day trips in December. This is a different scenario than the last few years. There's cold and then there's frozen river cold. Streams have been choked with ice a lot of days. The 'shake nastiness' creep in and you start muttering or just maybe you use the time for some good .
Those that tie flies have the two options for their time. One is to fill in the blank spots in the 'go to' boxes. These are the boxes that we carry out with flies that illicit confidence. Flies we have used in the past with success and we will often return to.
As we tie the 'old stand-bys' a few things to think about. Knowing that we use these a lot tie them in sufficient quantities while the snow and cold rustle around outside. Some of these classic such as Woolly Buggers, Gold Ribbed Hairs Ears, Pheasant Tails, Adams, and Elk Hair Caddis work just about everywhere reasonably well. They aren't hard to tie for the most part. Just remember how they were the fuel for great trips and many wonderful memories with more to come.
Another thing to remember on tying the 'go to' flies is tie them in several sizes. Sometimes a size 16 Hares Ear is the ticket over the same fly in maybe 12. And other times exactly the opposite maybe.
The Second type of tying is the experimental stuff. Patterns a friend gave you or something you saw in a magazine article. These flies may become 'go to' flies or just exercises to see if you can successfully tie them. The internet is a great place to begin looking for some thing to tie different. I personally use YouTube.com as a resource to find new patterns as well as techniques.
Tying new patterns to your bench helps you grow as a tier and helps you see how materials that are new to you maybe added to the fly patterns in the 'go to' box.
What ever you do tying is a wonderful way to stay close to fly fishing when you can't be there.