Those feathers are great for tying. The wood duck flank feathers are in demand for dry fly wings, especially the “lemon” colored ones and the barred black and white. Tyers also use flank feathers from other ducks (mallard, gadwall etc) and matched pairs of wings for dry fly and wet fly wings (you cut slips from left and right feathers to get matching wings), the bronze shoulder feathers of mallards are also in demand, and I’m sure there’s lots of stuff on a mergansers that could be used though I’ve never used any. Not sure what laws (if any) might apply to selling them (migratory bird act). But they can be “gifted” for sure. And of course all kinds of other stuff- turkey, pheasant, quail, starling and anything with hair are great too---- the catch is they have to be bug free, but there are a variety of methods to ensure that.
As far as the weight of your rod, it should be listed on the blank above the grip. The reason knowing that is important is to help in determining the upper limit of the size of flies you can comfortable throw. Throwing a size 2 with an 8 weight should be no problem. Trying to throw it with a 4 weight would be a long day on the water.
Let us know what you have, but assuming it’s something like a 6 weight…
To get started, I’d order from one of the discount fly shops on line, especially if you don’t have fly shops in your area. Flies in shops will be more expensive, but you’re likely to get great advice and help. The flies will likely be of better quality too.
As far as discount places, there are a number of them. I’ve used Big Y. Their flies are decent – close to what you find online from the big box stores, but less expensive. And they have superfast shipping so you should be set to go in short order.
Using these guys as an example:
Big Y Fly Co. Premium Discount Fishing Flies, trout flies,
After just a quick browse, it looks like you could get a pretty good selection of different things for both bass and panfish. Just as an example, here’s a bunch of stuff for around 20 bucks that would cover a lot of different situations for both:
Sneaky Pete size 6, 1 @ 2.29
Swimmin’ Jimmy (whatever size) 1 @ .85
Dahlberg Diver (Black) (whatever size) 1@ 1.29
Beadhead Flash Bugger size 6, 2 @ .74 each
Bead Head Woolly Bugger (mix up sizes and colors) 6 @ .69 each
Conehead Autumn Splendor size 6, 1 @ .69
Clouser Marabou Muddler size 10 1 @ .74
Marabou Muddler (one yellow and one black) size 6, 2 @ .69 each
Under “Bead Heads”
Bead Head Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph size 10, 2 @ .65 each
Bead Head Hare’s Ear (Natural) size 12, 2 # .60 each
Under “Dry Flies”
Royal Wulff size 12, 2 @ .59 each
Humpy size 10, 2 @ .59 each
Giant Foam Salmon Fly (for twitching along the surface for bass) size 4 or 6, 2 @ .75 each .
This should end up being about 25 flies for about 20 bucks, and is a bunch of different stuff for panfish (smaller stuff size 10-12) and bass (bigger stuff ).
Another discount fly shop is Fly Fishing Flies, Dry Flies, Nymphs, Streamers - Blue Fly Cafe
Other folks from the board have used them and have been happy and I’m sure there are others.
They don’t seem to sell a lot of poppers, but you could add some up at some point for bluegills size 10 or 12, and some bigger ones for bass size 6 if you have something like a 6 weight (or larger if you have an 8 weight you could throw size 2)
And let us know where you are. Some folks on the board may be nearby and could recommend shops, fly clubs or whatever to get you off to a good start.