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garybrower 09-05-2013 05:43 PM

Where to begin in CO?
I'm an incredibly raw newbie, although I do have a pretty good set of tools. I know that the standard advice to someone like me is "take a class". And I will . . . when they start getting offered (i.e., when people stop fishing and start tying). In the meantime, I'd like to try to get my hands busy.

My strategy has been to identify the top ten flies (suggested) for the Front Range of Colorado. I've queried lots of shops/sources and have the list. My question is which would be the best one to start learning on? I can find books and videos for all of them.

What do the learned tiers on this forum think? (The number in parentheses indicates the number of "votes" for most necessary fly in the region)

Parachute Adams (7)
Mercury Pheasant-tail (6)
RS2 (5)
Elk Hair Caddis (5)
BWO (Comparadun) (4)
Mercury Black Beauty (4)
San Juan Worm (4)
Bead Head Prince (4)
Copper John (4)
Woolly Bugger (4)



torr8966 09-05-2013 06:32 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
Rs2 I've killed the Big Thompson this summer with it!! Good luck!!

williamhj 09-05-2013 06:44 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
There is learning to tie and then learning to tie particular patterns.

A lot of the flies I fish in Colorado are rather small so learning to tie those patterns would be a tough place to start. Before moving on to tying 16 and smaller it is good to learn larger patterns that will let you work on things like thread tension and control, how to tie material onto the hook shank and have it where you want it, wrapping material and dubbing, proportions of the fly, wrapping and tying off hackle, etc etc. For that I vote for flies like the wooly bugger since it'll catch fish, is larger, and isn't too complicated.

Other good and useful patterns to start with might be foam beetles, the san juan worm, pheasant tail and hare's ear nymphs in beadhead and non-beadhead, elk hair caddis, and perhaps parachute adams/hare's ear, all in sizes 14 and 12. A stimulator is a great, larger pattern as well, but involves more materials.

Before moving to smaller patterns like BWO, rs2, and other small nymphs and dries learn that basics on the larger patterns. It's a fun hobby :)

mcnerney 09-05-2013 06:56 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
Gary: Get yourself a copy of Charlie Graven's book, Basic Fly Tying, it is the best I have seen.
Also check out Charlie's Fly Box, he lists 180 patterns for Colorado, and they are all step-by-step, so once you have the basics down they are an excellent reference.
Charlie's FlyBox - Colorado's Best FlyShop and online Fly Tying Tutorials

If you live close to Denver, take lessons from Charlies Fly Shop you won't regret it.


flytire 09-06-2013 04:28 AM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
learning techniques is more important than learning recipes. at least it is to me

get the book above and take lessons from charlie craven if you can

another book to get is the flytires benchside reference. $63 + or - on amazon

heres some other flies that are very good for the front range in CO

Normand Frechette flies

calftail 09-06-2013 12:56 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
Not very learnt here, but a vintage front ranger who thinks the "region" has missed a few good ones.....there are others but here is a start that come to mind...

HW Rio Grande King
Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear
White Winged-Black spinner
Miracle Nymph
Olive Grizzly Matuka
Royal Coachman Wet
Black Ant
Brooks Stone Fly nymph

No.1 fly for me is the #14 HW Rio Grande King. I fish it dry from April to December.

....and let me point out that the fly is a small part of the is the "cast" that will catch you the fish !

chased 09-06-2013 10:29 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
If near Ft. Collins check out St. Peters fly shop. They are a wealth of knowledge on the area.

garybrower 09-07-2013 07:56 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
Thanks to all of you! Great suggestions! Much appreciated! :):)

trout champ 09-09-2013 11:06 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?
Eggs and worms
Pheasant tails
Elk Hair Caddis
BWO/Adams dries
Trico spinners
Woolly Buggers
Anything by John Barr or Charlie Craven, both Colorado boys...


brucerducer 09-19-2013 08:21 PM

Re: Where to begin in CO?

The High Plains Drifters Flyfishing Club in Colorado has two kinds of clinics / Fly Tying Classes.

One kind is Free where you show up and everyone is friendly and ties what they feel like. ..., and the other kind costs $10.00 where they teach you to tie specific flies. on a certain night.

They are really nice people, and their website gives the dates for those events and the location.

When I went there, I thought they would be a bunch of "Hoity-Toity" Snobs; but they are not.
They are very nice people, some of the nicest I have ever found in a group of any kind.
Everybody helped me, and they let me tie on their vises and everything.

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