Baits, Lures & Flies photo

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Baits, Lures & Flies photo


The price of fly tying materials can be pretty steep. So the frugal angler must be resourceful.

For example, last fall I watched a drake mallard make the mistake of flying too low and too slow in front of a UPS truck. The result was street pizza (of the non-edible variety)… but I got a good Ziploc baggie full of chest feathers, which now make great dry fly wings. Squirrels are fairly abundant roadside casualties where I live in Colorado. We have some black squirrels, whose tails make fine nymph dubbing… but you have to be quicker than the ravens, crows, foxes, and coyotes to get a really good specimen.

Domestic pets make great fly materials also. I have two dogs and a cat… the best fly tying resource of the lot is my Vizsla, named “Reba” shown here because she’s a neurotic redhead. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Vizslas, they don’t grow enough hair to clip with scissors, but if I rub my hand on Reba’s back (which she never minds), I end up with little red stubble hairs stuck to my fingers. One evening as I was tying flies at the kitchen table, she came over to visit… I rubbed her back… noticed the stubble… just happened to have some 6/0 thread hanging from a hook in the vise and some dubbing wax nearby… and in 10 minutes or so, the “Hungarian Bird Brain” nymph was born. It’s basically pheasant tail with a rough- dubbed fuzzy body, and it actually catches fish. Kinda cool too… a fly that combines the feather of the pheasant, and the fur of the dog that pointed it. But I only tie a couple every year. I wouldn’t want Reba to get too cold.

I wonder what domestic pet would provide the best fly tying material…

And what roadkill is the fly tier’s bonanza?