Today was time to learn to tie flies! In session #1 we went into the river and collected lots of specimens, so the students had a very good idea of what lives in the river. We started off talking about what trout eat, about sizes and colors of the bugs. We had enough volunteers to almost have a one-on-one ratio of instructors to students. But, as this is an discovery-based program, we did not want grownups to teach the students specific patterns.

Instead, the students were shown how to use the tools, how to insert the hook into the vise, how to get the thread started, and off they went. Most ended up tying a variety of Wooly Bugger type flies, and Zebra Midges, and San Juan worms. Some students looked at the photos we took at the first session and noticed the tails, the wings, etc.

Some very innovative and creative flies were created today — some, but not all, are pictures below. Note the long gold tinsel leading to an egg, with a small hook dangling far off :)

The students took vises, tools, and a big baggie of materials home to tie more flies.

Fun session, and I can’t wait for next week — we will go fishing, and all the students will use their own flies! There are never any guarantees, but the flies look good and I expect so do our chances.

This year, like in 2014, we had the opportunity to spend a few fun days with the veterans from the Project Healing Waters. There were nine veterans who came to fish with us this year, and despite challenging conditions I think we all had a good time. Challenging conditions: although the famous caddis hatch had started, it hadn’t moved too far north yet. Cold weather, rain, and rising off-color river made fishing more challenging. Thankfully we could fish a private pond with big rainbows (thank you Mr and Mrs Kelly!). Then again, one group went north of Granite and had an all day BWO hatch — from 10:30am until they left around 3pm!