The Stream Explorers program is offered in partnership with Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA). Big thanks go to ArkAnglers fly shop for helping us out with scissors, threaders, fly boxes, and hooks!

Today’s session was the third in the cycle, and fly tying was the focus. Most fly tying classes revolve around learning particular patterns (recipes), and we did not want to follow that model. The students are too creative to follow the same set of instructions all the time. Instead, we wanted to teach the students the basic techniques, how to tie in a tail, abdomen, thorax, legs. To do that we did follow a general recipe, the one for a wooly booger fly.

But first we set up a bunch of round tables, with three vises at each. Along with each vise we laid out the tools: a bobbin, scissors, threaders, and hackle pliers. We had piles of materials, a big box of thread/tinsel/etc, and lots of hooks. We had enough volunteers/instructors today so that there were more than one adult to each table.

Each student started by tying three wooly buggers, all in #8-12 size range. After that, we let them tie whatever they wanted. We tied a few red zebra midges and a pheasant tail, and related those to the aquatic insects we found in session 1. It was a bit chaotic, but mostly controlled and the students seemed to have a great time.

At the end, each student took a vise + tools + whatever materials they wanted — they are to tie some flies during the week, and we’ll fish with them at session 4!

Thank you to today’s volunteers: Keith Krebs, Dominique Naccarato, Mike Perry, Fred Rasmussen, Wendell Winger, and Alihah Trujillo.

Note to parents: ArkAnglers stocks very nice fly tying kits for beginners, with all the basic tools and materials.