The Ideal Fly Pattern

By Guy Turck •  Updated: 11/06/22 •  2 min read

A Fly Tying Philosophy & Style For The Best Fly Patterns

In the world of fly tying, a little dialog has taken place regarding developing a philosophy for designing and tying fly patterns. We want fly patterns that work…period. Therefore, the discussion leans heavily towards the pragmatic how-to aspects of assembling a fly. While certainly necessary, moving beyond the mere how-to and adhering to a well-considered philosophy can help focus your creativity while avoiding unproductive tangents.

Over the years, I’ve developed a philosophy about fly tying which I hope you’ll find interesting and useful.

The Ideal Fly In Order Of Most Important To Least Important:

  1. effective
  2. durable
  3. easy to tie
  4. inexpensive

Many great fly patterns meet only two or three of these criteria, but the closer you come to the ideal, the better. A fly pattern that is very effective but at the same time, expensive, difficult to tie, and fragile would not, in my opinion, be a great pattern despite it’s productivity.

Regarding the style of flies, I design I have one overriding concern, whether it be a dry fly or streamer (and even nymphs and wets, though to a much lesser extent).

Whenever possible, I like to see my fly!

This is particularly important when fishing fast, broken surfaced freestoners, though less critical in glassy spring creek-like conditions. Though it is not necessary to see your fly at all times, most anglers enjoy a highly visible fly, and I believe it results in more trout sighted and landed.

Furthermore, I contend that there is almost always a way to make any given, and hard-to-see, fly pattern more visible without harming its effectiveness, and this is something I strive for in my designs and tying.