Dorothy Steinbacher and Heidi Scheifley get behind the fly tying vise at the Sayward Library. Don Daniels photo

Fly tying sessions get everybody pining for summer

By Don Daniels

While driving to Sayward, last week, the highways were in great condition although between the rain and wind I was thinking about the weather for Sunday.

Well, the weather and highway were excellent which was good because I had committed to doing a two-hour fly tying session at the Sayward Library. The venue was just what I was looking for. It has a private activity room and the tables were ideal to set up the fly tying vises and materials. I was ready for Sayward residents to arrive and learn the basic art of playing with materials like feathers deer hair and tinsel.

I was delighted to see a few students and other residents show up so we got started. I do maybe three or four free sessions each year between January and March. It gives me a chance to learn what people are thinking when they want to learn to tie flies and go fishing. These tying sessions attract people of all ages and the idea of sitting down with enthusiastic people is exciting as they learn the basics of fly tying and then advance at their own level. It’s especially fulfilling when they progress to the point where they catch a fish with a fly they have made up.

At the beginning, many of their creations look a bit crude but you have to start somewhere and then get better.

I had set up five tying stations and there was enough feathers and fur to outfit an army. We had the materials to start with a basic streamer fly pattern resembling a Mickey Finn. I then watched as the participants changed colors and re constructed a pattern that they could use in lakes and local rivers.

Heidi, Jocelyn, Tim and Dorothy spent two hours at the vise and they took home their flies and hopefully they will get out and use them this fishing season. I am planning another session in Sayward. The dates have yet to be determined. My next sessions are in Campbell River at the library the last Sunday in February and March starting at 1 p.m. and lasting for two hours.

The nice thing about doing the beginners fly tying lessons is that I get a chance to go through my materials and give it away to beginners. We all know we collect stuff and now it’s time to downsize and help others.

When I got back to Campbell River, I met avid fly angler Graham Kelly and I asked him if he could only have three flies in his possession what would they be. He wrote down Woolly Bugger, Mosquito and Black Bug.

Some of the local rivers have excellent dry fly fishing in early May and the fishing opportunities in this area are endless. If you have a favorite fly pattern let me know email

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