Tag Archives: Fly Tying

March Brown Fly Tying Lesson

Video Available: Steve LaValley starts tying the March Brown.

Master Fly Tyer Steve LaValley taught the March Brown last February at a DRWTU sponsored Beginner Fly Tying Class at the Floodwaters Brewery in Shelburne Falls. Here’s the video:


  • Hook: Size 10
  • Thread: Black 8/0
  • Tail: Moose mane
  • Rib: Flat waxed floss
  • Body: Hares ear Dubbing
  • Hackle: Speckled Brown Hen Hackle
  • Wing: Turkey Quills

Big Fish Eat Tiny Flies

Bob Gancarz will be the featured speaker at our next chapter meeting on March 21 at the Eagles Club in Shelburne Falls.

Gancarz, of Chicopee, is well known and highly regarded in local fishing circles for tying and presenting  tiny midges – down to a #32 hook – to big trout using light-weight rods, thin tippet (down to 10X in winter) and tiny midge imitations that often dominate a trout’s diet.

Gancarz also captures the tiny insects on area rivers, placing them in glass vials filled with alcohol-laced hand sanitizer. This preserves the bugs in a state of suspended animation for clear viewing, so he can easily copy their distinct features up close — which commercial fly tiers often miss —  on his fly-tying vise.  He will bring some of his light rods (down to a custom-made, Triple-0 weight), an assortment of tiny flies he’s made and uses, as well as vials of midges he has caught and copied into his own fly-tying patterns. He will also be giving away his collection of store-bought flies that he no longer uses.

Gancarz, a retired design and industrial engineer, will offer his own tips to successful midge fishing and looks forward to a good dialogue and answering any relevant questions about midges and light-tackle techniques. 

A co-inventor of the AccuTrigger, that he developed for Savage Arms in 2002, Gancarz has been spending his retirement perfecting the fly-fishing skills he first learned as a boy, fishing on the upper Deerfield River in the early 1950’s. 

The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 21st upstairs at the Eagles Club, 52 State Street, Shelburne Falls, MA starting at 6:30 pm. The public is welcome to attend. 

Flies, Pies, and Lies

Flies, Pies and Lies a big success, no lie!

Update: The event was a big success – drawing in scores of fly tyers, young and old, beginner to expert. Three participants joined TU as new members. Dozens of flies were donated to DRWTU for the raffle/auction at the annual meeting. There were fish stories in abundance – many of them seemingly true! Pizza and refreshments, also in abundance, were top-notch. If you missed it, be sure to join us next year. For a taste of fly tying come early (5:30) to one of our DRWTU meetings every third Thursday at the Eagles Club in Buckland, or join the tyers who gather Saturday mornings at 10:00 at the Deerfield Fly Shop. Thanks to Mike Didonna at the Deerfield Fly Shop for hosting the event and to Sean Bresnahan for organizing.

Original Post: Join us for some fun at the Deerfield Fly Shop and Deerfield Fly Shop Annex on Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 10 to 4. We’ll be tying flies, eating pizza pies, and telling fish stories. All are welcome. The entry fee of $20.00 gets you admission to the event, pizza and other refreshments, and a raffle ticket. This event is open to non-members as well as members. Bring your friends! There will be a wide range of fly tiers, from beginners to experts. Extra vises, tools and materials will be available, so plan to be there even if you’ve never tied a fly and have no equipment. DRWTU members are very generous about sharing their skills and introducing new tiers to the art. Think of it as making tiny sculptures for the appreciative eye of a fish! No advance registration required – just show up at the Deerfield Fly Shop. Come by at any time, and leave any time – you do not need to be present for the raffle. Besides telling amazing but true 😉 fish stories, we would happy to share information about the chapter’s conservation efforts and progress with the spawning study on the Deerfield.

Best Dry Fly Ever

As a featured guest speaker at our October 2017 meeting, Bob Gancarz talked about using small flies.  Now he’s been generous enough to share his fly tying recipe for a midge pattern which he says is ‘The Best Dry Fly Ever’!

The Speck Fly midge pattern. Courtesy of Bob Gancarz.

Well, here it is. The Tiny Black Speck. The diagram shows how to tie it. I can’t say enough about this fly. First of all, I feel like I am letting the cat out of the bag …..but for our TU chapter members it’s worth it. They are a great group, and they WILL catch rising trout anywhere and all year long with this fly. This fly has caught some huge Browns for me on the Farmington River ….. even during a Hendrickson hatch with a size 24! Strange, but true. I started tying this fly when I started fly fishing. I tied it because it was easy to do. Over time, I made a few minor improvements to it. I noticed, time and time again, that I caught more trout with this simple fly than any of the other flies I carried. It has become my favorite. Of course you have to present it correctly, just like any other fly, or you won’t get the hits. Let’s start …….

MATERIALS. Hook: Scud size 18 thru 32, Thread: 8/0 black, Glue/cement: Any good grade head cement will do. I use Hard as Hull.

DIAGRAM #1. You can use hook sizes #18 down to #32 ….all tied the same way. The thread body can be made long and narrower on sizes 18 thru 22 ….to imitate a Dark Caddis, or football shaped like a Simuliam (black fly) for sizes 24 thru 32. The body is just thread, it should sink just under the film and the CDC feathers will be above the film.

DIAGRAM #2. Gather up a small amount of CDC feathers. You can use natural dun, dark or light dun. Sparse is BETTER for this pattern. Remember, it is supposed to be the wings of a fly, not a big dark clump above the body.

DIAGRAM #3. Place the ends on top and onto the small drop of cement. You need the glue to keep the feathers intact for a long time ….especially during hook removal of tiny hooks.

DIAGRAM #4. Cover up the ends of the feathers with thread in order to make the head. Tie off and spread a little cement to the head and underside to make it durable. Now put it aside to dry. If you rush, the feathers might pull out during the next step.

DIAGRAM #5. Push the feathers forward to bend them. They will make the next step easier to do, and they will eventually lay down a little over the body just like a real bug.

DIAGRAM #6. This is the most important step. Trim the feathers like the dashed lines show. I leave them just a little on the long side to start, because they can always be trimmed on the water as conditions require. If the fish take the fly with more feather, then great. It will float better and you can see it much easier. Remember SPARSE is usually better. More times than not, the fly will need to be trimmed a little when on the water to get the hits. To make it sparser, trim the feathers on the approximate angle noted by the dashed lines, shortening the feathers toward the hook eye. You’ll know when you did it right because the trout will start to take it. This trimming thing is very easy once you do it a couple of times.

NOTES …………………. It is a good idea (for any CDC dry fly) to wet the CDC feathers before you make your first cast. I usually dip my fingers into the water and squeeze the feathers a couple of times. Wetting first will allow the CDC powder to stick to the feathers much better and the fly will float for a longer time. The BEST way to apply the powder to ANY emerger fly is to hold the fly between your fingers exposing the feathers ONLY. In this way the powder doesn’t get on the body. You want the body to be below the film and the feathers on top. To save CDC powder, trim the applicator brush to about an eighth of an inch. Stroke the CDC feathers forward, towards the front of the fly. This fluffs up the fly real good.