Category Archives: Fly of the Month

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

Fly Tying for Beginners/Novices

Learn to tie flies like this soft hackle.

Free to DRWTU members! Beginning/Novice Fly Tying Course to be held 6:30-8:30 Wednesday nights at the Floodwaters Brewery at 40 State Street; Shelburne Falls MA. Classes will be held from January 22 – February 12, 2020. Floodwaters is on the Buckland side, just upstream from the Bridge of Flowers and West End Pub and downstream from the Eagles (where we meet every third Thursday for our chapter meeting). If you have a vise bring it, but if you don’t we’ll provide one for you to use. All materials And tools will be provided but please bring your own tools if you’ve got ‘em. Note: At the final class one lucky participant will take home a Regal Vise donated by Don Barnes!

The course will be taught by DRWTU member Steve LaValley, who has taught fly tying to hundreds of individuals over the course of his 30 year career as a commercial fly tier. He has been a featured tier at several regional fly fishing shows. He will be assisted by other DRWTU chapter members including Mike Didonna, Chris Jackson, Jack Shea, Eric Halloran, Kevin Parsons and Randy Prostak.

The chapter is grateful for the use of the Floodwaters Brewery space as the venue for this course. Thanks to Floodwaters owner and DRWTU member, Zack Livingston, who brews some great beer and has been very generous to the DRWTU chapter.

If you are not a member of DRWTU you can still participate in the course. The course fee of $35.00 will cover the cost of materials for the four week course. Alternatively, you can join DRWTU at the special rate of $17.50 for new members and get the course for free.

Register by sending an email to You can sign up for membership at the new member rate ($17.50) here. Or just show up at Floodwaters Brewery on January 22 at 6:30 with cash or check.

Tip of the Month: Bob’s Leader

We launch another round of the Fly Tip of the Month with a valuable contribution from Bob Gancarz. The tip of your fly line rig that is – Bob’s Leader Formula. I apologize for not posting this sooner. Build your own leader according to Bob’s specifications in the drawings below.

Tip of the Month: I am posting a leader formula that Bob Gancarz shared with us during his presentation ‘Big Trout Eat Tiny Flies’ at our Chapter meeting in March.
Bob Gancarz torques on a 0 wt custom fly rod during his presentation Big Trout on Tiny Flies in March, 2019.
Bob demonstrates the shock absorbing properties of a 0 weight fly rod.

Click here to see the Tiny Fly Tying Tutorial Bob provided to the Chapter.

Hot Fly

At this month’s DRWTU Chapter meeting, Bob Gancarz shared his extensive repertoire of strategies and techniques for catching Big Fish with Tiny Flies. He was very generous with the members in attendance handing out hundreds of flies via a raffle. He was so very generous in sharing this pattern for a midge dry fly imitation. This is the hand-drawn instruction sheet and it is broken down by step below.

Bob’s Handout
The Hot Fly by Bob Gancarz

February Fly of the Month: North Country Spider

Thanks to John Shaner for graciously providing an instructional article for tying and fishing North Country Spider flies.  These wingless wet flies are relatively easy to tie and are almost guaranteed to provide exciting times on the river.  There is nothing like the adrenalin rush of a hard take on a wet fly very often accompanied by a simultaneous explosion at the surface.

Click below to access John Shaner’s comprehensive guide.

Spider Fly Resources 2017 Updated-PK2

January Fly of the Month – X Caddis

The X Caddis is an easy-to-tie dry fly that is buoyant enough to support the nymph of your choice in a dry/dropper rig.  Thanks to guest fly tier Jay Aylward, The Homemade Angler,  for demonstrating the tie.  The recipe for the fly and variation follows:

X-Caddis (brown):
Standard dry fly hook
6/0 brown thread
carded or spooled antron brown
bleached or natural elk hair

Jay’s variation: The  Ex-Caddis Egg Layer:
standard dry fly hook
6/0 thread
carded or spooled antron
ice dub or antron dub bright green
bleached or natural elk hair
barred medium rubber legs

About Jay Aylward:

Jay Aylward of The Handmade Angler is a custom fly tier and field ecologist. Captivated by flowing waters. Inspired by Schwiebert, Whitlock, and Waller. Trained by: Brookies, Browns, Bows, Bulls, and Cutties. Tempered by spring snows, summer thunder storms, and fall frosts.

#handmadeangler #aylsflies #splatpopgulp #batmantiesbugs

Guest Fly Tier off the month, Jay Aylward.

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.