Fly Fishing Flies Stillwater Anglers

A Guide To Fly Fishing Flies That Will Make You A Pro

Knowing how to distinguish between different flies is one of the best parts of fly fishing. And learning how to tie your own flies and land a beautiful trout with your own creation is almost an indescribable feeling. Here we give you a basic overview of the anatomy of fly fishing flies so that you can feel a little bit more like a pro angler.

Anatomy of Fly Fishing Flies That Will Make You Feel Like A Pro

Whether you’re interested in tying flies just as a stress relieving hobby or as a way to become a master angler, we’ve got the overview you’re looking for to get started.

In order to start tying your own fly fishing flies, you should first understand a little bit more about what you’re trying to create.

Dry Flies

In simple terms, dry flies are flies that float. They are made to represent insects that are emerging from the nymph stage and trying to dry their wings to fly away, or in some cases are mature adult insects.


Streamers are flies that are much more noticeable and made to represent minnows, leeches, and other larger creatures that swim under the surface of lakes, rivers, and streams.


Nymphs are flies that are made to look like insects in the nymphal or larvae stage. Insects spend most of their life in this stage, so it goes without saying that this is a great fly to know how to tie.

Basic Fly Tying Tools

There are few basic tools you’ll need before you start tying fly fishing flies. You will need:

  • Fly-Tying Vise
  • Bobbin
  • Hackle Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Bodkin
  • Whip Finisher
  • Hair Stacker
  • Bobbin Threader
  • Hackle Gauge

You will also want to invest in materials to make your fly fishing flies as realistic as possible. Feathers (hackle), deer hair, colored string and wire, and other materials will help turn your flies into the perfect snack for trout. Find all of the tools you need to tie them at The Fly Shop.

Anatomy of Fly Fishing Flies

You have all the materials, and you’re ready to get started. You can either create something from scratch or you can use a fly fishing fly pattern. Patterns will tell you what size hook to use, what type of thread is best, what the tail is made out of, and what the body should include.

Typically a dry fly is made up of a hook, a body, wings, thorax, head, hackle (legs), and a tail. You’ll start by attaching the tail, then creating and attaching the body, then the hackle, and lastly the wings and head.

Streamers are made up of a hook, a ribbed body, tail, long wings, and a smaller head. They can have wrapped wire for weight too.

Nymphs are typically smaller and heavier, with a short tail, a ribbed body, a wing case with legs and thorax, as well as a bead head.

Cabela’s gives a great introduction into the anatomy of a fly and what you might need to build a fly that fish will actually want to eat.  

Now You’re A Pro With Fly Fishing Flies

Now that you have everything you need to know about getting starting with fly fish flies, you can feel more confident about identifying flies on your next outing. Are you an avid fly tying expert? We’d love to know your tips and tricks to make your own flies and what advice you could give to beginners who might just be getting started.

The Fly Shop in Columbus, Mt has everything you need to make amazing fly fishing flies, so feel free to stop by and stock up on all the gear to create some amazing variations. Or if you aren’t really into tying but love to collect, head to the shop and browse through our vast collection of flies and ask us which are our favorites to use on local rivers!