Missoula Fishing Report

Time To Tie. And How To Do It.

Its that time of the year again. Time to refill the boxes and get ready for another year of fishing.


While it may seem like a pain in the ass task. It can be an awesome time to look through your boxes, fly cups, boat bag, and everywhere else that flies seem to end up. See what bugs you used the most this year. See what bugs you didn’t use at all this year. And what bugs you need to tie. Use that process as a tool.

It’s always a gamble tying in January. Will we have high water? Low water? Lots of stoneflies? Will I need a lot of small droppers? The questions go on and on. The good news is that if you tie them, you will have them.

You know when a fly is worth the most? When it’s the only one the fish are eating, and you don’t have one…

If you are like me and have to mentally prepare for the task of winter tying, start out simple. Refill the worm box, the rubber legs, and the big fluffy dry flies. No need to jump right into the trico or still born crippled pull over thorax BWO.

Take Breaks! Tie a dozen, or 6 or 2. However many you can handle. Then get up, play Call of Duty, Drink a beer, or scroll through your Instagram feed, again. Whatever you need to not get bored, keeps your head in the game and more flies in your boxes come spring.

Don’t get Skwala blinders on. Remember there are lots of bugs that happen after skwalas. Don’t forget to tie those too.

Get in a rhythm. I find that I tie most effectively when things are rolling along smoothly. That means get set up correctly. If you want to tie 3 dozen Goldens when you sit down at your bench, then set yourself up for success. Cut the Legs, The Wings, The Bodies, get the hook out, make its as systematic as you can. The new fly pile will grow quickly when you have a system and a plan.

Listen to good tunes. For some people tying is like a meditation. For me it is a chore. That’s just who I am. I need tunes to get through it. Time to listen to something new or a favorite. T.I. , Jam Bands, 90’s alternative, and dub step are the Pandora stations that do it for me.

Fly Tying can be social. If you want it to be. Some of you are certifiably crazy when it comes to how serious you are about your patterns. That’s fine, you can stay in your tying dungeon and not let anyone see them. For the rest of us normal people, a great way to learn and evolve as a fly tyer is to get together and tie with other people. A general life rule is that if you surround yourself with people who are better at something than you, you will most likely learn from them and get better. That rule is king in fly tying. So have tying night with your buddies, take a MAngler tying class, or at least nerd out online. You will get better because of it.

YouTube is your best friend. About three years ago we donated all of our fly tying books to the Library. we don’t carry them in the shop anymore. Why? Because Youtube is such an incredible resource that tying books are now obsolete. Watch, Pause, Rewatch, Learn. Faster and Easier. Use YouTube. We all do it. You should To.

Last and most important, Have fun and Relax. Nothing is fun if you take yourself too seriously. (Remember you are using feathers, foam, and fur, to fool a fish. Let that sink in)

If you guys have any tips on how to make winter tying easier let us know on our facebook page!

-The MAngler

…Because you fish

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