Fly-Tying Materials

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High-Quality Fly-Tying Materials for Realistic Patterns

Orvis offers top-quality fly-tying materials, from bass bug spinning hair and strung marabou to body segments and tungsten beads. The best fly-tying materials are essential for dressers to create lifelike patterns fish can’t resist.

Our collection includes options for tyers of all abilities. Browse our fly-tying materials to find exactly what you need to tie a variety of freshwater dry flies and nymphs. Our selection of brass and tungsten beads allows you to add weight and color easily to standard trout patterns and small streamers. Available in several sizes and colors, our beads help you create exciting new fly patterns that attract more fish. For anglers who prefer their nymph patterns with a little more weight, our tungsten beads are twice as heavy as brass beads and heavier still than lead, allowing your flies to get down into the feeding zone quickly. Start creating more realistic nymph bodies with our colorful variety of Ultra Wire; its flexibility and strength make tying midges and nymphs a whole lot easier. A fine-gauge coated copper wire is perfect for adding bodies to innovative patterns like the Copper John and other prospecting nymphs.

To easily achieve a more realistic buggy effect, explore our collection of natural blended dubbing. Our natural dubbing is much easier to work with compared to other synthetic materials, and it’s essential for adding life to nymphs and buoyancy to dries. Take your fly tying one step further by adding silicone legs to nymph patterns and large dry flies—they’re a superb option for creating nymphs, foam dry fly patterns, poppers, and crab flies. Made from 100% silicone, these tying legs will not degrade when exposed to UV light.

Bring life to your favorite nymphs and streamers with chenille in a variety of colors and styles, perfect for creating steelhead flies as well as streamers. Our premium fly-tying feathers and synthetics are ideal for creating Spey flies, streamers, and saltwater patterns. Our bucktails are meticulously dyed, never greasy, and make an excellent choice for tying all types of streamers and saltwater fly patterns. Add realistic strike-inducing motion to your baitfish flies with our assortment of EP Fibers. A must-have material for saltwater flies, these fibers provide flash, sparkle, and semi-translucence. EP Fibers are incredibly lightweight and add maximum fish-attracting motion to all saltwater flies.

In synthetics we also offer Z-Lon, CCT Body Fur to tie Game Changers, Sparkle Hair, Steve Farrar’s Flash Blend, Ice Dub, Flashabou, and Krystal Flash, among others. Our premium-grade marabou feathers are an essential material for adding lifelike movement to your baitfish imitations. Best used for tying saltwater flies and streamers, our marabou is available in several colors and will absolutely give your flies the action you need to net more fish. Get your baitfish patterns in the strike zone faster with our selection of coneheads and fish skulls. The fish skull is a weighted head with a realistic baitfish profile and is specifically designed for tying innovative freshwater and saltwater streamer patterns. Explore our entire collection of fly-tying materials and find exactly what you need to create innovative, high-quality fresh- and saltwater fly patterns.

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials do you need to tie flies?

Basic fly-tying materials include hooks, thread, dubbing, tungsten beads, deer and elk hair, feathers, marabou, hackle, tailing wire, fly wire, head cement, and dubbing wax. Keep in mind that these are your essential starter fly-tying materials to cook up standard recipes for top wet flies, dries, and nymphs. If you’re getting serious about tying flies, you’ll need foam for terrestrial patterns, flash or tinsel, soft hackle, body parts, eyes, floss, and varying thread sizes, colors, and weights.

What is the best fly tying thread?

The best fly-tying thread for smaller flies is 8/0 (eight aught) or 70 denier, and 3/0 (three aught) or 210 denier for larger flies. You’ll find the best-quality fly-tying thread in this collection, whether you’re cooking up tiny midges or larger streamer patterns.

Can I use sewing thread for fly tying?

While sewing thread may make affordable and useful practice thread while you’re getting used to the intricacies of fly tying, we do not recommend using it for flies you intend to fish. Sewing thread is not durable enough. It rots quickly and usually breaks away after only a few uses.

What feathers are best for fly tying?

The best feathers for fly tying are high-quality, natural-looking feathers that will give your patterns a lifelike look. The type of feather you use depends on the pattern. Flowy ostrich marabou creates movement for effective wet flies, but you’ll want to use buoyant, fluffy cul-de-canard feathers for emergers, dry flies, and nymphs. Similarly, stiffer center tail pheasant feathers work great to dress up salmon or steelhead flies. There are several types of feathers used in fly tying, and each is the best for its specific purpose.

Can you use any feathers in fly tying?

You can use many types of feathers in fly tying, but a “feather is a feather” philosophy won’t work. Feathers are not automatically interchangeable. Specific types of feathers create specific types of looks and movements on a fly, so you can’t achieve the same effect with a blue jay feather you found in the yard as you can with a peacock quill or barred marabou.

What size beads do I need for fly tying?

Once you know your pattern, you’ll know what hook size you need, which dictates the bead size. The bead size needs to match the hook size, and there are differences between cyclops (countersunk) beads, slotted tungsten beads, and cones. For example, on a #10 hook, you’ll need a 3.3mm countersunk bead but a 4.6mm bead if you’re using slotted tungsten. We keep a hook-to-bead size chart handy because trying to memorize which types of beads go with which types of hooks can be frustrating if you’re tying several different-sized patterns.

How do you choose the right material for a particular fly pattern?

For natural materials like feathers and hair, as well as thread, hooks, and beads, you should always purchase your fly-tying materials from a fly shop or fly-tying materials retailer. There can be a great difference in caliber of these materials, and those sold by fly shops are selected for their fly-tying quality. Many fly tyers will recommend going a step further and hand-selecting your materials at a fly shop in person. This way, you know the materials will meet your needs. Synthetic materials can vary in quality too, but tyers are often less choosy about selecting some synthetics. The benefit of buying synthetic materials from a fly shop is that the sizes, colors, flexibility, durability, and other important properties will be pre-selected for use in fly tying.