opus manuum – handycraft. Doing things with your hands. Bringing imagination to life. Imagination is the key. Without it you can not create. You have to have an idea in your head – long planned or rather spontaneous to create something.

Fly tying is bringing an amazing amount of imagination to life. An imitation of life if you so will. This takes technical skills which can be learned. Don´t be afraid. It is not that hard, but very very rewarding on many levels.

The most obvious reward is that you´ll be catching fish with your creations. I am sure you will. The other is the very process itself. Making things with your hand is very cool. Looking at your „finished product“ fills you with pride. It should. Even Paul does it.

On the next pages I explain the techniques used for tying flies. Once learned, the basics you should be able to tie pretty much any pattern. The techniques are pretty similar for all sorts of flies.

about this manual

The articles/lesson are arranged in such a fashion that the beginner fly tier should start with the first page (the uppermost in the list) and than work his / her way through to the end of the list.

Once you have been through the 20something pages you should be able to tie most of the flies which are presented during the course – and out there. The basic principles are very similar and once you have mastered them, no pattern is difficult any more.

Furthermore there is a FlyTying section in the “blog” part of These entries are also searchable and tagged with material and techniques, so you can find related patterns easily.

My goal with the website´s design was to make it informative and interactive. All pages of the FlyTyingSchool do have a comment file below. This is to ask questions and simply interact. To not have this  be spam ladden and unfocused I installed a password protection for the FlyTyingSchool. Not that the content taught there is so very super secret and whatnot – that type of information is ready available elsewhere too, but I wanted to create a place to communicate.

fly recipe rating system

Matt Klara wrote a very nice article about rating flies on sexyloops called Matt’s Fly Tying Complexity Rating

We discussed the idea on the board and the result is a combined rating of skill level and complexity.

Skille level is indicated with the letter A, B and C. A being “pro level” and C the beginner stage, which leaves B for intermediate.

The number behind indicates the number of “modules” the fly has.


Hare Emerger – (2) hare dubbing for body, artic hare foot´s hair (try to say that after a pint – that would make that a 3)

Real Caddis Larva (8) ledfoil underbody, filo plume for tail, nymphskin for body, ostrich herl for breathers, pheasant tail fibres for legs, use of two bobbins, UV glue, marker pen

These number should help to fidn through the recipes and pick the ones fitting one skill level and comfort zone and minimize frustration. However, this has nothing to do with how well a fly catches.

More often than not the complexity rating is inversely proportional to the catch index. “unknown”

password required

The articles of this tutorial are password protected. No worries, it will not cost anything to access the pages. Reason is that I installed a comments field under the articles. I do not want that whoever & anybody can comment and read the comments / questions. So I restricted the access to really interested people.

Just enter your email in the box below and the password will be sent to you auto-magically (remember to hit “subscribe”).  Please  send me a note directly at, should the web server not work.

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Should you need help you can of course get in contact with me. I have taught the subject for some years and since Skype, FaceTime & Facebook the world is not too big any more.

Welcome to the fantastic world of tying flies and fishing with them.