The Art of Fly Tying
By the Pros at Scot’s Sporting Goods
Having the right equipment and the right flies are a big part of a successful fly fishing outing. At Scot’s, many of our guides are also experienced fly tiers. On any given day, you can see our guides tying flies at our retail store at 870 Moraine Avenue in Estes Park. While many of the flies they tie are established standards such as the Adams Parachute, other flies are specially designed by our pros to catch fish in the waters in and around Estes Park.
We also carry several lines of fly fishing equipment including Sage, Cortland, and St. Croix. We are a CORTLAND CERTIFIED FLY SHOP.
Meet our Pros
Scot's fly tying pros: Austin Condon, Rhonda Ritchie, Carla Anderson, and Suzanne Williams. See their bios below. Nobody does it better!
Experienced fly tiers can tie as many as 12 flies per hour. But the real goal is quality, not quantity. The fly tiers at Scot's are constantly working to replicate the current "bug" hatch in the Estes Park area. This also means changing fly colors depending on the time of year. Early in the season, black and olive are effective colors. Later in the year, flies tied with vibrant colors tend to be more effective.
Bottom line: Scot's is your one stop shop for the best flies and all the accessories.
If you're visiting Estes Park, considering booking one of our guided fly fishing trips. All of the tiers that appear on this page are also highly qualified guides for us.
I taught in Texas for 33 years and retired to my vacation home in Estes Park. I have fished all my life with my grandfather and dad throughout the years. I was introduced to fly fishing more than 20 years ago. After falling in love with the sport, I realized that tying flies was less expensive than buying them. Through the teaching of Jim Hass and Dave Watosky I learned the art of fly tying. In the last few years, Rick Takahashi has also shared his fly tying experiences with me.
After fishing in the Estes Park area for over 25 years, I have developed fly patterns that are highly productive in the area. I guided for Scot’s Sporting Goods for many years in the summer, and I tied thousands of flies during the winter months. Now that I work mainly in the store, I can share my experiences with our valued customers.
Fly tying somehow just seems to go naturally with fly fishing. At some point, about 16 years ago, it became a matter of honor for me to fool a fish with a fly I had tied myself. From there, it became a matter of collecting the recipes of other fly tiers, tying (and trying) the "old favorites.” Every fly tier, and I'm no exception, develops their own style, to the point that the same pattern by different tiers can look a bit different. The natural progression is to develop your own patterns, or re-discover "lost" patterns. I like to use natural materials, though a couple of my favorites do incorporate non-natural materials.
I like to bring patterns from other regions to Estes Park, and they seem to fool enough fish for enough folks to have become locally popular. An example is a pattern originally created for Montana streams, only to become popular in Pennsylvania, then I was introduced to it on the Salt River in Arizona. It is a great stonefly pattern for our local waters. Another was a favored caddis pattern from the Yellowstone region, which has had wonderful effect on our local trout. So, I'm always keeping an eye out for the "next" great fly for the Estes Park region.
I caught my first fish when I was five. It was with a stick and line at my parents’ vacation cottage on Lime Lake in Napanee, Ontario, Canada. We lived in Michigan, but spent summers at Lime Lake fishing for pike and walleye.
In 1978, I came to the YMCA of the Rockies with a youth group. I was blown away by the beauty of the mountains and vowed to move here one day. My dream came true in January of 1984. That spring, I bought my first pair of hiking boots and pack from Scot’s Sporting Goods and put them to good use hiking Rocky Mountain National Park.
The summer Scot and I dated, we hiked and fished the high mountain lakes. I used a spinning rod, a cast-a-bubble, and dry flies. I usually out fished Scot, but he looked better with his beautiful fly cast.
Scot and I were married in 1988 and had our daughter, Madison, in 1992. She caught her first fish at Sprague Lake when she was four. She used an orange asher dry fly and a cast-a-bubble setup.
Scot eventually won me over to fly fishing, and now I am totally obsessed. Catching a fish on fly you’re tied yourself is a real thrill. It’s also the best feedback as to what works best. My rod is always in my car and if I have even an hour, I will stop at a stream, always putting the fish back to play another day.
All of us at Scot’s hope we can help you experience a true Rocky Mountain high by catching a wild trout in one of our beautiful mountain lakes or streams.
I was born in Denver and spent many summers visiting my Grandparents in the Granby, Grand Lake, and RMNP areas. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree in biological sciences. I taught Jr. High Science for 30 years in Texas before retiring to Estes Park. During my summer vacations in Estes Park, I learned to fly fish and tie my own flies. Two Estes valley residents taught me the art of fly tying, Jim Hass and Dave Watosky. Rick Takahashi, an author, teacher and fly tier also contributed to my fly tying skills over the last several years.
I guided for Scot’s Sporting Goods for many years during my summer vacations and used many of the flies that I tied. Fly tying is my hobby during the winter months allowing me to stay in touch with my summer hobby of fly fishing. After tying thousands of flies I am still studying and creating new patterns to match the “bug” hatch in the Estes Park area.