I’m sitting at my fly tying bench staring into space wondering why I’m not furiously cranking out flies. I’m leaving tomorrow for Steamboat Springs where I’ll meet up with some pals from Michigan. We plan to fish in that area for four days. It’s all new water for me, so I guess that’s why I’m thinking I should be tying up a storm. I actually checked with a fly shop in Steamboat Springs to get their ideas on what flies I shouldn't leave home without, but by the time I sorted through and organized my fly boxes I realized that I already had a good supply of many of the patterns.

Just having some of the patterns I’ll need isn't the whole story, though. In the past tying flies has always been a pleasant part of my preparation for an out-of-town fishing trip. I’ll call a fly shop in the area to get their ideas, fool around on the internet a little to see what I can find out and then I sit down and tie flies. Most of the time I end up with a several dozen “secret flies” that don’t catch any more trout than my standard go to fly patterns. But the act of tying those flies always gets me pumped for the trip.

I’m trying something different for this trip, though. Maybe it’s because I’m more confident that I can catch trout with the patterns I have on hand or at least modify them to catch trout. It could also be I’m more confident in my presentations so I don’t need as many “secret flies” and if I do I can always stop by the local fly shop and buy them.

One thing I won’t leave to chance is making sure I have a supply of Pheasant Tail and Hare’s Ear based fly patterns. Those are the only fly patterns I tied today and that was mostly to replenish my fly box because I always carry them and they always catch trout. If you take time to think about it you could probably have an entire fly box devoted to variations of Pheasant Tail and Hare’s Ear flies. Consider the possibilities: soft hackles, floating nymphs, emergers, flashbacks, bead heads, parachute hackles and traditionals. I’ve tied all of these variations at one time or another for one reason. They just work. Sometimes it’s just pure magic.

Over the coming months I’ll be posting images of pheasant tail and hare’s ear fly pattern variations with a story about how and where I learned the pattern and what the trout thought about it. I hope you enjoy the posts. It will be a different kind of winter fly tying project for me and I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime stay tuned for my posts from the Steamboat Springs area. That, of course, assumes I can find free Wi-Fi. We’re not planning to stay near town.