Fly-Tying Contest Is a Hit

Here’s your chance to strut your fly-tying abilities and win amazing prizes.

The Fly Tyer 30th-Anniversary Fly-Tying Championships are off to a great start! We’re conducting this contest with the cooperation of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, and the response has been terrific. Tiers from around the world are submitting flies to this one-of-a-kind contest, and the winners will be taking home fantastic prizes. And, we’re pleased to announce that the prize packages are getting bigger and better! 

In the Spring issue of this magazine, we announced that the first-place fin-isher will win four days of fishing and five nights of lodging for two at Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort. World-famous sculptor Ott Jones read that article and called us. “I want to sweeten the pot,” Ott said. “I’d like to contribute a bronze sculpture as a trophy.”

So now, in addition to enjoying a memorable fishing trip, our first-place winner will receive Ott’s beautiful sculpture titled Hook Up. This bronze sculpture comes from a limited edition of only 35, and has a value of $1,650. Of course, ours is the only one bearing a brass plate declaring it the “Grand Prize”!

Our fifth-place prize is also bigger. Five fifth-place winners will each receive a package of fly-tying tools and materials. Cascade Crest Tools, a leading manufacturer of fly-tying supplies, has kicked in gift certificates valued at $50 apiece.

The Fly Tyer 30th-Anniversary Fly-Tying Championships is growing and getting more exciting every day.

Contest Update
We are conducting the Fly Tyer 30th- Anniversary Fly-Tying Championships with the support of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. This won- derful facility, located in Livingston Manor, New York, is home to one of the largest collections of angling artifacts in the world. The Catskill Center also hosts fly-tying classes, rod-building retreats, and other fly-fishing events.

I called Jim Krul, the executive director of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center, during the first week of April to discuss the fly-tying contest. The Spring issue of Fly Tyer had been out only a few weeks, but I wanted to get an update on the response to our contest. Jim reported that the Center was receiving packages of flies almost every day, and that his crew was busy mounting the flies in their galleries for everyone to enjoy.

To review the rules of our fly-tying contest: Each contestant must submit one mandatory pattern—either a Royal Wulff, Hair-Wing Blue Doctor, or Flashtail Whistler. In addition to the mandatory pattern, each contestant must also submit a tiebreaking fly of their choice. (We’ll review the rules in fuller detail later in this article.) All the flies will be mounted in the galleries of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, and judging will take place in October of this year.

I started our discussion by asking Jim Krul about the mandatory flies the Catskill Fly Fishing Center was receiving.

“There are more than twenty-five Royal Wulffs already mounted in the museum,” Jim said. “There are also eight or nine Blue Doctors, and several Whistlers. And, of course, we’ve mounted the tiebreaking flies that have been submitted. We also have several packages of flies yet to mount. We’re receiving flies every day.”

This seems like a very good start.

“It sure does. The magazine hit the mailboxes and newsstands about only a month ago, and we’ve already received a lot of flies. You figure a guy has to read the article, decide to enter the contest, and then tie and mail his flies. And then you have to allow at least a few days for delivery. Yes, I think this is a splendid start to the contest.”

Are you receiving some nice flies?

“You bet we are. There are at least three Royal Wulffs that you’d swear were actually tied by Lee Wulff. They’re incredible. They are oversized with real dense hackles—just perfect for salmon fishing. They’re just the way Lee tied them. But we’ve also received a lot of great trout-size Wulffs.”

Are any readers submitting Blue Doctors and Whistlers?

“Yes, they’re tying both patterns. The Blue Doctors we’ve received are very interesting. It’s amazing to see how different tiers interpret the colors of the Blue Doctor, but every one of these flies would catch fish; there’s no doubt about that. They’re all great Atlantic Canada salmon-style flies.

“So far we’ve received only a few Whistlers as mandatory flies. But what’s cool about the Whistlers is that they each display a slightly different interpretation of that pattern, but they are all really nice.”

What kind of tiebreaking flies are readers submitting?

“Everything you can imagine. One tier sent a size 22 spinner, but another guy submitted a full-dress salmon fly. That salmon fly is so elaborate. I hope he doesn’t fish with flies like this, but maybe he does. It’s just wonderful.”

Are you receiving any saltwater patterns as tiebreaking flies?

“Yes, there are some neat ones: shrimps, crabs, and the like. This contest is really showing the breadth of interest of Fly Tyer readers.”

Fly Tyer magazine has readers all over the world. From where have you received flies?

“Italy and England come to mind, and we’ve received several flies from Canada. We’ve also received e-mails from Japan about the contest, and another e-mail from Iceland. And, of course, we’re receiving flies from all over the United States.”

How are visitors to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center responding to the display of flies?

“We had our annual celebration for the opening day of trout-fishing season, and the reaction of the visitors was tremendous. More than two hundred people attended this year, and every one of them looked at the flies. You’d hear comments like, ‘Oh, that’s a good fly.’ We also have the article from the magazine mounted on the wall, and guys were writing down the information about how to enter the contest. Everyone is very enthusiastic. We’re getting calls and e-mails about the contest every day. Just be sure to tell the readers that the sooner they send in their flies, the sooner they’ll be on display in our gallery.”

Is there anything else our readers should know?

“Tell them to package their flies very carefully. One reader from England sent his flies in a regular envelope, and some machine mangled the envelope in transit and the flies fell out. We wrote the fellow and told him what happened. Just let your readers know that they should package their flies so that they arrive here safely.

“Also remind them that we are mounting all the flies in display cases in our galleries. One guy sent his flies mounted on pieces of driftwood in display bell jars. They were magnificent mounts—so artistic—but there was no way we could put them up. We had to take flies off the driftwood and mount them with the rest of the flies. Please remind them to package their flies so we can mount them in our cases.”

The Rules
The Fly Tyer 30th-Anniversary Fly-Tying Championship is a chance to display your fly-tying prowess and win some great prizes. The rules for our contest are simple, and you have a good chance of winning!

For this contest, you must submit two flies. First, tie one mandatory pattern. The selection of mandatory flies includes the Royal Wulff, Hair-Wing Blue Doctor, and Flashtail Whistler. Your job is to tie one of these flies. We are including photos and the recipes for these flies for reference, but you do not have to tie an exact replica; bring your own sense of flair and style of tying to your mandatory fly.

Second, tie one “tiebreaker” fly of your choice. This may be an established pattern or one of your original flies. The only real rule is that your tiebreaker fly must be a pattern you would use for actual fishing. Do you think you tie the world’s best Clouser Minnow? Then it might win! If you prefer using more realistic patterns, you may submit a nymph bristling with legs, wing cases, and other features. If you love wading the saltwater flats, show us your favorite shrimp or crab pattern for catching bonefish and permit. Or, if you enjoy casting to big bass and panfish, we’ll love to see your best deer-hair bug. The choice is yours!

In our contest, a panel of judges, chosen by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, will select the top 20 mandatory flies. The tiers who create these amazing flies will progress to step two: the judging of the tiebreaking flies. The 20 top tiebreaking patterns will be mounted and on display during the 2008 Fly Fishing Hall of Fame festivities at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center the weekend of October 18, 2008. The visitors to the festivities, which will include some of the biggest names in fly fishing and tying, will cast their votes for the winning tiebreaking flies.

There’s Still Plenty of Time to Enter
The Fly Tyer 30th-Anniversary Fly-Tying Championship is off to a great start, but you still have plenty of time to enter. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Select and tie one mandatory pattern.

2. Tie one tiebreaker fly of your choice. Be sure to include a complete recipe of the materials used to tie your tiebreaking pattern.

3. Fill out the official entry form, which you will find at You may print and fill out this entry form, which you’ll need to submit with your package of flies. (If you do not have access to the Internet, you may still enter our contest. Simply include a complete recipe describing the materials used to tie your tiebreaker pattern, and clearly print your full name, address, and phone number at the top of the recipe.)

4. Carefully package your flies, including the entry form and recipe for your tiebreaker fly, and mail to:

Fly Tying Contest
Catskill Fly Fishing Center
P.O. Box 1295
1031 Old Rte. 17
Livingston Manor, NY 12758

All flies must be received at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center by September 30, 2008. For a more detailed set of rules, go to

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