Local Feature: Episode 519

Featuring the craft of fly tying and exploring the culture of local fly fishermen.

AIRED: May 28, 2020 | 0:06:47

- Hello, I'm Martin Szillat

and the producer of this episode of Arteffects.

Today, my fellow Arteffects producers and I,

welcome you to a fantastic line-up of arts and culture,

from our region and beyond.

In our featured segment,

we meet Reno-based fly fishing guide Mike Anderson,

and learn about the craft of fly tying.

We'll also enjoy the solitude of the Truckee river,

and see why the culture of fly fishermen,

observe fish and their prey,

in order to design the perfect fly.

(cheerful music)

- For most anglers, fly fishing is an escape.

Being on the river, forgetting about work,

forgetting about bills

and being able to encounter some amazing fish

while being in a beautiful place surrounded by,

great settings is one of the draws for fly fishing.

(cheerful music)

Flies are imitations of insects

that are actually waterborne.

That's the fish's main food source are insects.

So what we do is we use natural and synthetic materials,

like hairs here or sometimes even rubber or plastic.

And we as close as we can,

imitate the natural insect that lives in the river.

(cheerful music)

So when we go into tying a specific fly,

the first thing I'm gonna do is think

about its size, its shape.

What I'm actually imitating

when it comes to the natural insect.

My process would start by selecting the hook,

selecting whether it needs to be heavy,

or if it needs to float.

So I would take the corresponding hook

to the size of the insect I'm trying to imitate,

and I would clamp that into my vise,

which is just a contraption

that holds the hook steady for you.

Once the hook is in the vise,

I would grab thread typically,

I would match the thread color to the insect color.

So I'd start my thread down the shank of the fly,

which is the top part of the hook.

I would start by then stacking materials, creating a tail,

and then say like the thorax of the bug.

If it's a subsurface fly, if it's what we call a nymph,

I would put some type of weight on it.

If it's a dry fly

or a fly that sits on the surface of the water,

I would typically use some type of like a deer hair

or something that has some float ability to it

and then finishing with the head of the fly.

Typically what we would do on a normal day

when we come down to the river,

is we would take a small neat meshed net

and we would siphon the water

and that would show us what's actually present in the water.

And then our flies would correspond to the size and shape

of whatever insect is predominantly in the water.

(cheerful music)

When you're tying flies,

one of the best feelings that you can get is to tie,

just a fly and then catch a fish on it.

It's seriously so cool.

You feel like you're sustainable,

like you know the zombie apocalypse could come by

and you'd be fine.

You can catch fish,

and that is even amplified when it's a fly pattern

that you create on your own.

So you go out you see a bug

and you start throwing materials together,

and then you take that out and it works.

That's one of the coolest feelings

for fly fishing and fly tying.

(cheerful music)

(man whooping)

It's something that you can truly master.

It's something that you can really dive into deep detail

of the certain bug, the certain time of year,

the certain hatch

and you really feel like you can almost predict

where the fish are gonna be,

what they're gonna eat, when they're going to eat.

(cheerful music)

I think fly fishermen tying their own flies

is a trend that we see growing.

It's something that more and more people are getting into

because there are certain aspects to tying flies,

especially the weight of the fly,

or like the silhouette of the fly.

That when you buy a commercially may not be appropriate

for what we use on the Truckee River.

When you're looking for materials to tie with,

your local fly shop is your best bet

to find those materials.

Because the nice thing about having a local fly shop,

is you have the local knowledge of the river.

So you have the materials that best suit the Truckee River,

Pyramid Lake and all of our surrounding area fisheries.

(cheerful music)

The culture of fly fisherman is dynamic.

It ranges from the guy who will show you a spot,

tell you everything, what fly to...

The guy who's a little more guarded.

He's not gonna to tell you where he was fishing,

what his spot he had.

But more often than not fly fishermen are very open

and willing to share, where they were,

what fly they were using, what they were catching.

One thing that's really nice about the community

that we have here in Reno,

is that it's a very fun atmosphere.

A lot of people are just here to have a good time,

be outside, encounter some of the amazing fish

that we have on the Truckee River.

(man whooping)

So really is like a family.

You really do have a lot in common

with people through fly fishing through the community.

(cheerful music)

- [Announcer] Funding for Arteffects is made possible by,

the Bently Foundation, the June S. Wisham Estate,

Kate and Richard Kenny, the Nell J. Redfield Foundation,

the annual contributions of PBS Reno members, and by...

(upbeat music)


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