Fly Tying Schools

YUP! It’s that time of the year. We anglers that “lose-em in the summer” & “tie-em” in the winter have begun. We have started to replace the flies, gone to fish, stream side shrubbery and friends. For some of us it is a passion and a pleasure to seduce trout with our own creation. To others, guides in particular, it becomes a labor of love / hate. LOTS TO TIE for the upcoming season. It’s miniature art with a purpose.
Tying flies is quite enjoyable not to mention the $$$ savings. A natural progression within the fascinating sport / art of fly fishing is becoming familiar with the insects. The entomology of the waters we fish and love. Knowing a bit about the anatomy & structure of a particular insect we are attempting to imitate can really help.
THAT is what I can help you with. Not only do I show you how to set up your vice, become familiar with the operation of all the tools, and how to attach feathers, fur and fluff to a hook, I will also explain how, when, & where to use the streamers, dry flies & nymphs we will tie in my schools. The schools are filling up quickly so please call the shop at 406-449-2292 to reserve a spot.
One school consists of 5 consecutive Tuesday evenings from 6PM till 8PM here at the shop. One January school. One February. One March school. I supply all materials used during the school evening. Weekly hand-outs are given so you can do your homework before the next class. You will learn at least 12 – 15 patterns throughout the school. By Spring you should have a pretty good supply of all the patterns necessary to fool those wily trout. This is also an opportunity to meet new angler & fly tying friends. I look forward to meeting all of you and sharing more about this wonderful sport.
Jim Stein, Director Of Schools





Perhaps some of you don’t know the origin of  Purple Haze. A few years ago, 1966 to be exact, a young incredibly talented  guitar player known as Jimi Hendrix recorded an album (vinyl of  course) titled “Are You Experienced”. One of many great cuts on that large black disc was “Purple Haze”.   During “those” years there were all sorts of colors of haze.

Several years ago a Montana Fly Fishing guide (Andy C.) on the Bitterroot  River thought he would alter the infamous, most common, well used & preferred, generic May Fly dry “The Adams” Basically all that was done was the grey body material has been replaced with purple. I first started fishing purple on a variety of flies 3 to 4 years ago. On streamers, on drys, on nymphs, on literally anything that would cast from the terminal end of my tippet. I have been having ridiculously fine results and from the volume of purple material in our fly tying room and the requests for more and more patterns tied in purple so have many others anglers.  If you have not tried that color YOU SHOULD!

In the above posted photo you will see 2 varieties of Purple Haze. One will be fun to catch fish with the other will be the result of reckless abandon in an un-named slippery like goose snot creek. One I highly recommend the other would be something to avoid “at all cost”

Presented by: Jim Stein Director Of Schools Cross Currents Fly DSCN2141Shop



It began on a 15 degree below zero February day in the year 2015.
It came to fruition at 52 degrees mid June of the same year.

Jim selected all the parts and pieces necessary to build  his latest fly rod.  An 8 foot #5 line in 3 sections.  Blue Halo out of  Salt Lake City produced this one in a transparent bright blue color. Two colors of thread in Forged Steel & Iron Ore for the wraps. The spectacular hardware supplied by Jim’s good friend Michael & Susan McCoy owners of Snake Brand Guides. Black nickle guides top to bottom set off  a reel seat like no other. Dyed Buckeye burl with fine rope edge, black nickle trappings topped off with a custom cork grip. YUP! easy on the eyes, but from Jim’s past he knows, “pretty does not make good”. (We’re talking horses here)   Not until he loaded a classic older CFO reel with the ultra slick Orvis HD line did he find just what a jewel he had created. Slow, and I mean ULTRA-SLOW and wet noodle soft makes his new stick as much fun as you can with your clothes on. Jim refused all spring to even consider putting anything on that line with weight. No streamers, no nymphs. Waiting for the optimum  weather, water, hatches and time to pack in a couple of hours so there was no chance of catching anything but THE Montana state fish: Oncorhynchus clarkii or, a Cutthroat. Catch he did. Elk wings, Stimulators & Adams were all it took for the endless numbers of fish. Clear, cold mountain water with
gorgeous, unspoiled  views supplied the setting. What a beautiful place (no I will not divulge) to test drive a new  rod in the quiver. Like many avid anglers Jim prefers to tie most of his flies and do a rod-build in the dark, cold winter months. Preparing, anticipating, looking forward to the short time frame we get to sling line and poke fish on top. Does it get any better? Look where we live. Look where we get to play.  Wake up with a smile and go to bed with a smile. If that is not your routine you are not enjoying what our good Lord has given us.


  Provided by: JIM STEIN Director of Schools, Cross Currents Fly Shop.


wall-of-whiting-farms-feathersMe too! Barbecue, baked, broiled & broasted.
However the edible critter is not what I am referring to. Those of us who “lose ’em in the summer and tie ’em in the winter” know of what I speak. That incredibly beautiful, genetically spectacular, OMG bird of valuable feathers. The hen gives us the softer with more web and downy pelt. The rooster on the other hand provides we fly tiers with that long, stiff, web-free plumage so necessary to create the perfect dry fly.

It may be a cape / neck or it may be the saddle depending on the task. The colors choices and variations seem endless. Grizzly, browns, dun, black, cream, ginger, badger and the ever elusive Cree to mention a few. I keep all my best feathers in a red cedar box I built over 25 years ago. Continue reading