Our latest featured fly tier is Peter Butler, a.k.a. flyenvy on Instagram. Peter ties some amazing flies and we're thankful for him taking some time to chat. Peter hails from San Fransisco and works for PicsArt, a photo and video editing application.
TH: When did you first begin fly fishing?
PB: I first held a fly rod when I was 7 or 8 years old. Growing up, my dad would take me and my brother on summer camping trips in the Sierra Butte's so my first practice casts were in campgrounds around there and the first live ones were on the South Fork of the Yuba. I recall thinking at the time that a trout spinning rod was much more my size compared to the 9' monster my dad would cast. I remember him landing a dry fly near a used ball of powerbait and seeing a trout rise for the bait! I definitely wasn't addicted to fly-fishing at first but everything seems harder and bigger when you're little. I'm not sure I've touched a spin rod since then.
TH: What led to your decision to start tying flies?
PB: My wife calls it "puttering" but even as a kid I liked to make things with my hands - model rockets, radio-controlled planes - anything that I could assemble. My dad had a small tying kit he used mostly for saltwater flies he'd fish in the surf around the Bay Area. He loaned it to me and I cobbled together a couple flies that even stocked trout would laugh at. The internet being what it was, I learned by reading recipes in books at the library but I'm a more of a visual learner and got frustrated quickly. I don't remember if I gave the fly tying kit back or if my dad took it back but I only lasted a few months as a tier! I've been focused on career for a long time but a couple of years ago I rediscovered fly-fishing in a big way and with it my interest in fly tying resurged. I live in a city, work at a desk behind a monitor so fly-fishing trips are few and far between. Tying brings me closer to the sport during all the time in between.
TH: What was the first fly pattern that you tied?
PB: Oh it was almost definitely some kind of dry. A mosquito or maybe an Adams. As a kid I couldn't afford new materials and had to work with what was in the kit my dad loaned me. A lot of spoiled thread, hair and feathers. The first fly I got good at was a Caddis Pupa made of tan dubbing and rabbit hair I saved up for at the local fly shop. Somehow I saw of video of it being tied and so it clicked for me. Much easier to learn when you can see it happening than to read a recipe I think. I tied a ton of them only to realize I didn't know what they were or how to fish a wet fly! We'd only fished dry flies by that time. I was probably 10.
TH: What is your favorite fly pattern to tie?
PB: You know, this is like asking my favorite soccer team. I'm just a fan of the sport. I like learning new techniques and using new materials to keep things interesting. I'm a big fan of crippled mayfly patterns - especially Green Drake's.
TH: Which fly pattern of yours are you most proud of?
PB: Anything that catches fish! I tie a lot of flies so if I whip something up for a trip or for a friend and it doesn't catch fish it's onto the next. Any fly tied as the direct result of a fly-fishing experience is something to be proud of I think. There's something special to using what you've learned to improve. I recently made some large foam bodies for a size 8 Golden Stone dry based on even bigger live Golden Stones I saw hatch in BC this last summer.
TH: What has been your most memorable fly fishing experience?
PB: I've been lucky enough to fish in some really cool places but of course the one that stands out took place right in my backyard (well not literally, it was still three hours by car!). The plan had been to target steelhead that follow spawning king salmon up the tributaries to eat the eggs. Our timing must have been off for the steelhead or maybe we weren't stealthy enough on this small river but the kings were there! Hundreds of these fish and many were near the 40" mark. It was a small trib with redds everywhere and even more of these beautiful giant fish replenishing the gene pool. It was a wild experience in a place that didn't feel that wild or remote. Neither my brother nor I caught anything that day but we didn't care.
TH: Anything else?
PB: A wise man once said, "If your fly's not in the water, you ain't fishing." I think about that every time I see my brother's fly up in the tree behind him hahaha. Sorry dude.
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Polish quill body sz8 Green Drake Cripple because they get that big! Also, I'll be able to see this in twilight from 30 feet away, which makes the fishing easier at 10pm in the upper latitudes. This one will have to wait until next summer. · · · · · · #greendrakecripple #naturesspiritflytying #gulffflyfishing #whitingfarms #browntrout #grayling #graylingcandy #rainbowtrout #bulltrout #dryfly #dryflyfishing #dryordie #dryflyordie #matchthehatch #nymphing #tyingflies #troutflies #tightlines #flydressing #flugfiske #flugbindning #pescaconmosca #fishitwell #biginsect #tieyourown #flyfishinglife #flytyinglife #atthevise #matchthehatch #featherbender
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Caddis sz12. Cannot wait to flick this to some fish soon. Really fun tie and pretty quick even though it uses some unnecessary extras. Hard to complain about tying extravagant versions of staple flies. · · Recipe: - Hare's ear dubbing body - UTC black wire ribbing - @naturesspiritflytying tan CDC and brown deer hair - UV Krystal flash - tan CDC dub loop collar - @fireholeoutdoors 419 sz12 · · · · · · #practicemakesperfect #flytyingphotography #flytyingart #flytying #flyfishing #troutflies #flytyingaddict #flytyingjunkie #onthefly #tieyourown #flytyer #flyfishingjunkie #flyfishingart #catchandrelease #flyporn #tightlines #caddis #barbless #pinchyourbarbs #dryfly #dryflyfishing #dryordie #dryflyordie #browntrout #grayling #graylingcandy #supercaddis #svendify