On the Fly: Who is the best fly tyer in the valley?

Scott Spooner
Local siblings Beau and Bristol Soucie try their young hands at some fly-tying.
Scott Spooner/Courtesy photo

The seventh annual Iron Fly Competition is taking place on Feb. 11. Hosted by the Roaring Fork Valley Fly Fishing Club and the Roaring Fork Conservancy, this fun-filled evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Youth Division at the Tipsy Trout in Basalt. Adults usually start around 7 p.m., and all participants need to pre-register at to ensure their spot at this immensely popular event.

For local kids wanting a little practice before the event, check out the after-school fly tying program happening on Wednesday afternoons at the Basalt Regional Library. Call 970-927-4311 for information.

Rules? There are none. Bribing judges? Definitely encouraged. Cheating, lying and stealing are par for the course, and all proceeds fund the RFVFFC’s youth and veteran fly fishing activities throughout the year. This competition is totally free for the youth division, $20 for adults, and a nominal $5 fee will get you in the door as a spectator. Larger donations are encouraged for those hoping to foster the club’s many fishing-oriented outreach programs.

How does it work? There are multiple “rounds” in each division, and tyers get a bag of materials and a hook to utilize for each phase. Flies are “judged” and the best tyers advance to a final round. All participants should bring their own vise, threads and tools; although the Conservancy and Fishing Club will have extras on hand.

Tyers are thrown some curve balls during the competition, so be prepared to see a round where all are blindfolded or perhaps asked to turn their vise around and tie with their non-dominant hand. Tom Skutely (who heads the RFVFFC and the Iron Fly Competition) will certainly get the participants out of their comfort zone and this also tends to level the playing field. We hope to see you there, come and mingle with your fishing friends and make some new ones, too!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or

If you go…

What: Iron Fly Competition
Where: Tipsy Trout, 181 Basalt Center Circle
When: Youth division at 5:30 p.m., adults 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11
How to register: Visit before Feb. 11, space is limited
Hosted by: Roaring Fork Valley Fly Fishing Club, Roaring Fork Conservancy, Tipsy Trout Bar and Grill

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