Art of the fly

FRANKFORT — Good lighting, good eyesight and patience — all were needed Saturday as beginners learned Saturday how to tie fly fishing lures at Salato Wildlife Education Center.

”I feel like I'm all thumbs. But it's starting to make a little bit more sense,“ said Charlotte Shaut of Georgetown.

She'd already spent 90 minutes tying thread, chenille and feathers into something that a fish might see as a snack.

The students were taught by members of the Louisville Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a club that promotes the conservation and protection of coldwater fisheries. Learning how to correctly cast with a fly rod is one thing. But learning how to tie a fly is something else.

”One of the interesting things is to fish with flies that you've made,“ said Trout Unlimited member Tom Walsh. ”Because not only can you fish correctly, but you've also tied the lure that caught the fish, so there's extra satisfaction there.“

And trout aren't the only fish that will take a tied fly. So will bluegill, smallmouth bass, tarpon — ”anything that eats a bug,“ Walsh said.

Jesse Robinson and Andrea Webster, both of Frankfort, are planning a trip to Alaska, and want to try their hand at fly fishing while back-country camping.

”I think it's pretty easy,“ Webster said of fly tying. ”I have small fingers so it probably helps me a little bit.“

Shaut was among four women and girls in the class. When her husband was still alive, she had gone fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains.

”My dermatologist is heavy into fly fishing, so I was telling him that I had signed up for this class,“ Shaut said. ”So he gave me a fly fishing rod three or four weeks ago. That gave me a whole lot more motivation to come take this class.“

The first fly the class learned to tie was called a ”green weenie,“ which is meant to resemble a green inchworm. It was a simple piece of yellow-green chenille tied to a hook.

”That looks like an inchworm to me,“ said Terry Lunn of Turners Station, looking upon his handiwork. ”If I was a fish, I'd bite it.“

But when it comes to lures, fish aren't picky, said Steve Darnell of Taylorsville, one of the Trout Unlimited members who assisted students.

”Fish don't come up to it and say "That's an ugly fly. I'm not going to bite it.'“

The fly tying instruction is just one of a number of workshops the Salato Wildlife Education Center offers around the year.

Coming up on Aug. 9, children and adults can learn archery. For a complete list of events, visit