Lessons / Classes


I’ve been teaching fly tying for over 25 years-mostly classes, but I have done individual lessons as well as tying in the International Sportsmen’s Exposition shows in Sacramento and San Mateo, the Fly Fishing Show (San Raphael, and now Pleasanton), Fly Fishing Conclaves sponsored by the Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers, and in national shows elsewhere. I’ve also taught classes at Sierra Community College, for fly fishing clubs, and for the local fly shops. So, I do have a bit of experience in this area.

Most of the classes I’ve taught have been for the Granite Bay Flycasters at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. At present, Paul Egan has assumed responsibility for the beginning and intermediate classes. I have limited myself to teaching the advanced classes.


Granite Bay Flycasters Intermediate Tying Clinic (Bill Carnazzo photo)



As time permits, I am available for group classes and clinics, for demonstrations, and for individual lessons. For the latter, my time is charged at $25 per hour assuming that there is not a lot of travel involved. For groups and demonstrations, we can work out a fair arrangement beforehand.


Granite Bay Flycasters Beginner Tying Class (Bill Carnazzo photo)



My approach to teaching tying is to concentrate on techniques rather than individual fly patterns. Specific fly patterns are, of course, used to demonstrate and develop technique skills. But the focus is on developing techniques that will enable the tyer to tie virtually any pattern from a recipe found in books, magazines, or elsewhere, and eventually to be creative and develop new patterns for personal use. I organize the presentation around life cycles of various aquatic insects of interest to fly fishers.

Beginning classes include an extensive discussion of what equipment and materials are really needed to get started-stated otherwise, I like to teach students what not to buy at the outset, because I have seen new tiers spend far too much money only to later find that what they bought was either the wrong thing or was unnecessary. We discuss vises and tools such as scissors, hackle pliers, bobbins, tweezers, and other small items. We also talk about basic tying materials such as hooks (a subject that is confusing and mysterious to beginners), threads, wires, tinsels, flash, hair, feathers, dubbing, yarns, and other assorted stuff.


Here is a typical syllabus that I use for beginning classes. I have similar documents for intermediate and advanced classes.

BEGINNER FLY TYING CLASS © Bill Carnazzo 2006 Bill Carnazzo InstructorTools needed: Vise with clamp or pedestal mount; fly tying scissors; bobbin; bobbin threader; fly tying tweezers; hackle pliers; whip finish tool.

Session No. 1.

  • Introduction
  • Discussion on materials
  • Discussion on tools


Fly for this session: Bead Head Woolly Bugger (brown & olive)

  • Hook: 2X long streamer hook, #6
  • Bead: Gold 5/32
  • Thread: Olive or brown 6/0
  • Tail: Olive marabou
  • Body: Olive medium chenille
  • Rib: Gold wire
  • Hackle: Brown saddle (or grizzly dyed brown)
  • Head: Olive thread


Session No. 2.

Mayfly life cycle: Nymph, dun, spinner

Flies for this session: Adams; Parachute Adams.


  • Hook: Standard dry fly (e.g., Tiemco 100), #14
  • Thread: Gray 6/0 or 8/0
  • Tail: Mixed grizzly and brown spade hackle barbs
  • Body: Adams grey dubbing
  • Wing: Grizzly hackle tips
  • Hackle: Mixed grizzly and brown saddle hackle


Parachute Adams:

  • Hook: Standard dry fly, #14
  • Thread: Gray 6/0 or 8/0
  • Tail: Mixed grizzly and brown spade hackle barbs
  • Body: Adams grey dubbing
  • Wing: Calf tail or body hair
  • Hackle: Mixed grizzly and brown saddle hackle


Gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear (Bead Head):

  • Hook: Standard nymph (e.g., Tiemco 3761), #14
  • Bead: Gold, sized to #14 hook
  • Thread: Tan 6/0 or 8/0
  • Tail: Wood duck flank feather fibers
  • Body: Hare’s Ear dubbing, light in color
  • Rib: Fine gold wire
  • Wingcase: Mottled turkey or substitute
  • Legs: Wood duck flank feather fibers


Session No. 3.

Caddis life cycle: larva, pupa, adult.

Flies for this session: Super Pupa; Bill’s Morning Caddis.

Super Pupa:

  • Hook: Standard scud-style hook (e.g., Tiemco 2457), #14
  • Bead: Black metal, sized to fit hook
  • Thread: Olive 6/0
  • Body: Insect green dubbing
  • Rib: Fine copper wire
  • Wing case: Pearl crystal flash
  • Collar: Black dubbing
  • Legs: Partridge fibers


Bill’s Morning Caddis:

  • Hook: Standard dry fly, #14
  • Body: Greyish olive fine dubbing
  • Underwing: Dun colored CDC
  • Overwing: Dun colored fine deer hair
  • Hackle: Dun saddle hackle (dry fly quality)


Session No. 4.

Stonefly life cycle: nymph, adult

Flies for this session: Bill’s Simple Stone; Stimulator

Bill’s Simple Stone:

  • Hook: Standard Streamer, #8
  • Thread: Black 6/0
  • Weight: .020 lead wire or substitute
  • Tail: Black biots
  • Rib: Fine black v-rib
  • Body: Black Paxton’s Buggy Nymph
  • Wing case: Black quill
  • Legs: Black webby hackle
  • Antennae: Black biots



  • Hook: Standard hopper hook (e.g., Tiemco 5212), #10
  • Thread: Orange 6/0 or 8/0
  • Tail: Deer hair, tan
  • Body: Orange dubbing (medium)
  • Rib: Fine gold wire
  • Palmer: Brown saddle hackle, dry fly quality
  • Wing: Deer hair, tan
  • Thorax: Paxton’s Buggy Nymph, Golden Stone
  • Hackle: Grizzly saddle hackle, dry fly quality


[Note: this materials list differs from that called for by the originator of this fly, Randall Kaufmann; however, the specified materials are a good substitute.]

Session No. 5.

This will be our hair spinning class. Sturmer White has agreed to teach this session; I will be assisting him.

I’ll be sending out a composite materials list for all of the flies, so that you’ll only have to make one trip to the fly shop to get what you need. There will also be written material for the hair spinning class. We intend to supply all of the material for the hair spinning class, so don’t be concerned with that.


Here are the materials you will need for the Beginning Fly Tying Class, except those needed for the fifth class on hair spinning. We will provide the materials needed for that class.


  • Olive 6/0
  • Black 6/0
  • Tan 6/0
  • Grey 6/0
  • Orange 6/0


Hooks (other brands can be substituted

  • Tiemco 5262, #6, #8 (2X long, 2X heavy)
  • Tiemco 101, #14 (1X fine)
  • Tiemco 3761, #14 (1X long, 2X heavy)
  • Tiemco 2457, #14 (2X heavy, 2X short, 2X wide)
  • Tiemco 5212, #10 (1X fine, 2X long)



  • Gold 1/8, 5/32 (metal)
  • Black 1/8 (metal)



  • Olive marabou
  • Brown saddle hackle suitable for woolly buggers
  • Brown dry fly hackle (cape or saddle)
  • Dun dry fly hackle (cape or saddle)
  • Grizzly dry fly hackle (cape or saddle)
  • Mottled turkey for wing cases
  • Wood duck flank, or substitute



  • Black turkey tail (dyed) or goose quill
  • Dun CDC
  • Black goose biots



  • Fine Adams grey
  • Light hare’s ear
  • Fine insect green
  • Fine black
  • Fine grayish olive
  • Black Paxton’s Buggy Nymph
  • Medium orange antron
  • Golden Stone Paxton’s Buggy Nymph



  • Olive medium chenille
  • Gold wire (fine)
  • Copper wire (fine)
  • White calf body hair
  • Pearl crystal flash
  • Dun colored fine deer hair
  • Tan deer hair


This looks like a lot…and it is. But it is all common material that you will use constantly. Hint: buy good quality material. It does not pay to skimp on materials. You will experience frustration, and it just makes tying much harder when you use inferior materials. Call me if you have questions.