In our opinion, there’s no such thing as too many flies. In fact, your fearless editor has a reputation for carrying far more flies on the water than could ever be fished in a day, a week, or even an entire season for that matter. Just ask anyone who has pawed through his boat bag at Alaska West..
But flies don’t last forever, and one downside to cramming a bunch of flies into fly boxes (particularly those tied with natural materials) is that they’re prone to get a bit beat up over time, even if never fished.
Natural feathers, furs, and hairs can easily become crushed and/or creased when left in a fly box for too long. That not only affects the appearance of the fly, but can also affect the fly’s ability to swim, float, or sink as intended.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution..
Steam Your Flies Back to Life
Don’t toss out those matted down flies ever again (unless of course we’re dealing with rusty hooks). Instead, bring them back to life with a quick steam treatment. Here’s how.
- Fill a teapot with water.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Using a pair of forceps, hold your fly over the jet of steam for a few seconds, rotating as needed.
- Repeat only a few seconds at a time (to avoid melting materials), watching natural materials straighten back into their original shape.
Tip: Picking out trapped fibers with your fingers, a bodkin, or a dubbing brush in between steam sessions can help speed up the process.
This process works wonders for restoring beat up hackle or hair on traditional dry flies, but also works well to rejuvenate materials like ostrich or rhea common in many modern salmon and steelhead patterns. Just check out the difference a few seconds made on a well-abused Fish Taco below.
Give it a try!