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Fit to be tied: Tier set to share craft

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2008


  An angler removes a fly from a rainbow trout on the upper Kenai River in April 2005. A workshop this weekend will teach skills needed to create flies for fishing the peninsula. Clarion file photo

An angler removes a fly from a rainbow trout on the upper Kenai River in April 2005. A workshop this weekend will teach skills needed to create flies for fishing the peninsula.

Clarion file photo

With each passing day the temperatures are getting warmer, the rivers are opening up, and spring is getting closer: It won't be long until it's time to wet a hook in the hopes of catching fish. A workshop this weekend aims to aid would-be anglers in their upcoming piscatorial pursuits.

"I know a lot of people in the community look forward to fishing, and spring is a good time to learn," said Julie Niederhauser, assistant director of the Kenai Community Library, which will host a fly tying workshop Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

The course will be taught by Paul Tornow, who holds a U.S. Coast Guard Master's License, has guided saltwater charters on Cook Inlet, and for the last five years been a fly fishing guide on the upper Kenai River with Alaska Troutfitters in Cooper Landing. He has also served as a guide for Kenai Peninsula College's Kenai Fishing Academy, and this season will be serving as an instructor at the academy.

Tornow will be teaching participants enrolled in Saturday's workshop how to tie fishing flies, including coho streamers, dry fly patterns, flesh patterns and nymph patterns.

"I want to keep it Alaskan-based, so people can go out and use them to be productive," he said.

To accomplish this, Tornow will blend a second discipline. In addition to his fish catching knowledge, Tornow also holds a Bachelor's of Fine Art degree from the University of Alaska, and when tying flies, he combines his love for nature with his love for creating art.

"In the stores, flesh flies are all the same size and appearance, but flesh in the river isn't like that, so I'm hoping to bring a little creativity to the table, or in this case the vise. I want to teach people better ways to replicate flies they can't buy in stores, but that they'll see out on the river," he said.

Tornow said he'll review a few proven fly samples and patterns to give participants a basic understanding of fly tying.

"People can come with no experience at all, and by the end of the day most should know how to use the tools, tie knots, and how to build basic flies. I'll also go over how to read the water to use the flies they tie," he said.

Niederhauser said people of all ages, genders and fishing experience levels are welcome, but those interested in participating should preregister for the workshop because space is limited.

"The workshop is limited to 10 people and we have eight already signed up, so that only leaves two more spots available," she said.

Registration for the workshop is $5 and includes all materials. Niederhauser said there are also numerous resources available through the library related to fishing and fly tying to further aid participants.

"We have a lot of books on the topic and even some videos too," she said.

Tornow said he is looking forward to teaching the weekend workshop.

"It's giving back in the ways people taught me. I'm just passing it on, because I believe when you share with others, they'll be more likely to share with you," he said.

For more information on the fly tying workshop or to preregister, call the Kenai Community Library at 907-283-4378.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at


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