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First off, this is a wonderful site. I'm going to get into fly fishing this year and need some help getting the right flys for smallmouth around here. Mostly be fishing the green river and maybe the vermillion. I don't know how to tie flys and I don't know anyone that does fly fishing so some links to websites I could order them from or a location of a local shop would be great. I live in Princeton, Il and dont know of any shops. Thanks for any help.

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Guest rich mc

so bring her along, dinner is included.lol i ve been married over 30 years so i can joke about it. stick around the central region fly guys are busy,quad city group is too. perhaps a fly fishing outing can be made witha quick lesson ona woolly bugger. rich

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Hello and glad to have you in the group!


First off, there aren't any fly shops close, so you're looking to Chicago, Madison, or St. Louis for the closest shop.

I live in Bloomington/Normal and have to do a majority of my shopping online. Here are some of my favorite mail order sites:


http://www.feather-craft.com/ -St. Louis, MO


http://www.orvis.com/store/shop.aspx?dir_id=758&shop_id=1446&bhcp=1 -Orvis Company website


http://www.stoneriveroutfitters.com/ -Bedford, New Hampshire - great tying materials & THEE place to buy marabou.


If you're willing to hit the road, here are some great shops to hit (who doesn't like a good road-trip?):



http://www.onemorecast.com/ -Chicago--Joe carries Bugle Bugs & will mail anything if you call.


Bass Pro shop in Bolingbrook - They carry an excellent selection of tying materials!



http://www.flymasters.com/ -Indianapolis--This is a fabulous store. If they don't have it, you don't need it!


http://www.fontanasports.com/ -Madison, WI --West-side store has moved to a new location & expanded their inventory. Ask for Craig!


To cover the basics on flies you'll need a good selection of Clouser Minnows, Wooly Buggers (flashier the better), Murdich Minnows, Crayfish, Poppers, and divers. For sub-surface flies, white, olive, black, rust (or rootbeer), green, and chartreuse (or combinations of those) work well. Don't be affraid to go big on size. Bugle Bugs are highly recommended for poppers, as they are almost indistructable. Don't let the price of them scare you away! They will pay for themselves over time. The list goes on & on, but these will get ya going!


If you want to get into tying your own, all of us can make recommendations on what to buy / what not to buy.

Hope this give you something to go on... :)



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Thank you for the information so far! Just wondering when you can usually start fly fishing(water temp, air temp, month) and what to throw.

The last 2 yrs I started in mid March with water temps in the low 40's.I did very well in '08.Only fair last year which was true of 09's entire season for me.Until water temps get into the 50's fish slower water slowly with bottom hugging weighted flies, clousers,zonkers,meat whistles etc. I mostly use a floating line with a 9' 2or 3x tapered leader & pinch on a splitshot at the eye of the hook if the weighted fly's not getting down enuf.A lot of guys prefer sink tip lines or a 5' sinking polyleader attached to a floater.

Your main objective as a beginner should be to learn to cast well.Fish catching will follow.Unless you have someone to teach you books/booklets or videos are good tools to learn casting & other aspects of flyfishing.Go online & check out good teachers like Lefty Kreh etc.Whether or not you eventually catch as many fish as you did spin/baitfishing you should find flyfishing more enjoyable & involving.

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It's still plenty early. I was out yesterday for a couple hours on a popular stream and was skunked. Threw everything I had in every color imaginable and didn't have a single strike. That is typical this early in the year, especially after the winter we've had. Didn't have my thermometer with me, but would guess the water temp to be in the very low 40's.


The water sure looked nice; relatively clear with a heavy midge hatch going on. If it were a trout stream the fish would have been going nuts!



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Im from LaSalle. Small world. I have had the best luck with a brown/copper colored Wooly Bugger, easy to fish and easy to tie. When the rivers are a little more muddy ill switch to a black wooly bugger with chart. eyes or a chart. an white Clouser minnow, another easy fly to tie.

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