And the winner of the Orvis Fly Tying Contest is. . .

We put the word out and you delivered!

We admit; it took us longer than expected to choose winning entries because there were so many (over 1100!) and because they were so good. To thank you for your patience, we threw an extra signed copy of the Orvis Fly Tying Guide into the mix and chose an entry at random.

A little skinny on the judging criteria.

We picked the best half-dozen fly tiers and anglers on our staff and asked them to rate our entries on innovation in design, expected fishability, and of course appeal to the angler. Because we have not been able to fish any of these patterns we had to guess, but when you get as good as these tiers are you can just tell by looking at a fly how well it will fish. Because this was a fly pattern and not a fly photo contest, we tried to look beyond some of the fine macro photography in these entries, but realistically those with a good photo probably had a better chance. But then again there were some awesome photos that did not win so we like to think we were as objective as possible.

Without further ado, here are your winners.

First place
Fly by Scott Blackhurst of Meridian, Idaho.
All of our judges kept coming back to this one with statements like “Wow” “It’s so buggy” “I would fish that one in a heartbeat. I am going to tie a bunch”. Not only did this fly have all the right materials to create movement and the impression of an emerging insect, it had them in all the right places and in perfect proportions. I suspect this fly will be a killer for mayfly as well as caddisfly hatches. Scott’s fly will be included in our 2016 line.

Second place
Fly by Nick Vlahos of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
You don’t see many sand flea imitations, but you know fish other than pompano eat them all the time — stripers, snook, bonefish, and redfish for sure. And this one is so elegantly tied, with some innovative use of materials, that the judges were just blown away by it. Not only does it look cool, but judging by the way the materials are used it will have very lifelike motion in the water as well. Nick will receive a new Renzetii Vise.

Third place
Fly by Rick Nyles of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania
All of the judges said they have never seen biots used as a wing material in a dry fly, but this fly used them, probably to help simulate the wing profile and help balance the fly. With hair tails, biot body, and what looks like a combination of snowshoe rabbit and hare’s ear fur in the thorax, this is an all-natural fly with 21st century design aesthetic. Without even fishing this one we know it will be a top choice for really fussy trout. Rick will receive a signed copy of the Orvis Fly Tying Guide.

Up and Down Green Drake by Rick Nyles #OrvisFlyTying

A photo posted by Rick Nyles (@sky_blue_outfitters) on

Random draw
Fly by Jared Robbins of Gorham, Maine
Congratulations to our random draw winner, who likes to fish the salty shallows in and around Portland as well as those on Cape Cod and in Rhode Island. Jared will receive a signed copy of the Orvis Fly Tying Guide.


Congratulations again to all of our winners and thanks again for participating.

11 thoughts on “And the winner of the Orvis Fly Tying Contest is. . .”

  1. Three nice fly patterns, all very creative and that’s your comment, the barbs aren’t mashed. Someone always has to complaint about something.

    Congrats to the winners, nice batch of flies

  2. @ the barbed hook guy, you (or your hubris-infused comment) are such a perfect representation of the types of whiny little granola bar twits that regular fly fisherman try to distance themselves from. Have you ever tasted a pompano? You know some people actually do eat the fish that they catch and IT’S OK! Angels don’t lose their wings or anything just because you slapped one on the pit after a successful day.

    1. Right on! Catch & Release . . . into the grease. I have a friend who schools others in catch-and-release all around the world; the next thing I see is his post on FB where he’s shot up a bunch of partridge in Scotland. WTF is that? Do what you feel is right and stop preaching down your nose about what we should be doing. The research is getting pretty clear about the bias of releasing everything back into their watersheds. Start culling and eating again, it helps the balance more than not.

  3. Pingback: Scott Blackhurst,Orvis Fly Tying Winner | Fly Fishers of Idaho
  4. Wow! What a exceptional job by the tiers. Very creative with the materials and colors. Not an easy week at the office for the judges either! Chill out everybody. Spring is right around the corner.

  5. Somehow the pictures didn’t load on my computer, but I’m sure they were good. Congratulations to the winners!!

  6. Awesome tying! Congratulations to the winners. Orvis, I suggest doing this more often… what a great way to give recognition to some exceptional patterns and fly tying skills. Would be great if we could also see more of the other entries….


    Almero Retief, Ottawa, Canada

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