Fly-Tying Thread & Wire

15 Results


The most common thread varieties used for fly tying are high-quality nylon, polyester, and gel-spun polyethylene sewing threads, specifically made for fly-tying applications. Natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk, and more obscure synthetic fibers like Kevlar and rayon are also used in some fly-tying patterns. Fly tyers will often specify the brand of thread they prefer to use in a pattern because of its properties, such as strength, elasticity, slipperiness or grippiness, and brightness of colors. If a pattern suggests a specific thread, it’s worth purchasing that brand or material, as the tyer likely chose it for its properties. Some threads may simply be preferred for building tapered bodies more effectively and smoothly, while others may be preferred for their strength so you can wrench down on your wraps to secure materials tightly. 

“Six-aught” or 6/0 is thicker than “eight-aught” or 8/0. In aught sizing, the bigger the first number, the thinner the thread. Tim Flagler further dispels some of the mysteries of fly-tying thread sizing in this helpful video.

UTC is flat and ribbonlike while Uni is more round and ropelike. Because of its shape, UTC is preferred for tying slimmer profiles and can be split for applying dubbing, while Uni’s round shape is preferred for its grip and strength.

When asking which thread is the strongest for tying flies, you must also ask for which application. You wouldn’t want to use the strongest thread preferred for a 2/0 Deceiver on a #24 midge dry fly. In general, the strongest thread material for its weight is gel-spun polyethylene (GSP).

Technically, you don’t need a special thread for tying flies, but using thread designed for tying flies is strongly recommended over using regular sewing thread. Specified fly-tying threads from Orvis, Veevus, and other top brands are thinner, stronger, and easier to work with than common craft thread. For about the same cost (or sometimes just a few cents more) fly-tying threads will help your flies withstand the abuse of rocks, water, and hopefully, fish mouths, where sewing threads will fray, break, and result in the destruction of your fly.

The best color thread for fly tying is the one that most closely matches the pattern you’re tying; for example, if you’re tying a black woolly bugger, then black thread would be best. Many times, your thread color just needs to be close to the color of the other materials, while in other instances, the best thread color may be in contrast to the materials. If you’re looking to purchase the best colors of fly-tying thread, choose the most popular colors: black, white, olive, tan, gray, and red. For a few bucks, you’ll have the colors you need to tie dozens or even hundreds of fly patterns.

The right size wire for fly tying depends on the type of wire and the pattern and size of fly you intend to tie. Wires are used for three purposes in fly tying: weight, body, and ribbing. Wires used for weight are often lead-free (but some are made of lead), and come in sizes commonly ranging from 0.015” to 0.03”. The smaller sizes are preferred for small nymphs and the larger sizes are preferred for streamers. Wires used for bodies and ribbing come in a variety of colors and they’re often sold in sizes on the hundredth-of-a-millimeter scale (0.10 mm to 0.30 mm) or on a small, medium, and large scale. For body and ribbing wire, 0.16 mm or small is best for dry flies and small nymphs, 0.22 or brassie is ideal for most nymphs and some streamers, and o.32 or medium is best for large streamers.

The Best Thread & Wire for Fly Tying

The options in Orvis fly-tying thread and wire let you pull tighter, make stronger flies, and give your flies the right weight and ribbing colors. Choose from the most popular colors of fly-tying thread made from nylon, polyester, and GSP to make your flies strong and realistic. When you need to sink a nymph or streamer faster, choose our non-toxic, lead-free weighted wire to get that fly down to where the fish are feeding. And when you’re tying Copper Johns or securing woolly bugger hackle for extra strength, make your wraps with our Ultra Wire. We have all the fly-tying threads, wires, and tinsels you need to tie the most popular and obscure flies.