Crafting flies and craft beer a perfect match

ST. PAUL — “This fly is a Bob Mitchell guide exclusive,” guide Evan Griggs said as wound materials around the shank of the #16 nymph hook locked in his vise.

From October to April, fly-tying enthusiasts gather at Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Steve Hoffman / Forum News Service

From October to April, fly-tying enthusiasts gather at Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Steve Hoffman / Forum News Service

Mark Houle, right, ties a small bead-head nymph while Evan Griggs offers a few tying tips. Steve Hoffman / Forum News Service

Mark Houle, right, ties a small bead-head nymph while Evan Griggs offers a few tying tips. Steve Hoffman / Forum News Service

Paul, Marce and Rose Gangl chose to tie the grey ghost — a classic featherwing streamer pattern that produces trout wherever they swim. Steve Hoffman / Forum News Service

Paul, Marce and Rose Gangl chose to tie the grey ghost — a classic featherwing streamer pattern that produces trout wherever they swim. Steve Hoffman / Forum News Service

“There’s not much to it, but on many winter days it’s the only fly you need to catch trout.”

Griggs, of Fridley, recently began his ninth year as a guide, but has been fly fishing for 18 years and tying flies for 12. “I guided on the Bighorn River in Montana straight out of high school,” Griggs said, “but missed the spring creeks and warm-water rivers of my home state.”

Griggs and a few dozen other tiers had taken over the back of the Lake Monster Brewing taproom in St. Paul for “Hops and Hoppers,” an open fly-tying night that combines “fly tying, camaraderie and beer.” During the past three years, that’s proven to be a winning combination.

Hops and Hoppers is organized by Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop, which is conveniently located about 30 steps from the back door of the brewery. “We get together on the first and third Tuesday of each month from October through April,” Griggs said.

Before 2008, Griggs said there were many more fly shops and more fly-fishing clubs in and around the Twin Cities. The recession forced several shops to close and many of the clubs disbanded. “We’re trying to bring people together again,” he added. 

For full article, go to: Brainerd Dispatch

Source, image(s), credits & more: Brainerd Dispatch | Steve Hoffman