South Bend Tie-A-Thon Celebrates 10th Anniversary April 16

Members of the St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers, a South Bend, Ind.-based Federation of Fly Fishers associate club, and the Kalamazoo, Mich. Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited are celebrating 10 years of donating hand-tied flies to various causes where fly fishing is used for educational or therapeutic purposes. Over the past decade, volunteers from these fly-fishing groups, along with other fly clubs and supporters from around the country, have donated just over 85,500 flies through their annual ‘Tie-A-Thon’ to various causes. It’s estimated that the flies tied during the events have a value exceeding more than $250,000.

This coming April 16, members of the South Bend, Kalamazoo and other Indiana and Michigan-based fly fishing clubs will come together for the 10th Annual Tie-A-Thon to tie flies, this year benefitting Casting for Recovery Michigan. The event is being held at the Elkhart, Ind. Conservation Club, which has donated their use of their facility again.

About the Recipient

Casting for Recovery (CfR) Michigan serves breast cancer survivors throughout the state, and has a retreat planned this year. Any woman who resides in Michigan and has received a breast cancer diagnosis will be eligible to apply.

CfR breast cancer retreats take women out of a clinical setting and into nature, where they can relax, share their experiences with other survivors, and learn the therapeutic sport of fly-fishing. The retreats also include counseling and medical education and are provided at no cost to the participants.

Sandy Thomley is the new Program Coordinator for the CfR Michigan Program. She and a local volunteer team are busy planning, fundraising, recruiting volunteers and conducting outreach for their 2016 retreat. For more information, please check out:

What is the Tie-A-Thon?

The premise of the Tie-A-Thon is like an old fashion barn raisin’ where several tyers tie as many flies as they during the Saturday, April 16 event. Along with members of the St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers and Kalamazoo Valley TU chapter, other groups are joining forces again this year to tie flies including The Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock, Reel Women – Reel Men of Indianapolis, Grand Rapids Fly Tyers, Flygirls of Michigan, Anglers of the Au Sable, Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Duneland Fly Fishers and many more individuals from all over the country.

The tiers will come together to tie 100 flies each on April 16 starting at 8 am, and at the end of the day – tying ends at 5 pm, will try their very best to surpass the previous all-time high of 13,300 flies raised at a previous Tie-A-Thon.

If interested in participating, pick just one pattern to tie, buy a box of 100 hooks and needed materials and get tying! At the April 16 gathering in Elkhart, Ind., Terry Wittorp, Tie-A-Thon ‘head chef’ “will have a spectacular lunch for all the tyers – which is worth at least 200 flies, but we will give you a break. Everyone is welcome, but please let us know so we can plan having plenty for everyone,” said Tie-A-Thon organizer Tim Scott. “Also, to keep the excitement level up while tying, we will have a guest tyer every other hour to show off special patterns. A video system set up will make it easy to see from your tying station.”

If you are not a fast tyer and don’t think you can complete your 100 flies during the allotted time, it’s OK to get a jump on your tying prior to April 16. Plus the organizers wlil certainly take more than 100 from anyone if they are ambitious and want to tie flies in advance. You don’t have to be an expert tyer to donate flies. Many first time fly tyers have participated, with the Tie-A-Thon giving them a chance to become very good tying at least one fly. For those who need some assistance on learning a pattern to tie, contact Tim Scott via email at

The more than 85,500 flies from previous Tie-A-Thons have been donated for use at youth camps conducted by the Kalamazoo Valley TU chapter and the Brotherhood of the Junglecock, plus fly-fishing event organized by Reel and Heal of Toledo, Ohio, Casting for Recovery of Indiana, Project Healing Waters, Reel Recovery, National Fishing Program, Warriors and Quiet Waters of Montana, and Flyin’ Heroes of Muskegon, Mich.

Pick a pattern, tie it up and donate to the Tie-A-Thon!

These are the flies the organizers ask to be tied – tie 100 flies of one pattern –

Fly                                                                           Size

Adams                                                                     14

Ant                                                                          18 – 20

Beetles                                                                    18 – 14

Blue Wing Olive Emerger                                           18 – 22

Caddis Nymph                                                          16 – 18

Clouser’s Minnow                                                      8

Cone-Head white rabbit leaches                                 4-6

Elk Hair Caddis                                                           14 – 16

Griffith Gnat                                                               20 – 22

Hare’s Ear                                                                   12 – 14

Mickey Finn                                                                  8

Nuke Eggs                                                                   10 – 4

Pheasant Tail                                                                14 – 16

Soft Hackle                                                                  14 – 16

Woolly Bugger                                                              10


For more information and questions, contact Tim Scott at 574.538.1936 or at, Terry Wittrop at 269.424.5138 or – or vist the club web sites at and For directions to the Elkhart Conservation Club, visit –


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