By carefully steaming a dry fly that has been used you can easily restore the hackle
This is a good time of the year to go through your fly boxes and separate them into 3 grades.
1. Those which are fine the way they are.
2. Those which are in bad shape which need to be discarded and replaced.
3. Those that need help.
For example, dry flies which are matted and dirty can often be brought back to excellent shape by steaming very carefully over a tea kettle. Nymphs and streamers which are missing wings or tails can be dressed up by carefully tying in the missing parts with your fly tying kit. Flies which have tippet material knotted in the eye can be cleaned up with a needle and clippers. Flies on which the knot at the head of the fly is coming untied can be saved by applying a new whip finish to the eye of the fly. Parachute drys on which the hackle is coming unwrapped can be made fishable by removing the hackle completely and fishing them as no-hackle drys in flat water. Any flies that have been fished a great amount can last longer by applying a drop of cement to the head.
Listen to Harry’s Podcast Winterizing Your Fly Fishing Equipment for more information on the care of your tackle or check out our Videos.
UPDATE: Harry just published the below video on Caring for your Fly Fishing Flies.