Arts and Crafts: Fly Tying with Shane Schuster


Location: Bend, OR & Reno, NV
Species: Brown Trout
Follow Shane on Instagram @dirty_rig_fly_co


Shane Schuster resides in Bend Oregon and Reno/Tahoe Nevada, commuting between the two for work as a firefighter and paramedic. Shane started fly fishing in 1995 and tying flies in 2011. “My fly tying journey began when I used to take my son at a young age to Lake Mead Nevada to fish for carp. I got the idea to take foam off an old couch in the garage and tie it to a hook, then cutting and shaping it to look like popcorn. The carp loved it and so did my son and I. That’s where the obsession began and hasn’t let up since.”

Why do you enjoy fly tying?

My creativity and crafting started in the early 80’s. My mother’s sister owned a flower shop in Wright Wood, CA. In order to get a lift ticket to the local ski lifts, I worked in the flower shop tying bows and helping with flower arrangements. Mostly it was from observing my mom and her sister’s creativity. Moving forward through the years, the holidays were always a time when arts and crafts came to play and I loved being creative. In 1995 when I started fly fishing, I noticed right away that fly fisherman on the Truckee River used their own custom ties to elicit strikes from picky fish. That's when my obsession of coming up with my own custom ties began.


Any big inspirations or fly tiers you admire?

To be honest, there’s so many people that I admire that have mentored me and have treated me very well. A few I would like to give thanks to would be Chuck Ragan, such an amazing person and friend/mentor, Juan Ramerez of Hopper Juan Fly Fishing, absolute friend and mentor, Tylor Boroff amazing tyer and true brother, Jeff Rowley of Rowley Bench Work, amazing friend and trouble maker, Eli & Dylan Gonzales, amazing fly tyers and two gents I look up to. There are so many others, the list goes on and on. Please don’t be offended if your name wasn’t mentioned. I love all fly tying, so chances are you’ve made an impact on my tying.


What is your favorite species to chase and why?
Hands down it has to be brown trout on the Truckee, because they can be so elusive, picky eaters, and trophy size. Bull trout wherever I can target them, because of their aggressiveness and size, along with the big streamer eats. Bonefish in Hawaii, because it’s Hawaii, but more so for big runs they put on and I enjoy the spot and stalk aspect.

Favorite patterns to tie?
Wow that’s a hard question to answer because I like to tie so many different patterns. One of the patterns I tie the most is a Crayfish pattern I designed, called the Crawnade. It’s a heavily weighted anchor fly designed to get itself and other flies deep into the run, such as on a high stick nymph rig or when Euro nymphing. It’s called the Crawnade because it’s so heavy, you’re better off lobbing it like a grenade rather than try to overhand cast it. But I also enjoy tying streamers, dry flies, foam flies, deer hair, and my signature holiday flies such as the Grinch.

Any advice for new fly tyers?
Let’s be honest, this is arts and craft for fly fisherman. Be kind and listen. Ask other fly tyers for advice and if they’re unwilling to share, you probably don’t want to hang with them anyway. Be humble. There are hundreds of amazing fly tyers out there. If you think you’ve come up with the best fly since sliced bread, trust me, it’s already been done. Never put other people’s fly tying down, no matter how bad you think it looks. Find something cool about their tie and post a positive comment. Like mom always said, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”


Favorite piece of water to guide/fish and why?
I have many bodies of water I like to fish and some I favor more than others, so I don’t want to blow those places up. But there is one that’s no secret anymore. Pyramid Lake in the Reno/Tahoe area of Nevada is a special place, not just because it’s right down the street from my house or because you can catch a 20 plus pound Cutthroat trout on the fly, but because of its history and how the local government and the Tribe have brought that lake back from pretty much extinction. Around 1995 or so they reintroduced the Pilot Peak strain cutthroat back into the lake to grow into monsters. I also love the fact that it’s a place where you and your friends/family can gather and camp, cook, fish and enjoy a little bit of grandpa’s cough syrup “whiskey” and tell tall tales of the one that got away. It’s a true Jurassic Lake type experience to be enjoyed with a group of friends and family.

What are some of the challenges our fisheries face that are important to you?
Dams, such as the ones on the Klamath River, that need to be removed to let spawning fish return. Etiquette, have some respect out there. Pinch your barbs. Don’t snag fish. Practice catch and release. Most of all leave it like you found it. Get involved in river clean ups and always pack a little trash out with you every time you fish. Get involved where you can and have pride in the places we get to fish while we still have them.