Fly Tying Group
Nelson Table
(first posted November 19, 2008; last updated November 19, 2008)


Dick Nelson tying with his wife and son at Conclave 2004
(No, a Nelson Table is not a table with 3 Nelsons!)

The Nelson Table is named after the originator of the concept, Dick Nelson, who is the namesake of the Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award and was the 1987 Buszek Award winner. The purpose of the table is to help a tying class instructor analyze a set of fly patterns in terms of:

(1) The skills each pattern

(a) requires
(b) teaches

(2) How well the patterns

(a) reinforce
(b) build on the previous skills learned, and

(3) If a full range of fly tying techniques is covered.

This tool's analysis capability is not perfect, and its usefulness partly depends on the skill with which it is built. However imperfect it is, it is still another tool in a fly instructor's toolbox that can help them develop a great selection of flies for a class. The exact flies chosen depends on many other factors: the class's location in the country, the student's skill level, the tastes and talents of the instructor, etc. This tool is presented to you for your consideration in the hope that it will help you make a better choice of patterns.

Sample Nelson Table for a Beginner's Class in the West

TECHNIQUE
jam knot
tail tie in
palmer wrapping
half hitch
whip finish
soft hackle
dry hackle
wings
posting
dubbing
DAY
Fly Pattern
One
Wooly Bugger
.
.
.
.
.
.
Two
Wooly Worm
.
.
.
.
.
.
Green Rockworm
.
.
.
.
.
.
Three
Deer hair caddis
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Soft hackle
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.
Four
Adams
.
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.
etc
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.
etc
.
Five
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Etc
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