Yukoners love their coffee.
Any weekday morning at 10, you can guarantee we are ordering our special Bean North blend, a double-double from Tim Hortons or non-fat, low foam, one sweet and low, tall latte from Starbucks.
There are no shortages of options for the discerning coffee junkies in town.
Coupled with the great coffee are usually a few conversations, comfy chairs, an Internet connection, sugar, milk or cream.
As of this past Friday, another great pairing has been introduced: coffee with fly tying.
With coffee in hand, a group of keen fly tyers took over a corner of the Main Street Starbucks to construct a Lake Trout fly pattern called the Lite-Brite Zonker.
Try to picture eight caffeinated people huddled around vises; dubbing, waxing and spinning hackles around a Size 6 hook.
Some may have called this sight nerdy, but I consider it a new creative community sharing a passion with one another.
The idea to host a public fly tying event was the brainchild of local guide and small fly shop owner, Steve Hahn. He wanted to get people together sharing and enjoying this normally solitary, crafty activity.
In addition to turning on newcomers, he recognized that there are many talented fly tyers in town who might want to get out of their basements to socialize and share tying tips, tricks and patterns.
Putting an informal call out through friends and those connected to the Yukon fishing community, he was pleased to see eight people attend.
With many being first-timers, the approach was to address flies in a step-by-step manner and at a comfortable pace. Hahn set everyone up with their own station, tying tools and enough materials to construct the fly. It was great to see the more experienced tyers assisting those new to this intricate activity.
The pattern of choice was a bit tricky with a couple of finicky dubbing steps.
Dubbing involves securing fluffy material along a vertical length of yarn. This dubbing is then wrapped around the shank of the fly to make up the body of the pattern.
In the end, everyone did remarkably well and I was thoroughly impressed with all of the finished flies.
Not only did they actually resemble the demo fly, but they were quite likely to catch a Yukon lake trout.
While I might not participate in the next knitting or comic book club event at the local coffee shop, it is great that we have this diversity in our winter city.
As far as I am concerned, doing something crafty with like-minded people helps build community and pass the time until the water flows free of ice.
These tying relationships turn into fishing relationships which inevitably get more people out fishing and enjoying the Yukon.
If you would like to participate in next month’s fly tying event, contact Steve Hahn directly at [email protected].