Best Fly Tying Hair (2023 Buyer’s Guide)

The best fly tying hair is going to give your fly a more realistic look. Which will eventually lead to more fish and better fishing.

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There are many different types of fly tying hair out there. The best fly tying hair is easy to tie, durable, and readily available in most fly shops.

When you choose the correct hair, you’ll be able to tie endless amounts of flies that will entice fish from every species, from saltwater to freshwater.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about fly tying hair, check out the information below. I’ll go over features and products, as well as how to use them.

What Is Fly Tying Hair?

The best hair for fly tying can be taken from just about any type of animal or made from synthetic material. When used on flies, it gives them a more lifelike look.

Some brighter colors can be used in order to induce strikes from fish. A bright orange or red can cause a reaction strike, which is useful during times where fish aren’t feeding.

fly tying hair materials

Hair can be used in so many different ways, so these ways can be tough to narrow down. Basically, if you have a good base of fly tying hair at your tying station, you’re be in good shape.

When to Use Fly Tying Hair

You’ll be using some type of fly tying hair just about every time you tie a fly. There are a couple of patterns that don’t require it, such as flies with foam bodies or some nymph patterns.

For the most part, though, you’ll be using hair for just about any type of fly you can think of: dries, streamers, poppers, nymphs, and wet flies. The choices are endless.

Deer hair or elk hair is especially popular. These are most often used on big dry flies, and these flies are typically known as some of the most effective dry flies ever made.

Types of Hair

Below, I’ll go over several different types of fly tying hair. Each of these has its own pros and cons, so think about what you’re looking for and apply it to this section.

Deer Hair

Spun deer hair is similar to elk. This is the best hair material to use on dry flies as well as poppers. These work wonderfully on largemouth and smallmouth bass.

A great option for fly tying deer hair is this assortment by Creative Angler.

Elk Hair

Elk hair is a staple in fly tying. It’s known for creating some of the most popular and most successful dry flies ever. It can be used to tie Muddles, caddis wings, and also tails. It’s the best hair fly tying material for dries.

The above-linked assortment by Creative Angler also includes some high-quality elk hair.

Calf Body Hair

For this type of hair, you’ll be tying a lot of bonefish patterns and split-wing dry fly patterns. This is the best hair material for fly tying posts into patterns. Hairline sells a great calf body hair, which you can order on Amazon here.

Calf Tail Hair

Tail hair is very fine and almost crinkly, making it great for tying small Wulff dry flies. So, if you enjoy throwing small dries, this is a great selection for you. Hairline has this assortment of premium calf tail hair available on Amazon.

What Makes Good Fly Tying Hair

Below, I’ll go over several different features of fly tying hair. Each has its own pros and cons, so think about what you need and apply it to the list.


Several different types of hair are very difficult to find. You’ll need to special order it through a fly shop, or you can shop for it online.

However, there are some hairs, such as deer and elk, that just every fly shop will carry. These are great for tying patterns at the last minute and you don’t have to wait for them to arrive.

Location of Hair on the Animal

Where the hair is located on animals, especially on deer and elk, plays a large role in what type of fly they’ll work best for.

A collection of fly fishing flies and a fly fishing rod

Anything along the body is good for making bass bugs or anything where hoppers would work well. Meanwhile, anything along the tail is great for streamers.

Hair Texture

There are three main types of hair texture that you’ll be able to fine: fine, medium, and coarse. A fine-textured hair won’t flair and is great for tying wings and tails on flies.

A medium-textured hair has a small flair to it to around a 45-degree angle. A coarse texture flares up to 90 degrees and is great for Muddlers and bass bugs.


A hair that’s very stiff is great for tying tying dry flies. This is because they form a terrifically straight and stiff tail that can help support the weight of the fly and keep it on top of the water.

Soft hair is great for just about all winging. This is because it makes them easier to compress on the hook, but it’ll still be strong enough to prevent it from looking sloppy.

Best Fly Tying Hair

Below, I’ll cover three different products. Check them out and see which one you like best and want to add to your fly tying arsenal!

Dr. Fish Elk Hair

The Dr. Fish Elk Hair pack contains two natural pads of elk hair that’s ready to be snipped off and tied onto the fly of your choice. Winters Hope uses only the best quality materials for their fur.

In total, the pieces are seven inches across, giving you more than enough fur to tie Elk Hair Caddis and other big dry patterns to your heart’s content.



Creative Angler Deer Hair

Creative Angler has a wide selection of both naturally colored as well as dyed deer hair. With these, you can create all different types of flies with whatever color you prefer.

This hair is from the belly of the deer, which means it’s longer and coarser hair. It’s great for bass bugs as well as mice, and it’s ideal for spinning.

Creative Angler Animal Fur Kit

If you’re looking to just start out in fly tying, then this a great fur kit. It comes with elk, moose, and deer hair, allowing you to tie several different types of flies.

This is also great for someone who just enjoys using all three different types of animal fur for their own tying purposes. This gives you the freedom to tie whichever fly you need.


Now that I’ve gone over the different types of animal hair, hopefully you now see the benefits of each type and how they can help you while fishing.

So, head on down to your local fly shop and pick some up!

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Dallas spends most of his time chasing brook trout in the mountain streams of his home state of Virginia and paddling around farm ponds throwing wooly buggers to bream and bass. When not fishing he's writing about fishing and has been published in The Virginia Sportsman, Southern Culture on the Fly as well as other fly fishing and outdoor sites.

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