Using found materials for your flies.
10 bucks for a feather?
In short the answer is no, in fact I use found materials probably as much as I do bought. There is something that just makes you grin when that goofy fly you named "Frankenstein" draws the eyes and opens the mouth of a quality fish. Not to mention how cheap the materials you find or come across in the day to day really are.
Meet squirrel dubbing
This stuff actually works great for flies tied on larger hooks. (14 or 15 and down) It is slightly thicker than bought dubbing but still maintains a solid amount of action in the water and the natural oils of the squirrel help the fly float. I tie nearly all my mayflies and stoneflies with squirrel dubbing. Just another way to make my small game hunts that much more valuable.
Around the house and useful: (or reasonably obtained)
Can't find fly hooks in Wal-Mart?
This one is honestly an area where you should probably find real fly hooks. However... These walleye/panfish hooks hold streamers just as well as many of the larger fly hooks. Perfect weighting and density for streamers meant to float just under the surface or over and through taller aquatic vegetation.
I love using deer hair. It's thick and rigid and makes perfect stonefly tail prongs. I also like to save some money and tie this up for walleye jigs. It's very easy to do and is a perfect lure. This tail I salted out for a couple days and now I have a supply that should last for long term and all I need to do is clip here and there when needed.
Other things to look out for:
- Chenille Substitues (Hello Joann fabrics)
- Small Metal Beads
- Freezer bag cut-outs for wings
- Dryer Lent for Dubbing (wash colors to vary dubbing color, you can two birds this and get free dubbing and score brownie points with the Mrs.)
- Waxed machine thread (for tying thread, I've used it and it does o.k.)
- Copper or metal wire for ribbing (this actually works just as good as store bought in my opinion and is way cheaper)
There are a lot of great ways to add to your lure making hobby, if you know of some good ones I've missed let me hear about it and I'll update the list.