The Rats Nest



My flies showed up this morning. I've been putting them into the beast and giving them a look over as I do it… GREAT work! Well tied, good hooks and consistent! I haven't bought a fly for years, so I was a little hesitant to order them, but given the volume of flies I need to replace, it was a necessity. You did not disappoint! Thanks for taking care of that for me!"

Chris Martin


Just wanted to send a note to thank you for all the help you've given me in the last few months.  I only started fly fishing about a year and a half ago and quickly became addicted, as many of us do.  I quickly progressed to tying my own flies with the help of your very high quality tying videos and a private lesson. The time that you put into creating your videos makes them a great reference source even for a novice fly tyer.  The main reason for this note was to thank you for the best day of fly fishing that I have had yet as a fly fisherman.  I recently took up Euro Nymphing after spending the majority of my first year dry fly fishing.  Today, I went out and landed a mixed bag of seven browns and rainbows and had the hook spit on five others in just a short few hours on the water.  I had never even come close to catching, or even hooking, that many fish in one outing.  The fish were caught on a combination of your olive quill jig nymph that I tied up myself using your tutorial, and on one of your tan classified caddis that I purchased on your recent fly deal.  I attached a couple pictures of the fish.  Many of them had green elastomers over their right eye.

Thanks again for all your help."

-Chris Valko

Received my order last week and yesterday went to the Farmington for the first time all year.  Conditions were perfect and the fish were cooperative.  Your caddis pupa that I purchased was the fly of the day, it was like feeding hamburgers to Wimpy!     It was actually getting a little silly how many fish were taking that fly."

Anyways, thanks again,

-Ken Block

"Rich, just a few words about my progression as a fly angler since I started in August of 2008. When I first started, my wife would always ask on my return how many times did I fall in the river and how much stuff did I loose.  My answers were generally "a lot" on both.  When I started to utilize your guide services I was only looking to catch a couple of fish and not fall in the river.  Through your tutelage over the last two and a half years, not only do I not fall in as often, but I have become a better than average angler.  Now,  I know where fish hang out during different times of the year, and thanks to you, I fish all year round.   I now know what flies work most of the time,  and I really catch fish.  Also, my progression as a "euro nympher" has really increased my catch ratio.  But despite all the techniques you taught me, your patterns and flies, especially in the sub-surface area have changed the way I fish.   My number one fish catcher is your Rock Candy Larva, followed by the Shimmer Stone, and the newest member the latest Jig nymph. These patterns are so effective that last Sunday in a two hour stretch I brought 25 Browns, Rainbows, and Brook Trout  to my net in addition to breaking a bunch off.  I actually doubled up twice landing in tandem a rainbow and brookie, and then a brown and a brookie!  What a thrill. I can only advise folks who really want to learn how to catch fish to visit your website frequently.  And, If you ever start guiding again, I'll be first in line. Much Thanks for all your patience..  


“Rich, I wanted you to know that your tying videos and instruction have been a real inspiration to me in 2010.  At the beginning of the year, I said to myself THIS would be the year that I would stop obsessing about the landscaping and home projects and spend that time fishing (or fly tying).  I assembled all the tying materials I’ve collected over 15 years (and have never used), organized it,  and with the help of your videos I tied more flies this year than I have in the past 15 !!  Honestly I can’t thank you enough for providing such detailed, well presented tying videos for so many people to enjoy.  During the year, I emailed you a couple time with materials questions and you were always quick to respond.  I look forward to more of your tying insight....”

-Bob Heitman

“Rich made me comfortable right from the start even as I was struggling with the casting, he was constantly offering encouragement and advice.  He is loaded with information and has a real positive outlook.  I am really excited to practice the new techniques he taught.  I’m sure I will be back for more instruction in the future!”



Yesterday's trip was one of the most useful days I've spent on the water! You've opened a totally new way of fishing for me that opens lots and lots of new water and fishing opportunities for me! You were the perfect  guide, teacher and companion on the water! It was great fun too!

I'll also look forward to future tying videos. I know I'll be spending hours at the vise tying some of the anchor and dropper flies you've introduced me to.
Tight lines,
-Sy Balsen

I have been fortunate enough over the years to have been exposed to many types of fly fishing venues and the wide array of species these destinations provide. From permit and bonefishing in the keys as well as South America, trout, silver and king salmon fishing in Alaska to tuna, striper and every type of freshwater bass fishing here in the US. As such, I have used guides in virtually all of these venues with a mixed degree of success although I would have to say the experiences have been generally positive.

Never, however and I mean never have I encountered a guide with the expertise, professionalism and attention to detail that Rich Strolis has demonstrated in the three trips on the Farmington river in which we have interacted with one another. Whether it’s a discussion of entomology, seasonal variations and their affects during a typical year, appropriate lines/leaders/tippets, fly choices (more on that later) or any other tactical area of river fishing for trout, Rich clearly has a command not only of the mechanics of the sport but a rare appreciation for the art of fly fishing.

How many times have you wondered why the guide hasn’t taken the initiative to change flies on a timely basis as you flail away with a fly or a combination that isn’t working. Not with Rich. He is constantly inspecting for line tangles, depth adjustments and making fly changes until the right ones start producing. He doesn’t waste time so you won’t.

Rich ties all the flies used on any given trip. As his website, will demonstrate, he not only ties beautiful and most importantly effective flies but is quite innovative with some of his creations one of the latest of which is the Shimmer Stone. Generous to a fault, he shares these flies with us with some great instructional videos which include an archive for any late arrivals to his site. Don’t tie-no problem. He’ll make some for you and mail them off. Flies that catch fisherman won’t make the site; flies that catch fish do.

I write this testimonial with some trepidation. I’m still trying to book some dates for 2010 so take it easy on his calendar. Seriously, if you want to have a great day on the water and learn areas of fly fishing that you would be amazed you didn’t know, Rich Strolis is your guide. Most importantly, he is a real nice guy.

Bill Glass

Upper Housatonic River Trip – Lee, Massachusetts Area – November 23, 08

“Though I’ve lived in the area for almost five years now, and have been serious about trout fishing for the past three, I’d never managed to fish the upper portion of the Housatonic River until last week.  As seen from the description above, it was well worth the wait.

The premier trout rivers in Connecticut are the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers.  I’ve fished the former several times this season with Rich Strolis, an exceptional fly fishing guide and fly tier from the area.  When I asked about setting up this last trip, he recommended we try the Housatonic instead. 

Like any competent guide, Rich is in tune with the current status of area fisheries, i.e. what’s hatching, whether the fish are active, etc.  However, Rich applies his analysis, both in observing fishing conditions and for fly design, with a level of scientific rigor that’s not commonly encountered.    He’s a master of fooling trout and I have had several  terrific day’s with Rich and would not hesitate to recommend his services to anyone.  As with other trips we’ve taken, it’s been another perfect mix of learning new techniques and fantastic fishing.  We had a perfect day and caught plenty of beautiful trout – I couldn’t have asked for a better time”.
*Josh Fine* 

Dear Rich,

As a life long fisherman who only took up fly fishing a few years ago, I always considered fly fishing an elegant and purist form of fishing, but one that maintained an inherent disadvantage for the fisherman.  Kind of like bow hunting for the deer hunter.  After one day of fishing in the Farmington River with you, Rich, my whole outlook has changed.  You showed me that fly fishing, in addition to being elegant and beautiful, can be a highly productive method of fishing.  There’s just a lot to learn!  I lost a lot of fish but I also caught a lot of fish and overall I had one of the most fun days of fishing of my life!  I would tell any prospective client that you could look long and far and you would have a very hard time finding anyone out there with the level of skill and knowledge that Rich Strolis brings to the river, not to mention a positive and easy going attitude.

Thanks again for a terrific time and I am already starting to think about my next trip with you!”

*Dan Bawabe*

“Thanks again for the great day.  I really appreciated your patience in teaching me to improve my nymphing techniques and showing me some great places to fish on the Farmington.  We hooked into some really nice fish in some beautiful spots, and I had a great time doing it.  After our time was over, I was able to use those techniques you showed me to get a few more fish to end the day”.

*Josh Kessler*

“Hi Rich. I just wanted to let you know that if not for your BWO flymph I would have gone home empty-handed a few days ago! First cast, and....BOOM! And nobody else caught anything! So I just wanted to say thank you (again) for so kindly sharing you expertise with those of us who are learning how to tie flies. From Carole, the lady with the gray hair who watches you like a hawk when you tie!”

*Carole Grob*

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