The Fly Shop in CA, Mad River Outfitters in Ohio, LL Bean in ME and Bears Den in MA all do a great job with flies and tying material. Each has a different emphasisI have gone down the rabbit hole on freshwater trout fishing since my trip in Nov. Currently I am just tying a lot of flies- probably 4 dozen... I make 4 or 5 of ea pattern I like (Thanks for all the tips and fly patterns- (25) Looking for Pics of Trout Flies | Page 2 | Dedicated To The Smallest Of Skiffs (microskiff.com) )
That said, how much does material matter in the dry fly world. Example- I was going to whip up some "Elk Hair Caddis" but I only have deer hair. I have a ton of deer hair/ buck tails since I tie a lot of saltwater patterns with it.... but I am not sure how many I would tie to justify ordering elk hair (my local shop has no elk).
Does the elk hair have a property (more buoyancy, etc) than deer hair- or is it just bad form to use deer hair!?!
Saw some mallard wing flies- same thing... I have pheasant tail, but no mallard....
How interchangeable are the materials in the dry fly world? I usually improvise with what I have- which is a lot of materials- but none which are really dry fly stuff... but prefer not to have to order a bunch of stuff if what I have works fine .
I don't need to get brownie points on the streams with the locals for having "properly tied" flies if that is what it is... but if the stuff adds value (which is what I am assuming), I am fine ordering away.
Also, any good online fly retailers recommended? I prefer not to order from Amazon - would rather support small companies even if a few dollars more.