An Introduction to Nature's Spirit Materials

The best materials you didn't know existed.

Nature's Spirit X-Caddis Hair
I'm a self-admitted sicko when it comes to collecting materials for tying flies. I have more materials than I know what to do with and I'm always looking for more, so I feel I have a good handle on the brands and vendors out there. So imagine my surprise, if we flash back a number of years ago, Cheech suggested I try out materials from a "new" company, Nature's Spirit, I'd never heard of, that specializes in natural materials. So I trucked on down to a local fly shop and bought a few packs of dubbing and some biots to try out. Not only did they have a great selection and quality of biots, but the dubbings I got matched in color almost perfectly. 

Then there's the deer and elk hair. Until I tied with a patch of Nature's Spirit comparadun hair, I didn't realize how crappy the hair was that I was using previously. It was that good. And I'm not joking here, but my EHC's, comparaduns and any other hair pattern dries immediately got an upgrade. I literally tossed all my previously tied patterns for ones I tied with the "new" hair. If you need to know how to tell the good from the bad in selecting hair, Cheech explains it nicely in an article we did a while back.

Speaking of Cheech, here's his take related to his experience with Nature's Spirit:

"I was first introduced to Nature's Spirit products when I was tying a bunch of foam stimulators for people.  Their Elk hair had nice and short black tips and it flared just the right amount that allowed me to tie dozens of stimulators for people without experiencing a bad hair day.  I tried their biots next - they weren't brittle, and there was very little unusable material in the package.  My only complaint is that we now have a warehouse full of the stuff, and I need to pace myself when I take it home with me.  Again, it's a huge challenge when dealing with natural materials because all beasts of the field are different.  I'm glad they take the time to go seek out the best stuff to sell."

So how is it that their materials are so good? These guys hunt down the best of the best when it comes to deer, elk and moose (and duck and geese and pheasants and...). They literally shut down operations in the fall and go on the hunt for the highest quality materials from their various material sources, choosing only the best quality tying materials they can find. And from there, the materials are inspected, sorted and, where needed, dyed to exacting standards.

So why is that I'd not heard of them and why are so many people today mostly unaware of their existence? The answer is simple: Nature's Spirit is a small family run business with very selective tastes in materials and doesn't believe in mass-distribution and commodization of their products. In other words, I doubt you'll ever find their products in big-box sporting goods stores.

Related to that, my only beef (until now) is that it's relatively tough to find their products. I'd tried a
Hard-to-find Snowshoe rabbit feet
few local shops (not much selection) and online vendors, but had mixed results and their web stores that didn't inspire confidence. Plus they had hardly any photos to show me what I was buying. So when we started our little Fly Fish Food venture a couple of years back, we had Nature's Spirit on the radar. But we wanted to to it right from the get-go. And now after a lot of work to make sure we brought them in with the right product mix and a relatively complete product offering, we're proud to say we've got the Holy Grail of natural fly tying materials. Plus, we took it a step further and made sure that we took decent product photos and created a complete color chart or color-specific photos for each product line (where applicable). Because their products are all dyed by a color ninja, we've seen that there is a very strong color correlation across different product lines. So if you get a pack of CDC that's "Baetis" colored, you can bet that the Fine dry fly dubbing in "Baetis" will be a spot-on match.

Anyway, look to see more products in the future and look to have these tasty morsels featured in many a tutorial to come!

Check them out here: Deer, Elk, Moose and Calf Hair  --  Feathers  -- Dubbings