All You Need to Know: The PHWFF Fly Tying Competition

Now in its 10th year, the Project Healing Waters Fly Tying Competition is focused on expanding the therapeutic experience for PHWFF disabled veteran participants by giving them the opportunity to showcase their fly tying skills and creativity in a fun contest.

The PHWFF Fly Tying Competition has grown each year since it’s inception in 2012 and since that time we have been delighted and astounded to see the remarkable patterns and flies submitted from PHWFF programs across the country.  Are you looking for more answers about the 10th Annual PHWFF Fly Tying Competition? Look no further! We’ve outlined all you need to know below. 


What is the PHWFF Fly Tying Competition? The Project Healing Waters Fly Tying Competition is an annual program focused on expanding the therapeutic experience for PHWFF disabled veterans participants by giving them the opportunity to showcase their fly tying skills and creativity in a fun contest.  The competition features two rounds of judging: a public round and a finals round. Only individuals who meet the definitions of a registered PHWFF participant are eligible to enter flies in the competition.

When can flies be entered? The submission period runs from August 1 – October 1, 2022. Entries must be submitted by 11:59pm eastern standard time on October 1, 2021. Only registered participants in the PHWFF program who are registered in an active PHWFF program are eligible to submit flies. Professional or sponsored fly-tiers are not eligible to participate.

What are the National Fly Tying Competition Categories? PHWFF HQ will recognize the top three winners (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) in each category as outlined below:

  • Category 1 – Beginner: This category is for participants new to fly tying with less than one year of fly tying experience.
  • Category 2 – Intermediate: This category is for participants with two to three years of fly tying experience.
  • Category 3 – Advanced: This category is for participants with four or more years of fly tying experience
  • Category 4 – Veteran Ambassador. This category is for individuals registered as both active participants and active volunteer with a PHWFF program.

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When can I vote? The Public Voting Round is open from October 4 – 13, 2022.

Where do I vote? Voting will be open to the public at www.projecthealingwaters.org beginning on October 4, 2022

You can access voting at www.projecthealingwaters.org and on Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing social media accounts on FacebookTwitter and Instagram from October 4 – October 13, 2022. (Just click the icons below to get connected)

Who can vote? Anyone! Voting is open to the public

We encourage you to share your favorite flies with your friends and family online. Sharing the competition and rallying others to vote is a great way to celebrate the tremendous talents of PHWFF veteran participants and to raise awareness of PHWFF programs.

How do I vote? It’s easy! Just visit www.projecthealingwaters.org, login to the Judging platform, and click “Vote” beneath your favorite Beginner Fly, Intermediate Fly, and Advanced Fly. You have one (1) vote per category but you can rally your friends, family and colleagues to vote by sharing your selections on social media or by email.

How many times can I vote? You can vote one (1) time per category. Select your favorite Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced fly and click “Vote” beneath the entry.

What criteria is used in judging? Each entry has an abundance of information for you to enjoy. Just click on an entry to view photos, participant information, and details about the fly. You can use the following criteria to help guide your votes:

Criteria #Criteria TitleCriteria Description
1FlyStyle, Creativity, Functionality and Appearance
2StoryHow well do they describe their fly, the
experience tying it, and why fly tying is
beneficial to them


What happens after the public voting round? The top flies from each judging category will advance to the finals with an expert panel of judges who will determine 1st, 2nd & 3rd place in each category.

The finals are conducted exclusively by an expert panel of judges who will determine the first, second, and third place winners in each category. Below are the six judging criteria categories that they will use.

1) Color Harmony – This category is determined by the blended harmony of colors to display lateral lines, tails, and
bug extremities.
2) Scale and Proportion – This category is defined as creating appropriate proportions of each fly’s components –
thorax, throat, tail for example – retain appropriate scale and proportion for the selected hook size.
3) Material Use – This category is defined as using the proper type of material(s) for the fly tied – hackle too big or
too small for fly -for example.
4) Technique – This category is defined as the overall quality and level of difficulty of the fly.
5) Proper Thread Use – This category is defined as applying even and neat thread wraps without overcrowding the
eye of the hook, as well as other thread uses such as a dubbing loop.
6) Overall Style – This category is defined as the fly’s creativity and appearance.

When are finalists announced? The finalists will be announced on October 14, 2022 at www.projecthealingwaters.org and on official Project Healing Waters social media accounts. (Click the icons below to get connected)

When are winners announced? The winners will be announced on October 20, 2022 at www.projecthealingwaters.org and on official Project Healing Waters social media accounts. (Click the icons below to get connected)

What do the winners receive? 1st place winner from Category 1-3 will receive a $600 Orvis gift card. 2nd place winner from each category will receive a $300 Orvis gift card. 3rd place winner from each category will receive a $150 Orvis gift card. All 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners in each category will receive an award plaque.

Veteran Ambassador Participant (Category 4): All 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners in this category will receive an award plaque.

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