I like fly fishing. And fly tying. I might even like the tying part more than the fishing... especially in February.
I'm pretty new at this so there's no expert advice here. Instead, I'll share some descriptions of the gear I like, and some pointers to online resources for fly fishing and tying.
Fly fishing is, for me, a great way to get out and be in the natural world. I love casting to a rise, the sight of water droplets on an old cane rod, the feel of the sun on my back as the mist rises from the water, the sounds of the stream, the conversations about wooly buggers and tippets and spawning browns. I mostly practice catch & release but once in a while I'll practice a bit of catch & cook. Trout caught on a paddling trip are definitely the best trout of all. So where are my favorite spots? Yeah, right. Like I'd tell!
My gear is a collection of newbie trials and errors and includes a 5wt Orvis Silver Label full flex rod, a 2 wt TFO rod, some William Joseph and Fishpond paraphernalia, and whatever I could afford on ebay. Most works fine, some doesn't work at all. As I said, I'm pretty new at this.
Fly Tying is addicting. No kidding. And the flies have really cool names... Ratfaced McDougal, Wooly Bugger, Tup's Indispensible, Royal Coachman.... you see? I use a Griffin Montana Mongoose vise clamped to an Oasis bench that I won in the monthly drawing on FAOL. I light it all up with an Giraffe Lamp so I can see what I'm doing. For me the secret of fly tying has been to have fun and to avoid impossibly high standards. Don't get me wrong, I try my best. And for me my best is good enough. Sometimes the fish even agree. The absolute best way for me to learn has been a combination of getting together with local tyers, following Al Campbell's online tutorial on FAOL, and joining fly swaps. Fly swaps are really cool. Somebody comes up a theme (like "Dry Flies", or "Streamers", or "Flies with Ridiculous Names" and invites a bunch of other tyers to tie up a bunch of one fly and then redistributes them to all participants. So, for example, I could tie up a bunch of Green Weenies and get back one each of a dozen different flies. Great way to learn, share, and have some fun when the days are short and the guides are icy.
FAOL Rod Building with Al Campbell
Catskill Flies Stream Conditions (from an excellent fly shop in Roscoe, NY)
Fly Fishing Resource Guide (Thanks, Lily!)