The Orvis knot is named after the Orvis company. It was called Orvis knot after Orvis held a contest years ago that was all about tieing the strongest new tippet to fly knot. This knot was the winner of the contest and Orvis bought the right to name it from the fisherman who tied it.
It is incredibly easy to tie and it’s one of the best fly fishing knots to use for attaching a small fly, like a dry fly or nymph, to your leader or tippet material.
You can also use it to join your leader to your fly line if there is a loop in the fly line, but a loop-to-loop connection is more convenient in my eyes.
I learned to tie the Orvis knot years ago and it became a go-to knot for me when fly fishing with tiny size 22 flies. It’s a bit like a clinch knot and surgeons knot fly fishing combined with a twist.
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How To Tie The Orvis Knot
Take your leader or tippet and thread the tag end of the line through the eye of the hook. Run the tag end under the standing line and over it to form a loop. It should look a bit like a figure of eight knot at this point.
Pass the tag end through the first loop you just made next to the eye of the hook once. This will have formed a second loop around the main line. Now, take the tag end and wrap it around the top end of the second loop twice.
Lubricate the knot and line with saliva and pull the standing end of the leader line to secure and tighten it once. Then keep pulling on the standing line until the knot slides to touch the eye of the hook and sits tight against it. Trim the tag ends. You have just finished tying the Orvis knot.
- Remember that Step 1 forms a figure of 8 knot
- Strong with fluorocarbon and nylon mono but not braid
Here is a free video for you to watch which shows all the steps of tying the Orvis knot.
How strong is the Orvis knot?
The Orvis knot is a super-strong line-to hook knot, and I couldn’t quite believe how strong it is for such a simple knot.
When tied correctly, the Orvis knot has a knot strength of close to 100%, meaning its strength is about 95% of the mono line used to tie it.
This means if you’re fly fishing with a 5 lb line, the knot will have a breaking strain of over 4.5 lbs of pressure. This makes it stronger than a clinch knot and a loop knot.
What is the Orvis Knot used for?
The Orvis knot is the best knot to tie a small fly to a light line. It’s very reliable, sits tight and secure, doesn’t slip, and has a serious breaking strain.
The reason it works well with small flies is that it forms a small head that doesn’t get in the way of small flies, allowing them to fish correctly, unlike a clinch that has a big head when next to a size 22 fly.
You can also use this knot to connect your leader to your fly fishing line. I much prefer loop knots, as two loops make it easy to change a leader. But, if you’re fishing at dusk, this knot comes in handy as it’s easy to tie in low light conditions.
It’s not a knot you would use to join two lines together. But there is a variation called the Orvis tippet knot that is similar to a double surgeons knot that works well for tying two lines together.
Are there disadvantages to the Orvis knot?
While the Orvis knot is a strong knot to fish a small fly with it does have a few issues. Firstly, the end will sit out and collect weeds dirt behind it while you’re fishing. And secondly, when you pull to secure the knot, it gets a bend in it and your lines and fly will sit at an angle.
These are minor issues that don’t come into play when drifting a dry or nymph on a clean river but they might cause some issues when fishing a streamer.
You can see our post here on how to tie an improved clinch knot if you’re looking to learn a new knot for fly fishing.
How strong is the Orvis tippet knot?
The Orvis tippet knot is a strong secure knot that breaks at around 94% of the line used to tie its breaking strain. So it’s a strong knot, just as good as the double surgeon.