Fleming and Ellie May hit it off. He invited the youngster to tie a fly on camera, and over time created a regular "Focus on the Fly" segment for her. In one segment, Ellie May showed former Washington Redskins running back John Riggins how to tie the Elk Hair Caddis pattern.
That was a relatively large fly for her. Most of the ones she ties range from small to ridiculously small.
"I like to tie caddis- and midge-larva and pupa patterns, and ant patterns," she said. "I tie most of them from size 18 down to size 32."
She obviously has excellent eyesight; a size 32 hook is about half as big as a grain of rice. Flies tied that small don't require many materials, but they're tricky to tie.
Having parents who own a fly shop has its advantages. When Ellie May gets a little short on cash, she ties flies for the shop and gets paid for them.
"We don't pay her as much as we pay the other tiers, though," her mother teased.
Ellie May also does live fly tying demonstrations. She recently showed off her skills at the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show and ended up selling much of what she created.
"At one point she had a dozen Black Caddis Pupa tied and sitting on the table, and a pretty well-known local fly fisherman saw them and bought every one of them," Lisa said.
Ellie May also has gained a bit of a following from her national TV segments.
"A guy from Georgia called up and asked for her to send him a picture and some flies. She sent a dozen flies and an autographed picture," Lisa said.
Though she's still just a fifth-grader, Ellie May already knows what she would like to do someday - host an outdoors TV show of her own.
"I've hunted and fished in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and here at home," she said. "I'd like to keep doing those things, and to make a show from them - 'Ellie May Outdoors.'"
Barbie and Hello Kitty can just go hang.
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.