With all the new materials and patterns that seem to come out every other day in the fly fishing industry, I thoroughly enjoy revolting against the "more, more, more" culture and getting back to simplicity.
Winter fly fishing is an excellent time to practice this in your tying. With numb hands, minimal bug activity, and less pressure on the water you can really hone in on technique, while being eloquently simple with your fly selection.
Eggs, midges, worms, scuds, and minnows all are excellent winter patterns.
Most often, creating these different patterns is simple and easy. Of course, some go to extreme lengths to make things as flashy, "new," and different/difficult as possible, and if you're that kind of guy or gal, enjoy yourself, but I am not. I like to simplify.
In fact, I thrive in simplicity.
Most of the patterns I fish are simple to tie, and seem to be just as, if not more, effective than more difficult "70 step" patterns. I urge you, for your sake, don't get lost in the catalogues of today's modern tying materials. You don't have to incorporate every new synthetic material into your 8 inch streamer patterns you may fling at browns one day of the year.
It's not that I am not interested in fishing 8 inch streamers to trout, but that if I was creating a pattern to do that, I would not feel the need to include 15 different materials. In tying, less is often more. Minimize materials, maximize your thought and planning into the pattern.
The questions we should ask are:
How can you get the most action, jigging, dashing, splashing, flashing, whatever into your fly?
What material does that thing best?
How can you incorporate it into your pattern to where it is simple, yet works incredibly well?
The interesting thing seems to be, people generally associate simplicity with getting back to older patterns: Buggers, Hare's Ears, Mickey Finns and such. That's not what I'm after.
I like to tie and create completely new patterns or tie new variations of old patterns (of course I have tied some of the old ones too).
After all, if flies are meant to be fished with we want them to 1) catch fish, 2) be easy to replicate for when they get stuck on a tree or rock, 3) not take an hour and a half to finish behind the vise, and 4) look good. If any of my patterns fail to do those four things I won't take the time to tie them. Unless, of course, it's for an order for someone.
Tie the way you want to, but for me, it's simple with style.