Learn How to Flyfish like you are a Seasoned Pro

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Fly fishing is classified as a specific type of fishing that involves a different approach than the typical bait the hook and cast. Fly fishing is more technical and requires more knowledge, attention, and skill than traditional fishing. It’s also classified as a more active type of fishing than others, since you’ll be walking through waist deep water at times.

Not only that, but it’s a fun type of challenging, so it makes the practice addicting. Many people find traditional fishing not as engaging, since there isn’t so much action that comes after you releasing the reel into the water. But fly fishing requires that you pay attention to your fly reel action the entire time. Given that, you may want to consider fly fishing. But don’t be intimidated by the challenge that many people ascribe it.

Here is a complete guide about how you can best learn to fly fish as well as all of the information you’ll need about where to start, what to purchase, and how to essentially go fly fishing in general.

Different Kinds of Fly Fishing

Generally, the most common types of fly fishing occur in either lakes or rivers, since it’s a practice that’s most popular among freshwater locations. Freshwater locations are easier to access and they have more fish at the surface, so you have a higher chance of actually catching a fish. Given that, you can choose between either a lake or a river to conduct your fly fishing, and both are able to offer a variety of benefits.

Fly Fishing in a River


Rivers differ greatly from lakes in the amount of water movement that occurs. In a over, the water is flowing constantly, so it may be more difficult to catch a fish, since you can’t see them really well. It can also be more dangerous for you, since you have to get up close to the water, and most of the time you may have to get into the water. With rivers that have stronger water currents, this can be dangerous, so you should always keep this in mind before heading out.


Lakes are usually a more relaxing way to go fly fishing than fishing in rivers, since the water movement isn’t as fast and drastic as it is in rivers. If you’re fishing in lakes, then it may be more difficult to try and find a certain spot to fish, since lakes tend to be larger bodies of water. Given that, you’re recommended to find spots that have a large amount of weeds, since the larger fish tend to lurk in the weeds and largely-vegetated spots.

Before Getting Started

Since fly fishing can be a tedious, challenging, and difficult process to get the hang of, you should consider a few things before getting started with the process. For instance, you should consider the license you need, where you want to go fly fishing as well as what type of fish you want to fish for.


LicenseOntario Fishing License

Depending on the specific state region that you live in, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right licensing requirements to certify that you’re legally allowed to go fishing. In most states, this constitutes a fishing license of some sort. Since each state tend to be different, you should make sure that you check the guidelines and requirements in your specific region.

If you get caught fishing without a fishing license, then you may not only be in trouble with the law, but they also have the right to take all of your fishing equipment away. You can find your state’s fishing requirements online, and you can most likely also find information about where you can purchase your fishing license around your location.


Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider before you go fishing is the certain location that you’re going fishing. Not all lakes and rivers may be ideal for fly fishing, so you’ll want to make sure that you choose a location that has a reputation for positive engagement from the fish for fly fishing. Not only is it important that you consider fishing at a certain body of water, but you should also consider where on the specific body of water you want to fish.

For instance, you should consider fly fishing near areas that have debris in the water, since the fish usually use these objects as protective barriers and even for feeding purposes. You may also find it helpful to fish in areas of a river that are downstream from any debris, since some larger fish may wait down there for smaller fish to fall downstream.

Additionally, the water levels in certain areas of the lake or river may be helpful to examine, since you’ll be able to visually see fish in the shallow parts of the water. Fishing in shallow parts of the water is beneficial because the fish sometimes lurk in these areas in order to search for food .

What are You Fishing For?

It may also be beneficial for you to consider what types of fish you’re planning on catching, since this will ultimately help you prepare for your fishing trip altogether. For instance, you should make sure that you have the right type of flies, location, time of day, as well as the right water conditions in order to go fishing for certain types of fish.

Most people go fly fishing in order to catch trout, since they’re the most likely fish that are attracted to the fly fishing techniques. But not many people are aware of the various other types of fish that you can catch while fly fishing. More specifically, you can also catch fish species like Carp, Bluegills, Jacks, Northern Pike, Walleyes, and even Whitefish.

fly fishing reel setups

Fishing Gear

The most important step in having a successful fly fishing trip is ensuring that you have the right type of gear to engage in the practice altogether.

Rod Setup

The type of rod that you use as well as the certain techniques that you conduct with the fly rod are vital in ensuring that you have a successful fly fishing trip. You should have a fishing rod that’s specifically designed for fly fishing, since they require a certain type of construction and attention to detail. Al fly rods come in various different weights and lengths, so the type of fly rod that you want depends on the specific type of fishing that you’ll be conducting.

Regarding the specific type of fly rod, you’ll want one that has the same numerical rating as your fly line. Aside from that, you’ll also want a fly rod that measures the specific length required for your type of fishing. For fly fishing in debris-infested water, you’ll want a rod that’s shorter.

You can also choose between a certain type of fly rod that has a certain type of action, including either slow, medium, or fast action. These are able to constitute the speed of the casting you’ll be conducting.


Reel Setup

In addition to having a certain fly rod, you should also make sure that you have the right type of fly fishing reel. You should refrain from purchasing a plastic fly reel, since they don’t have the ability to perform as easily. Not only that, but they also don’t tend to last for long periods of time. Rather than a plastic fly reel, you’ll want a metal reel, since they perform the best while also having the ability to last for long periods of time.

When choosing the right type of fly reel, you should consider the specific line weight that you’re using, since lighter line weights have smaller diameters and heavier line weight have larger diameters. Not only that, but you can also choose a fly reel that has a certain sized arbor. The arbor is the spool that’s at the center of the reel that the line is able to wind around. The size of the arbor essentially affects the speed of the cast.

Fishing Line

Having the right type of fly line is important because it ties together how you cast as well as how the fly is presented to the fish in the water. Each different type of fly line is able to offer you various different features that can help you fish in different conditions for various organisms. When shopping for fishing line to use for fly fishing, you should consider the type of line, length of the line as well as the tapers.

There are three main types of fly line, including floating fly lines, sinking fly lines, and sink-tip fly lines. Floating lines are able to float on top of the water’s surface, and they’re suitable for fishing dry flies, nymphs, streamers, and in other conditions as well. Sinking fly lines are able to sink beneath the water’s surface, and they all differ according to their specific weight.

Lastly, sink-tip fly line is classified as essentially a link between sinking and floating lines. This line functions by the tip of the line having the ability to sink beneath the water’s surface, while the remaining portion of the fly line is able to float above the surface. These lines can be used when you’re using streamers in rivers or if you’re fishing in lakes using similar techniques and patterns


Fliesfly fishing fly

There are several different types of flies that you can use to flyfish, including dry flies, wet flies, saltwater flies, streamers, and poppers. Each of them can offer various effects, and they all can be used as bait for different types of fish.

Dry flies are typically used to fish at the surface of the water, and they’re able to imitate insects like mayflies, stoneflies, midges, and grasshoppers. You should only use dry flies for fishing when the conditions are right. Wet flies are used for fishing below the surface, and they are usually tied to certain things, like the pupal and nymph aquatic insects.

Saltwater flies are used for fish species that are classified as marine organisms, and they’re usually tied in order to imitate crabs, shrimp, and other baitfish. Given that marine fish species can be larger, these saltwater flies are usually larger in size than other types of flies.

Differently, poppers are scoop-headed flies that are used for fishing on the surface of water, since they imitate frogs, mice, and other types of small rodents. Lastly, streamers are essentially classified as larger wet flies that are able to imitate larger bait, resulting in grabbing attention of larger fish. They can imitate baitfish, leeches, and even crayfish .

Other Gear

Pliers or hemostat

You may find it beneficial to purchase pliers or bring along a hemostat, which is a pair of pliers that are specifically designed in order to remove the hook from the fish’s mouth. This prevents you from having to worry about getting your fingers hooked when dealing with the fish.

Landing net

After you catch a larger fish, it can sometimes be difficult to reel them all the way in without the risk of you losing them due to lack of grip on the hook. Given that, you may want to bring a landing net, which can help you gather the fish inside of the net once you bring it close enough to where you are. This ensures that you won’t lose the fish or have to deal with it swimming away with your hook.

Wading boots

Aside from having the gear necessary for catching the fish with the pole, you should make sure that you come prepared with the right clothing. More specifically, fly fishermen usually fish in the water, which requires them to get wet while standing in the stream, river, or lake. Because of that, you may risk falling on the slippery debris, especially on the live rocks present in streams and rivers. That’s why having wading boots is recommended, since they’re able to prevent you from slipping and falling .

Learn to Fish

Now that you have all of the basic information regarding the right gear, knowing your location, and preparing for your fly fishing adventure, you should now become knowledgable about the actual practice of fly fishing. This includes rigging the rod, casting, reeling, and unhooking the fish.

Rigging the Fishing Rod

Before you even start attaching your fly to the hook, you’ll need to set up your rod, reel, backing, and line together first. In order to do so, you should first attach your reel to the rod. Usually you can do this by sliding the reel onto the rod and then locking it into place. Next, remove about 100 feet of your backing, or enough so that there is enough to fill your arbor.

After you have enough line, pull off around three feet of it and tie the fly line to the backing by using an albright knot. After you pull off another 30 yards of line, clip it. In order to ensure that you have enough backing, you should spool the fly line and backing into the reel, starting with the fly line first. While doing so, keep the line taunt and make sure that backing is evenly across the arbor.

You should keep spooling the line until it gets close to the outer rim and then trim off the backing that’s excess. After that, you can remove the backing as well as the fly line. Then, tie the backing to the arbor and keep the line taunt, spooling it evenly across the reel. Afterwards, you can then make a loop at the end of the fly line, which you will then attach to to the fly line. This helps you quickly change out the leaders.

Lastly, you can attach the leader using the loop, and then you can attach the tippet to the leader and use an improved clinch knot to attach a fly to the tippet.

Tying the Fly

Once you’ve selected the type of fly that you want to use for fishing, you can then prepare your rod for casting. In order to do so, you should wrap the fishing line around the shank of the hook until the mid point after passing the line right before you get to the eye portion of the hook. After that, place your chosen fly on the hook and make sure that you hold it in place.

Next, you should wrap the line around the fly and its materials until you know that they’re firmly in place. If you want, you can split the hackles by separating them a little bit and then wrapping some of the line in between the separations. You may find it beneficial to add some wax to the line right before the hook, since this helps to ensure security.

After that, pinch and twist a small amount of dubbing fur to the wax that you’ve just added, and then keep wrapping the waxed potion in one direction until the fur is presented tightly around the line. After you do so, you should then wrap the waxed portion of the line around the hook and turn and wrap it back over the shank. Lastly, you should tie off the line and remove any excess thread. For maximized security, you can then add some liquid cement to the fly’s point of attachment .

Casting & Catching Techniques

When you have your rod, reel, and other fly fishing equipment set up, you’re then ready to go and fish with your new gear. Before you start simply casting anywhere, you should consider fishing at the best times when the fish are usually hungry, which is in the mornings usually. They also tend to eat more when the sun is setting at the end of the day.

To find a good spot to fish from, you should look for debris in the water, since fish usually use this debris for shelter or protection from other fish. Once you find a spot, you should make sure that you’re extremely quiet while setting up your site. Fish are extremely sensitive to noise, so they can detect disturbances in the water and you may end up scaring them without even trying to.

In order to cast correctly, you should be aware of all your surroundings. The most common fly fishing cast is classified as the two-stroke, but it can only be done if you’re in a location that has a clear bank and you’re not surrounded by trees. Before you cast, make sure that you have enough room to comfortably do so.

To conduct a two-stroke cast, lead out a few yards of line and make sure that the line is tangle-free. Extend your dominant arm a small amount and then whip the tip ofthe rod up and back in a steady movement. You should only be whipping the rod back enough so that it’s slightly behind you in the air. After you whip it and right before the line straightens out completely, flick the rod again but forward this time, since it will cast the line out to the water’s surface.

There are other types of casting techniques, but you should stick with the two-stroke if you’re a beginner. Consequently, you should make sure that you fish in places that you have enough room surrounding you to cast effectively with no tangles. the above video will show you how casting in a staright line is beneficial to fishing in most environments.

How to Reel in Fish

Once you feel a bite, you should keep the rod’s tip close to the water and keep the line taunt. By continuing to hold the rod with one hand and pulling the line down sharply with the other hand, you can set the hook into the fish’s mouth to ensure security. After that, you can strip away at the line until the fish is tired, which means you can then net your fish and remove it from the water.

How to Unhook the fish

In order to remove the hook from the fish, you should make sure that you have a firm hold on the fish to prevent it from swimming away. Pull the hook straight out of the fish’s lip and try not to tear the lip, and you can do this with a hemostat. Pull the hook out in the same way that it went in. Depending on whether you plan on eating the fish or releasing it back into the water, you can either remove the hook when you gut it or remove it after catching it to release it back into the water hookless.


How far do I cast?

Don’t cast so far that you can’t spook the bass or trout, but you should keep the fly within an adequate distance that you can see the fish and still have time to pull the line quickly.

What kinds of fish can you fish for when fly fishing?

The most common type of fish that people go fly fishing for are trout. But there are other types of fish that you can effectively catch with the practice, including bass, carp, pike, bonefish, and tarpons.

Final Thoughts : Learn How to Flyfish

Overall, fly fishing can be a challenging and time-consuming practice that takes practice to get good at. But with the right equipment as well as the right conditions, it can be a fun and addicting activity. It can add more engagement into the act of fishing, so you’re more involved with the process.

Given the benefits as well as the ability to fish in a different way, you should consider fly fishing. By reviewing the information on this guide, you’ll be able to catch countless fish with the right practice.

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