Fly fishing for trout is perhaps very intimidating for new people to get into. There are so many little things you need to know to excel at this great sport. On this website we will do everything possible to teach you all of the small details it takes to catch trout using fly fishing gear. We’ll start right here on this page to give you some of the basics you will need to get your foot in the door of flyfishing.
Class is in session! Every aspect of learning how to fly fish will be covered on this page. It has taken me years to write all of this learning material and I am happy to finally put it all together in one easy to follow place for you to learn it all.
Choosing a fly rod and reel is an important decision. Buying the proper gear will make learning how to fly fish much easier than if you were to just buy cheap inferior gear and go fishing. Learning the fly fishing basics with the appropriate gear will make your learning and beginning fishing experience a lot more enjoyable.
Basically you should choose a rod in the 4, 5 or 6 weight category and buy the best one you can afford. If you are looking to save money, I would buy a cheap reel and spend a little extra on a nice rod. This will make learning easier and the whole process more fun for you.
Fly line is another area where you shouldn’t go cheap. Your fly fishing line is the link between you and the fish. Cheap fly line will hurt your casting distance and overall make you fishing experience not so good. You would absolutely notice a difference if you were to cast good line and cheap line side by side. In fly lines, you have a few different choices to make. Most new fly fisherman will prefer to buy a weight forward line, meaning the end that you are casting out will have more weight than the end still on your reel. In the “choosing fly line” link above, you can learn all about the various types of fly lines available.
In the image left, you will see all of the necessary gear you’ll need to go fly fishing. Click on that image to go to a full post explaining every piece of gear in the picture. It might seem like a lot of stuff, but in reality you can buy all of that gear for under a couple hundred dollars. If you have everything pictured, you are ready to hit the river! one other item you might want to buy is a good pair of waders, but they are optional. As long as you plan to fish in warm temperatures you can get by with a good pair of sandals for wading.
This part is easy. Now that you have all of the gear needed to enter into this great sport successfully, you are ready to start learning. Tying knots is a very important skill for you to master. You can have all of the finest gear in the word, but if you don’t know how to tie the knots, you will lose fish. If you click the “learning to tie fly fishing knots” link above, it will take you to a page where you can learn the essential skills. Most of the knots have easy to follow videos to make learning these knots easy and fun.
Learning fly casting properly can be one of the trickiest parts of fly fishing. If you start doing it wrong, you could end up finding it hard to break those bad habits. It is best to learn from someone who truly knows what they are doing. Your uncle Jerry might tell you that he is an amazing fly fisherman, but the fact is, he might not really know what he is doing. If he teaches you wrong, you could be destined to a long hard road to fixing the bad habits that you have picked up from him. It’s best to get a firm grasp on the movements by watching instructional videos of pros and taking classes, that way you know you aren’t learning “wrong”. As a fishing guide I am well aware at how hard bad habits can be to break after you have been “practicing” for weeks. Read the info and watch the very short video in the “basic fly casting” link above. This should get you on the right track to becoming a good fly caster.
Figuring out where trout hide, will have you hooking more fish than you ever thought possible. “Reading the water” is what separates great fisherman from people who never catch fish. Sure there is a lot more to it than that, but overall, if you are fishing in the wrong spots—you will not catch many trout. Click the “how to find fish” link above to learn about where trout like to hang out. Learning how to fly fish involves a bit more than just being able to cast. “Knowing” that a certain spot has fish just by looking at it, is right where you want to be—once there, you’ll catch plenty of fish.
Basically, most trout that are actively feeding will be sitting in certain areas that will provide them with a lot of food. You can learn to identify these spots and you will instantly begin catching a lot more fish. This post will also give you more information about where to find feeding trout.
Learning to get within striking distance and closing the deal on a large trout can take some time. It’s easy to see fish, but actually pulling off the perfect drift and getting them to strike is a whole different ballgame. The link above will give you some pointers on how to carefully get within range of fish and how to minimize the risk of spooking them.
Setting the hook on trout is an often overlooked skill to learn (until you need to do it). Practicing your hook set is almost as important as your casting ability. When that fish strikes your fly you need to instinctively set the hook, with a smooth transition into hauling it in. Check out the link above to learn how to smoothly transition from a hook set, to bringing the fish in. It is also a good idea to have a friend or family member pretend they are a fish pulling on your line, this will give you a fairly realistic practice session.
Choosing the right fly at the right time is critical to learning how to catch trout regularly. You can be on the river the day before and every fish seems to be eating caddis, but the next day, nothing is eating them.
As long as you are seeing fish feeding on the surface they will be easy to catch on dry flies, you just need to figure out what they want. If they aren’t feeding on the surface, you will have to go down after them. Trout are almost always willing to eat some sort of fly, your job is to find out what exactly that is.
If fish are feeding on the surface you can go look in the nearby bushes and grass for any visible type of insect—better yet, if you see flies in the air you’ll need to catch one. If you do manage to catch a fly, simply pick out of your fly box what matches it most closely and you probably will have a winner. If not, you can keep watching for more insects. If the fish are heavily feeding and you cannot see flies on the water, there is a good chance they are eating emergers. To find out what insect is emerging—you have a couple options. A: you can bend over the water and watch very closely to see any flies floating just under the surface. Or B: Use a net of some sort and strain the water for insects. I guess you could also just try out a bunch of emerger patterns and hope for the best as well.
Finding the Best Nymph to Use
A simple trick to figure out what nymphs are active is to turn over some rocks and logs. If you see more of one type of nymph than any other, you should try that first. If you aren’t seeing any nymphs you should just try some various ones out and see what happens. If you do catch a fish, you could always pump their stomach to see what exactly they have been eating(PS: many people seem to hate these pumps).
More on this subject:The flyfishing trouble shooting manual<- This link will give you a lot of valuable information on how to catch trout under various conditions. I explain my typical strategy for figuring out what types of flies fish want on a tough day of fishing.
Check back here again, because I will be adding more information frequently. All of this info took me 30 years of fly fishing to acquire, so I hope it will help you on your way to finding out how to fly fish like a pro.
Troutster.com is your flyfishing, trout information and fishing gear supply website. We supply all of the information you need to get you on the river hooking fish.
We are an independent fly fishing blog and website. I have personally spent thousands of hours creating content for this website and I am very happy you are here to read it. My personal goal is for Troutster.com to become the only place a beginner fly fisherman needs to visit to become an expert angler. ~Dub Paetz