February 2020 Update: We are in the process of redesigning the site!
Please enter your email address below to be notified when our new site is up.
-Stocked fly boxes, including new types of flies
-Updated fly-fishing destination guides
Be sure to follow us on Instagram as well @TroutFlyFishin
So you want to master the fly fishing basics for trout? You may have already come across some of the information that is available on the market (there are hundreds of books and websites). Some of it seems to contradict other sources. It can be really confusing.
For example, some people will encourage you to get a fly line to match the rod you are buying.Others will tell you that you could go one or two lines heavier or lighter (this is true but the explanation here would make this a very long page).
This confusion continues when you are trying to decide which flies you should have. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of flies on the market today. What should you buy? To start, you really only need about a dozen designs in a few different sizes. It all depends on whether you are fly fishing on a lake or stream and the time of the year.
Yes, I did say time of the year. I would like to encourage you to think of other seasons than summer. Get out your raincoat; some rivers and lakes can be fished year round. Winter fly fishing for steelhead trout can be exciting (and a challenge).
Let's start with the fly fishing equipment you need.
Which fly rod, reel and line you should buy will depend on what you want to do. Do you like small streams? Do you prefer larger rivers or lakes? The rod you need may be different! If you are on a budget, not to worry, there is one size that you can start with that will cover a lot of situations.
The other fly fishing supplies you will need are a matter of opinion. There are all kinds of “toys” you can buy, but we will try to stay close to the fly fishing basics. Some items you just don’t need. A good example of this is that I still don’t bring a landing net when I go fly fishing for steelhead. (don’t get me wrong; there are times when you will need one).
One of the things I have noticed over the years is the different level of fly fishing supplies people bring to the water. The newbie seems to bring everything but the kitchen sink, and the veterans bring their rod and a small amount of gear in their shirt pocket or vest.
One of my goals here is to help you cut down on the amount of “stuff” you buy. Is that un-American or what? Save your money to buy gas!
I have had a lot of fun on a small stream with just my three-weight setup, a hat, polarized sunglasses and a box of flies. I didn't even take my waders.
Next let’s deal with HOW to fly fish. Again we will try to stay with the fly fishing basics.
Once you have the right setup, you need to practice casting a fly rod. Yes, knowing which fly to use is important, but after you lose twenty dollars worth of flies in the surrounding trees you may want to change your focus a little.
Find a casting instructor. Your local fly fishing shops can help you with this. There are also several good videos available that will show you how to improve your casting. Then get out in your back yard or a local park and practice.
There is just something graceful about casting a fly rod.
Other important parts of fly fishing basics are learning different fishing knots, which fly to use (and when to use it), where to fish, and other fly fishing techniques. Studying each part will give you confidence and improve your chances for success.
Last but not least, there is conservation and proper fly fishing etiquette. I could go on and on about fly fishing etiquette (but I won’t). Be aware of your fellow fishermen. What are they doing? Which way are they moving? Are they letting the waters rest? It is OK to ask.
Please release wild trout (there is a right way to do it, you want the trout to have the best chance of survival).
One of my hot buttons is trash. Beer cans, trash and old fishing line seem to be always present in or near our rivers and lakes.
Since I have always enjoyed watching shows on how different products are made I just have to include a section on the making of fly fishing equipment. The making of a bamboo fly rod is especially interesting to me. One day I will need to give it a try.
As this site grows I will be including different instructional videos that will help you learn the fly fishing basics. The topics are truly endless.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to share your successes with the community. There is the “Your Trout Pictures” page where you can share your photos and stories.