Fly fishing for trout could be far more fun than you could’ve ever imagined. Anglers of all experience levels can get hooked on the activity. Some consider fly fishing a sport while others pursue it as a hobby.
There are even people who consider it a form of art. Regardless of what you call it, there is no doubt that it’s a very enjoyable pastime.
You have the weekend warrior anglers, and you have the hardcore fishermen who would spend every waking moment engaged in the activity. Like many others, you’ll probably find that fly fishing for your favorite trout is especially satisfying.
A large percentage of anglers say fishing for trout alone is thrilling, so when you combine the mechanics of fly fishing with an already fun activity, you end up with something that is almost like a drug. There are several fly fishing techniques, rigs, patterns and lures for trout.
When to Use the Fly
Did you know there is really no right or wrong time to fly fish? As long as you’re following the applicable state and national rules, you can gear up with a fly rod almost anywhere.
Many anglers prefer backcountry lakes and creeks while others fish in the open ocean. You’ll quickly find out that there are a few different ways to practice this activity, and you’ll also want to get some recommended gear.
There is a chance that you might be new to the activity altogether so let’s quickly go over what is actually is and how it works.
What Is It?
It’s an angling method that involves an artificial fly. The fly is what is used to catch the fish. You must use a reel, fly rod and special weighted line. What you’ll be doing is casting a lure or fly that is nearly weightless.
The biggest difference between this angling method and typical casting is the technique. In other words – how you cast your line into the water. A fly fisherman uses flies that have been hand tied.
The flies are created to mimic natural invertebrates. To be successful, you can use lures, food organisms or hand tied flies on your fly rod. Salt and fresh bodies of water are open to this angling technique.
In North America, we typically differentiate between cold and warm water species. For example – steelhead, salmon and trout are cold-water species. An ideal example of a popular warm-water game fish is bass. It’s different in Britain because water temperatures vary less frequently.
The techniques that you’ll need to use will be different depending on what type of habitat you’re fishing in, such as open oceans, estuaries, bays, large rivers, small streams, lakes and ponds.
It’s important to realize that fly fishing is an ever-changing sport. However, you will always need a line, reel and fly rod. Something that most fly fishermen are notorious for is the wealth of different knots that they use. The knots correlate to the tippet, leader and type of fly line they use. You should understand that the gear can get expensive rather quickly.
Casting Line Not Lure
You should think of this angling technique as casting line rather than lure. Typical fishing techniques rely on lure weight to pull the line from the reel during the forward portion of a cast.
Since, by design, a fly is too lightweight to be casted, it relies on the unfurling of the fly line itself, which is heavier and tapered. Many of the very first examples of presentations used for this angling technique were originally created to be used for trout fishing.
Unfortunately, many people believe the myth that all fly fishing for trout is performed using a dry fly cast upon the surface of water. In many locations, especially those that are heavily fished, it’s easier to catch trout using flies called nymphs, which are designed to drift along the bottom of water.
Another name for this is nymphing. Over 90 percent of the time, a trout feeds below the water’s surface, so it only makes sense to use nymphs. One of the only times a trout will feed on the surface is when there is a large hatching of bugs.
Using the Dry Fly
Many experienced anglers would argue that the dry fly is the most exhilarating way to fish for trout. The dry fly floats on the surface of the water. The reason why it’s exciting is because the trout must actually come up to the surface of the water to bite.
However, as mentioned earlier, trout rarely feed on the surface, so if you’re fishing for trout, you’ll want to go with a nymph. When using a dry fly, you’ll know exactly when the trout bites, so it’s a lot easier to react. It’s harder to know when the trout bites if you’re using a nymph.
The most common dry flies are called match the hatch because they’re created to closely mimic insects that hatch from the nymph stage. You can also get dry flies that resemble ants and grasshoppers.
There is also a type of dry fly called an attractor, which aren’t made to look like any particular insect. These are usually made with rubber legs and flashy colors. While dry flies can make for an exciting experience, they’re not incredibly productivity if you actually want to catch trout.
When gearing up with a dry fly, you only have a 20 percent chance of the trout even coming up to the surface from the start, so you’re at a serious disadvantage.
Using a Nymph
Out of all of the different artificial flies that you can use, the nymph is easily the most efficient. This is especially true in the case of catching trout. The reason why is because trout feed underwater about 80 to 90 percent of the time, which is exactly how you’ll be using the nymph.
A nymph is just a stage of insect, such as a stonefly, caddis or mayfly. All insects grow through different stages until they pass away. The nymph is the stage that insects live their live under the water’s surface, in lake bottoms and along stream beds. Nymphs are one of the primary foods that trout feed on.
When using nymphs, you’ll need to use certain techniques so you will know when a trout has bitten your fly. This issue can be solved with the use of a strike indicator, which lets you know when you get a bite. It’s really just a small float that is attached above the fly.
As a trout bites, the indicator can move upstream, slow down or stop, which indicators you have some action. You might also want to look into European Nymphing techniques – they’re becoming very popular and don’t involve the use of a strike indicator.
Using a Streamer
Many anglers swear by the use of a streamer. It can be very fun to use. Although it might not be nearly as effective for catching trout as a nymph, it’s certainly not far behind in terms of effectiveness.
When a trout bites a streamer, it’s usually quite explosive and aggressive because the trout will try to eat the fly as quickly as possible, so it doesn’t get away. If using a streamer, be sure to use a heavier weight of tippet.
Streamers are different because they mimic fish foods like sculpins, minnows, leaches and other, larger underwater organisms. When casting a streamer, you’ll be using a stripping or pulling method. These are some of the fly fishing patterns for trout, and the major types of flies that you’ll be using.