One would think there’s no shortage of literature for learning trout fly fishing by yourself. If you think so, you can’t have been more wrong. With literally hundreds of websites and books dedicated to fly fishing for trout, the novice angler could easily get overwhelmed. The confusing jumble of information could even discourage you, but I believe these are just some of the more essential things you need to remember. While some anglers can make do with a simple three-weight rod-and-reel setup, polarized sunglasses, a hat and a box of flies, there are some things to be considered in even the most basic gear for this activity.
You can’t fly fish for trout without the proper type of equipment.
Depending on what you want to do, your equipment will vary according to your specific application. The rod needed for fishing in larger lakes or streams will be different from what is suitable for angling in smaller bodies of water. You can choose from high-modulus Graphite rods, which are perfect for beginners as well as seasoned fishers, and older style fiberglass rods, which have a higher overall diameter.
Generally, beginners work better with fast action rods, which are considered stiff because of how they only bend in the last third segment of their length. Fast action poles offer more casting power, which results in greater casting distance. Make sure to use proper technique when landing fish, as this type of rod is susceptible to breaking near the tip. Medium action rods bend near the middle, while slow action models can prove to be hard to manage when casting long distances because of their ‘whippy’ design.
Manufacturers of fly fishing rods design their products to cast specific line weights for optimal results. For smaller fish, 2, 3 and 4 weight rods are ideal, while 5 and 6 weight rods are general purpose tools. 7 and larger rod weights are made for catching salmon, steelhead and other heavy fish or for long distance casting. If you plan on fishing in small lakes, rivers or streams, a general purpose 5-weight rod should serve your purpose well enough.
Fly fishing rod lengths vary from 7 to more than 10 feet, with most manufacturers making their products in the 9-foot range. When casting short distances in tight spaces, choose short rods, which have a lightweight design. Long distance casting works better with longer rods. Some fly fishing rods come in multiple-piece designs that enable effortless assembly and disassembly for convenient transport and storage.
Basic fly fishing techniques for trout
When fly fishing for trout, you should stalk the fish while staying low. Fish in areas between fast and slow moving water, as trout is likely to be resting in such waters, frequently swimming into the current for a meal. Whenever possible, try to achieve a natural drift or presentation of the fly by getting in a good position. You want a drag-free presentation for nymphs, dries and floaters.
A wet fly is ideally swung by casting across and downstream. For fly fishing nymphs, even when it’s necessary to add a split shot, try to get the fly down in the water. Fishing with nymphs makes dry fly fishing fun, but remember that 80 percent of the trout’s diet lies below the surface of the water.
Maintain hook sharpness. Every five or six casts, examine the tippet and fly for any signs of wind knots, which tend to weaken the line. As a rule of thumb, summer fly fishing will need lighter color flies, while fishing in the spring and autumn will need the use of darker color flies. Learn to cast a fly fishing rod without losing your flies. Wild trout should be released back to the water properly to give them a better chance of survival. Furthermore, dispose of trash properly.