What is Fly Fishing?

T Thompson

Fly fishing is a type of fishing that involves using an artificial fly. It is different from traditional fishing methods in that fly anglers cast a hook that generally has bits of feather, fur, foam, yarn, or other similar material attached using thread to form what is referred to as a'fly', as opposed to using worms or other bait.

Salmon are one of the most common types of fish caught on a fly.
Salmon are one of the most common types of fish caught on a fly.

The best known and classic form of fly fishing is what is known as dry fly fishing. The fisherman uses an artificial fly, which he casts so that it will float on the water. The fly will pass over the fish, which will hopefully rise up and bite it. The fisherman then tries to control the fish's attempts to escape, tiring it enough to bring it in to be retrieved from the water with a landing net. Many anglers prefer this type of fly fishing because everything can be seen - the angler casts at a fish he can see, the fly is easily visible on the surface of the water, and he can see the fish take the fly. The only drawback to this is that trout and other fish tend to feed underwater, and therefore are not as likely to come up to take a dry fly.

Many fly fishermen use a landing net to bring in fish.
Many fly fishermen use a landing net to bring in fish.

The second form of fly fishing is what is known as nymph fishing. When the flies lay eggs in the river or lake, the eggs hatch out as nymphs, which make their way to the surface, where they hatch into a fly. Therefore, nymph fishing utilizes imitations of different nymphs that are weighted to stay below the surface of the water. This type of fishing is often considered more challenging, as all the action takes place beneath the surface.

While most types of fish can be caught on a fly, the most common are the trout, salmon, chars, and most game fish. Trout are by far the most popular, since trout feed and live in shallow waters and eat small insects.

Fly fishing has become an increasingly popular sport, and most anglers will agree that it's not just about catching fish. Some anglers would even regard fly fishing as a kind of religion, and most consider it a relaxing pastime that can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. It also appeals to the more environmentally conscious, as it is less harmful to the fish than many other techniques, and most anglers return their catch.

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Discussion Comments


where did the fly fishermen go? the art of fly fishing for trout is gone. today the fly fishermen use an egg ball followed by a split shot 12" to 14" above the egg, then at a given depth a strike indicator.

this same method was used by bait fishermen, only they called it a cork or float, with the use of a spinning rod. this is really not fly fishing in the true meaning of the word. so put down the fly rod and pick up your spinning rod. when somebody asks if you're a fly fishermen, just say you trout fish. That's the truth.

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