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Starting Fly Fishing as a beginner

Getting started in fly fishing has had to have been the most complicated start to a hobby I have ever had. Mainly because of the confusion to line type, rod weight etc. I’m just going to break it down into a few categories to get started.

Find a fly shop close to you.

A fly shop will be your source of supplies and information. Most fly shops are great for helping you get started. IF you dont feel welcomed or you are not getting excellent service then just find somewhere else ( you will be spending a good amount of coin here). Unlike gear fishing the knowledge is a bit more specialized. A lot of the concepts are the same for sure but someone who has gone through it or maybe guides as a fly fisherman will be more able to relate to you.

Choose an intro rod/reel outfit

Depending on what your comfort level is with fly fishing or fishing in general you can start and be on the water with an outfit. An outfit is just a flyrod, fly line, backing, and leader. Sometimes outfits even come with some basic gear like fly’s, fly boxes, nippers or forceps.

I will be posting a review soon of the intro rod and reel that I chose then some of the contenders I moved into after the initial plunge.

Must have gear

Fly Rod

This is your main tool and your gateway to riverside bliss. This choice is very dependent on your type of fishing you want to do. Do you want to fish trout? (There are other fish other than trout btw). Do you live around mostly still water or do you have an abundance of rivers? What size are these rivers?

I am a strong believer that you can do the majority of your fishing for trout and most other fresh water species with a 5wt or a 8wt in a 9 FT size. Both of these rods can get you through almost any fishing other than giant salt water fish or big Chinook salmon on giant rivers.

Suggestions for a 9 foot 5 WT rod

Redington Crosswater

For $110 Canadian this is a nice medium action rod. This will give you a great feel for your casting stroke and learning. I used this rod for the first few years of fly fishing and though you wont get the greatest line speed or distance it is a great learning rod and a workhorse. I still use it often as a back up rod or just when i’m feeling like using something different.

Suggestions for a 8wt rod

Orvis Clearwater rod

Not the most budget rod but a great contender as it offers a solid stout rod that has served me well for bass, chum salmon, Coho and an accidental King/Chinook salmon. It handled all these species well and was more than enough rod to handle the fish properly. This is a nice medium fast rod with a great warranty. Comes with 25 year replacement /repair warranty which is only lower end rod I know of that does this still.


If you are doing mostly trout and smaller fish you really do not need anything special since you will never have the fish on the reel. Your fish will be pulled in by hand via stripping the line. The reel is a glorified line holder and you do not need an expensive reel.

Where this changes if you are doing any type of salmon fishing or salt water you will want a nice strong drag. This is where you want to maybe spend some more money. Also having something with a sealed drag is a must for any type of saltwater fishing

Reel recomendations:

For a 4/5 weight contender I have the Picifun Sword. This reel has been on my 5 weight rods for over 3 years. I once lost my rod/reel down river as I was dealing with a fish in my net. I thought I had lost it for ever I found it 5 months later 5 km down river stuck in some brush on the bank. Needless to say I was shocked and the reel was in working condition after some cleaning. I still use it to this day ” my new lucky reel “. These reels are well constructed and have some great machining.

If you are looking for something with a little more drag or for sealed applications this reel has best of multiple areas the Lamson Liquid I think is a great contender.

I have included a good video with some tips on picking a reel by a great fly angler “Kelly Galloup”


Where you want to prioritize your money are your rod and line. The budget option for the reel can be ok in majority of the cases.

A good line will not necessarily help you cast better but will make the whole experience a whole lot enjoyable. You can go middle of the road and what you should start with is a basic weight forward line usually labeled as for example 5WT-WF. A floating line is a good over all starting line for anyone starting in the sport. You can always specialize and add lets say a sinking tip or do dry fly fishing or even a shooting head.

WF – The Weight-Forward Taper

This is the “standard” taper for trout fishing. A Weight Forward Taper (abbreviation of WF on fly line boxes) is a fly line that has additional weight and thickness added to it in the first 10 yards of fly line. The remainder of the fly line is then of uniform thickness and weight.

The purpose of the weight-forward taper is to provide additional “heft” to the fly line. This additional “heft” allows the angler to make casting easier, especially on windy days. Since additional weight is on the front of the fly line, longer casts can also be made too. Finally, the extra weight on the end of the fly line helps larger flies turn over properly, thus landing on the water with proper presentation.


This leads well into casting. Like I mentioned before a good fly line will not help you cast better without better technique. I will list a couple of good video series here so you can get started. I find youtube is great for this. Also if you can afford a basic lesson can make wonders and lessen the frustration in getting started.

This series helped me immensely and I really recommend it to anyone getting started.

Anything from the orvis channel has some good content for casting or specifics on the sport.


I guess it isn’t fly fishing without flies is it? This is a large black hole and in the case of fly fishing technique is often superior to the fly you are presenting. You can match exactly what the fish are eating but if you are not drifting it in front of them then they might not see it.

What I suggest is deciding on what type of species you are targeting and what lives in the water you want to fish. Once you find this out just youtube search top 10 and start with some basic patterns that are well known like the ” Prince nymph” or the ” Pheasant Tail nypmh” or “Wooley Bugger”

Gear for being on the water

You can take a million things with you and I see a lot of people bringing everything but the kitchen sink with them fishing either with gear or fly. This is all a personal preference as you can keep it simple as possible or complicated.

Both these videos helped me when getting started to what you might need. One word of warning is don’t try and get everything at once. I would focus on the basics and try and build on it every time you go out if you find you need things. Fishing in the summer doesn’t require waders and can often be a great way to alleviate some of those costs as you don’t need to break the bank on waders. Getting a simple pair of wading boots or old hiking boots can often be enough.


Bottom line is simply get out there and enjoy. You will start to learn and find what works for you and what doesn’t. You don’t need to break the bank to get into the sport if you focus on what matters and the essentials. Also look up once in a while and take in the surroundings, it will make even the skunked days worth it.

Tight lines

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