Starting river fly fishing

The information available to fly fishing starters out there is contradictory, confusing and a lot of it quite poor. For example websites advising smaller rods for smaller rivers. Why that is not a good idea will become clear later.

Most starter guides delve straight into tackle (usually rods), waders clothing etc. This isn't the most important aspect of river fly fishing for trout to learn at this stage. Moreover the choice of tackle you eventually make will be determined by the type(s) of river you are going to fish and the typical size of fish you will encounter.

After this usually comes a section on casting; you are informed as a starter that you must be able to cast a fly line. Here you will learn that isn't necessarily true and even you somebody who has only held a fly rod for a few minutes or not at all can still catch stream trout.

First principles

Before starting river fly fishing it's important that you live near or are prepared to travel to a river that contains trout. If you live in the tropics or the deep south that might be a problem. If you live in a small town and there are five Stream fly fishing outfits then chances are you are OK.

I'll make the assumption that you have already done some preliminary research and know trout streams in your area. After this there are the legal considerations. You need to make sure you have the relevant licences and /or permits to fish. In the UK this can be tedious and involves a national rod licence and some form of permit usually granted by being a member of a club. The fishing club pays fees to landowners for access and
fishing rights. In the States and Canada things are more straightforward and usually involve a state permit which allows fishing within that state.

The best place to find information is on-line and at specialist angling shops. Ok enough of the necessary obvious stuff and onto something much more interesting. Not rod and tackle selection but types of trout stream and more importantly where trout live in them and what they feed on. After this some advice on flies that will work and how even as a beginner you can catch fish with them.

We will briefly cover fly fishing methods especially those you can manage at this embryonic stage. And consider safety.

Only then we will cover tackle and flies. And deal with issues like how do I tie that small fly onto that thick fly line! You are very lucky. You are about to delve into a life long all consuming pastime that can transport you to the most beautiful places on the planet, where hours of time can melt away in a fast flowing mountain stream. A pastime that combines artistry with scientific observation.

Next we need to learn about the trout's home.