Chapter Educational

New To Fly Fishing?

Here are some basic skills and bits of Information to start you off.

Choosing your Fly Fishing Equipment

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Rigging up your Fly Rod

Learn These 3 Essential Knots

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Connecting Leader to the Fly Line

Note : (Many Leaders come with a Perfection Loop already made on the thick end. If your leader does not have a Perfection Loop you will need to make one. )

Strong and effective the Perfection Loop is a favorite for tying a loop at the end of the line.

The Loop to Loop Knot is a method of joining or interconnecting two loops and is often referred to as interlocking loops. The loop to loop connection is exceptionally strong. Many fly lines now come with pre-made loops on their ends. Just tie a loop at the end of the leader you are attaching Perfection Loop and use the Loop to Loop knot to join the two lines. The Benefit to using the Loop to Loop is the ability change Leaders easily.

Connecting Tippet to the Leader

Note: (You will notice that the leader will shorten the more you use it, make fly adjustments, and recover from snags.

Adding Tippet replaces the lost length of leader material.

The Surgeon's Knot is one of the best and easiest to tie knots for joining lines of equal or unequal diameters. After cutting off the tag ends the joined lines will be in straight line.

Connecting Fly to end of Leader/Tippet

The Clinch Knot is reliable and can be tied quickly and easily, which results in more fishing time!

Where the Clinch Knot is also used in a two-fly setup, the top fly goes on with the Clinch Knot, then a dropper line (tippet) is added. Make Clinch Knot on the end of a piece of tippet and take the loop and secure it to the top fly's hook at the bend, then attach the bottom fly (dropper) on the other end of the tippet with a Clinch Knot.

Understanding and Choosing Tippet

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Most tippet sizes will support three or four fly sizes before they either get too stiff for a lifelike presentation or too thin to straighten a fly. In general, choose the heavier size if the water is dirty, if it’s windy, or if the fish are unusually strong.

Choose the finer size if the water is very clear and the fish are spooky, or if you are fishing tricky currents and drag is a problem, because a thinner tippet will lessen un-natural drag on your fly.

For average conditions choose the middle size

Fly Selection

Build your starter Fly Box - 6 Essential Trout Flies

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Dry Flies

Parachute Adams (Sizes 10-20)

The Parachute Adams dry fly pattern is a fly that deserves to be in every fly box. The Adams Parachute Dry Fly is a versatile dry fly and has become recognized as a popular pattern on trout rivers around the world. It just works. It works during mayfly hatches, caddis hatches, and in smaller sizes midge hatches. People worry about using it during caddis hatches because it has tails. Yeah, and caddisflies don’t have hooks sticking out of them either but it just works. The color is mixed enough so trout seem to pick out what they want.

Elk Wing Caddis (Sizes: 10-20)

This dry fly is one of the most popular and proven dry flies in the world. The dry fly pattern imitates the natural caddis, one of the most prolific insects across North America that trout feed on. It can fished like conventional dry flies, as well as being "skated" across the top of the water to attract feeding trout. Trout eat this sometimes thinking it’s a moth.


Bead Head Pheasant Tail (Sizes 12-20)

It works during hatches, before hatches, and when there are no hatches. Don’t leave home without some. I like mine both with and without beads but find trout accept it better in heavily fished waters sans the bead (without).

Bead Head Hare’s Ear (Sizes 8-18)

Perhaps the most recognized, fished, and proven nymph ever tied. The hare's ear nymph will attract fish even when there is no hatch on. It's a nymph whose "bugginess" entices fish into striking. Yet, it's also a nymph that imitates almost any natural nymph. Trout probably think it’s a mayfly nymph, caddis larva, caddis pupa, scud, or stonefly. This is a bling version of the famous Hare's Ear with lots of flash, gold bead body and head. This nymph fly pattern is great for prospecting in off color water when you need a little something to get their attention.

Bead Head Prince (Sizes 12-18)

A well-loved nymph pattern, the Bead Head Prince leverages peacock herl and a red wrapped collar for eye-catching drifts in the water.

The combination of the Prince fly pattern with a bead head is a definite nymph fishing winner. Peacock herl is one of the best materials for creating a lifelike appearance and this is one of the best searching fly patterns out there.


Bead Head Woolly Bugger (Sizes 6-12)

Don’t fight it. Just load up your box with these. They imitate so many large trout foods, and they just seem to create that impression of life that aggressive trout find difficult to refuse. Don’t rule out fishing this fly dead-drift, under an indicator. When beads first showed up, the bugger was one of the first streamer flies to which it was added. The great wooly bugger suddenly became easier to get down in the feeding lanes and a favorite was born. No fly box on a trout stream should be without a selection of these flies, all colors, all sizes. In olive/brown, black.

ID Aquatic Insects

How to Catch and Release

It is crucial that all fishermen use proper catch and release tactics. This is particularly important during the summer months when water temperatures are high and oxygen levels are low. In general, trout take longer to recover the smaller they are, the hotter the water temperature, or the longer they have been played.

Here are some general guidelines and recommendations for proper catch and release fishing.

  • Play the fish as quickly and gently as possible. Smaller fish in particular should not be played simply to "put a fish on the reel."
  • If at all possible, avoid touching the fish, or, minimize the amount of handling, if you must wet your hands.
  • Fishing with barbless hooks makes releasing hooked fish much easier , quicker and does not adversely affect your hook-ups. You can pinch down the barb on your hooks with forceps. Landing nets can assist in minimizing handling.
  • As much as possible, keep your fish in the water. If you must take a photo, do so as quickly as possible and return the fish to the water. .
  • After unhooking the fish, maintain control of him either by keeping him in your landing net or by gently cradling him in your hands. Face the fish upstream in some current to oxygenate his gills. Do not release him until you are confident the fish is rested and recovered. Most fish will swim away on their own power at this point.
  • Take the time to observe your fish after you release it. If it begins to founder or turn upside down, re-handle him and move him back in forth in the current until he is sufficiently revived.
  • Strongly consider limiting your fishing when water levels are low and water temperatures are above 70 degrees, there are many panfishing opportunities that you can enjoy.

Perhaps most importantly, develop a personal conservation ethic around your fishing. The only one who knows if you have acted ethically is you ( and perhaps, the fish).

Here is the complete instructional series of the Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing with host Tom Rosenbauer.

From beginner fly casting to how to catch bass and trout on a fly, this educational series will provide you with all the essentials to get started. There has never been an instructional TV series in fishing like the Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing!

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Fly Fishing Flash Cards

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