Guide to fly fishing techniques

A Guide to Fly Fishing Techniques

Small fly fishing guide with explanations on the principle of the different practices commonly used by fishermen.


The fly fishing allows us to catch all the fish in the world, be it with a floating artificial fly commonly called a dry fly, or underwater with aquatic insect imitation (invertebrate), called nymph or drowned, or well with an imitation of fish or crustacean, called a streamer.

Over the past 30 years, this renowned elitist fishery has become widely democratized around the world. The new means of communication being for many in the development of this fishing practice. The legendary film “And in the middle flows a river” screened in 1992 and directed by Robert REDFORD will have made known to the world this outdoor activity. The meaning and total immersion that this fishing provides have been beautifully transcribed by actor Brad PITT.

With a beautiful visual side, the ballet of silk in the air surprised each spectator who viewed this masterpiece. And everyone still remembers it … What had to happen happened. More and more people wanted to identify with the actor and discover this work and the fullness it brings. With the added bonus of the challenge of catching a fish.

This fishing is practiced both at sea and in freshwater. Here, the bait is artificial. Synthetic fibers, bristles, feathers, etc. are available on an eyelet hook, to give shape to an imitation that sometimes perfectly resembles the usual food of the coveted fish. Many fly fishermen make their artificial flies. It is therefore essential to know the prey sought by the fish well in order to reproduce them.

For example, feeds mainly on aquatic and earthly insects, which have happened on the surface of the water or during their processing for aquatic invertebrate insects. Older fish set their sights on smaller fish. More rarely on small reptiles (lizards, snakes), rodents, amphibians, or crustaceans.

Everything that makes its food can be imitated. Then the fisherman must successfully present the trout offering in a natural way. With or without entertainment. On the surface or underwater.

Beautiful trout gobbling

fly fishing techniques
Image by Adobe Stoke Image

Dry fishing:

The fly fishing surface with a floating insect imitation is called ” dry fishing”. It is generally practiced in inert drift, that is to say, that the artificial moves only thanks to the movement of water. Once spotted the fish in activity thanks to the circles of water that it creates when it sucks the insects drifting on the surface (the flies call this surface distortion garbage), the fisherman seeks to identify the menu of the moment. He scans the surface for insects that could drift at the same time. If there are many and they are similar, then the choice of artificial is easier. An artificial fly of the same size, similar shape, and close color will do the trick. It then remains to present the fly to the fish in the most natural way possible…

Depending on the width and slope of the watercourse, you will have to fish short, a few meters away for torrents, or long, a dozen meters, for large lowland rivers. The progression and the fishing action are generally done upstream, sometimes you have to “attack” the fish laterally, a case where it is impossible to arrive from its rear for example. The choice of rod length is generally between 9 ‘and 10’ (or converted between 2 meters 70 and 3 meters).

Fishing strategies:

In the absence of going, the fisherman can either dry fish the usual hunting stations and play on the instinct of trout reflex, or fish under the surface, close to the bottom, where the fish is more even to spend most of his time.

Several approaches are then possible:

fly fishing catching guide
Image by Adobe Stoke Image

Drowned fishing:

The fishing drowned is practiced between two glasses of water, between the bottom and the surface. This technique involves imitating a molting aquatic invertebrate that migrates to the surface to become a flying insect. You can use up to three imitations mounted on the line. One at the end, often weighted, and two positioned in turn in the gallows slightly upstream of the bottom fly. Fishing is done downstream by forming circular arcs. The positioning of the fisherman is generally transverse.

The throw is made slightly upstream, then the fisherman pivots from the trunk to accompany the drift downstream. Slight animations are possible when the fish sulks our artificial ones. At the touch, do not shoe! At the risk of breaking the line or missing the fish! The fish generally pricks itself, thanks to the inertia of the line.

Nymph fishing with the wire/roulette:

This fishing generally uses heavier imitations than drowned and tends to reproduce the movement of invertebrates on the bottom or else the accidental drift of these same insects over the water. We are not trying to reproduce the emergence of an insect, so no pronounced effect of upwelling towards the surface. The imitations are ballasted during the assembly phase. This fishing is called ” wire fishing” or “roulette fishing »According to the nymph weights used.

We generally use an indicator to better visualize the keys and define the fishing depth, there are many: colored threads, thread guide, corkscrew thread, big fly … Question nymph, it is better to put only one at the start to avoid tangles and move to two if necessary thereafter. The tip nymph is always heavier.

Fishing is practiced positioned upstream or slightly to the side in the case of a small rapid river or much more laterally when prospecting for a larger flow. Discretion will be required since this fishing takes place just under the rod, so very close to the fish. It is for this reason that a long cane, a minimum of 10 feet, should be used. Once the throw is done,

Fly nymph fly fishing on a large river

Flat nymph fishing

The material is the same as at roulette, only the prospecting mode changes. Fishing is generally done upstream, throwing between 8 and 12 meters. The indicator positioned on the line upstream of the nymph will be greased. It is by him that we will detect the touch, like a float fishing. To be effective, it will be necessary to choose a ballast of nymph sufficient so that the nymph is located close to the bottom layer during the drift without however clinging.

Nymph fishing at sight

our fish to view, obviously the water should be clear or clear. But of course, you also have to see the trout … And it’s not always easy. But when it is made possible, this fishing is exciting at the highest point, precisely because it is visual. A must! The choice of the nymph is done after having carefully analyzed the situation: flow rate, depth, trout activity, invertebrate activity on the surface … Only then can we choose the model. It is necessary to reach the layer of water where the trout is held and to make sure that the nymph does not have an abnormal behavior (immersion too fast, passage too fast, bizarre movement…).

Inert drift, without creating movement, is best to start with. The hooking can only be done by analyzing the behavior and movement of the fish, hence the obligation to always stay well visually focused on the fish. A 9 ′ or 10 ′ rod is well suited.

Streamer fishing:

This fishing practice is an incentive, unlike the previous ones. The streamer is, in fact, a lure fly which generally imitates a fish: minnow, stud, sculpin, loach, trout … It, therefore, makes it possible to regularly catch beautiful trout with carnivorous habits. For this fishing, the line is often plunging in order to be able to position the lure more deeply. We speak of plunging silk, unlike dry fishing where we use floating silk. Fishing is practiced downstream, we can proceed in the same way as drowning. As the fishing is an incentive, it is necessary to animate the streamer by carrying out pulls / released by raising the end of the rod which follows the drift of the silk. The touch is violent, but as if drowned, you should not shoe or barely! Due to having to fight pretty trout, the cane and the silk will have to be relatively powerful (normed 5 or 6) to be able to come to the end of dame fario while having a certain progressiveness in point to ensure the auto-shoeing.

The true pleasure that flies fishing:

It is an exciting and complete fishing practice. It is particularly exciting because it integrates the visual perception and sometimes the observation of the fish: going, sight fishing in nymph, hunting with a streamer, touch in fishing with a line. To succeed, you must above all know how to launch well. Then, it is useful to get to know the environment that is being prospected, to know the fish sought, their food, to know how to read the environment, to know the equipment, to master the appropriate assembly techniques for the line, to choose the applicable technique in l ‘instant … Fly fishing has no end in practice, which is why it is so fascinating.

You hesitate to get started, I am convinced that if you are ever to taste it, it is probably forever. The only condition to get there is to acquire the basics, a bit daunting for those who try alone. So, think about joining a club or learn in an accelerated way thanks to a fishing guide-guide specialized in this practice.