Using a fly rod is a great way to approach the sport of fishing. Unfortunately, many have never pursued this activity because they think it is too expensive, too hard, or both. This little article will point you in the direction of getting started and will also point you in the direction of expanded information to continue on your journey.

Hebgen Lake

Things You Will Need

This guide will include as part of the steps, the procurement of the basics that you need. However, in basic list form, here they are:
>Basic Fly Rod (Suggest starter priced 5-wt)
>Floating Line with Backing
>Tapered Leader
>Basic Flies suited to Your Needs
There are additional things I will suggest in the article itself.

Step 1


In this article I will discuss the basics that you need and go into the basics of what you would need to target trout, panfish, and bass. All of these can be fished with a 5-wt fly rod. Therefore, as a starting rod, this is what I will suggest starting off with.

Fly Rod and Reel

Do not go out and buy a thousand dollar bamboo rod. While I love fly fishing, I cannot promise you that you will as well. Unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket, a graphite 5-wt 9 footer will do you very nicely. You can get one that will be quite adequate in the $80 to $200 price range. If you buy a combo, the reel will be matched to the rod, and a dirty secret of fly fishing is that 99.9% of the time, the reel will be of no major relevance.


Basically, you need four kinds of line before you go fishing. The first thing that goes on your reel is backing. This is essentially a buffer for when you get a big fish on and he strips out your leader and fly line. The next line that goes on is your fly line. The vast majority of the time you can use floating weight forward line, and the size of the line (assuming you go with my recommendation) should be 5-wt. Next, is your tapered leader. The (usually) monofilament line that attaches to your fly line tapers down to a thinness that is designated by a label like 0X, 2X, 6X, etc. The higher the _X, the lighter the line. I would suggest starting with a 4X unless you will be fishing in streams with very clear water and very picky fish. As you progress in your knowledge, you will realize that my previous statement is rather arbitrary and you will be switching leader often depending on many factors. The final line that you will need is some matching rolls of tippet material. This is material that matches the end of your tapered leader in thickness and can be added to extend your leader length.

Vest and Tools

You need a vest and some basic tools to get started. The vest you buy should have plenty of room for a fly box, tippet material, and other assorted items. It should have rings from which many items can hand. Likely, you will have attached to your vest a nail-knot tool, line nipper, forceps, and from the ring on back, a small landing net. You can get buy quite nicely with just these things.


You will need flies appropriate to your fishing needs. How's that for advice? Here's what I suggest you do to figure this out. Since you are obviously handy at looking things up on the internet, do a search on "flies for my-species on my-body-of-water." Then, there are some discount fly retailers online where you can acquire these flies at an extremely reasonable cost. You cannot go wrong with these flies:
>Woolly Buggers
>Copper Johns
>Hare's Ear Nymphs
>San Juan Worms
>Egg Patterns
>Scud Patterns
>Elk-hair Caddis
These are just some very popular flies that you can catch panfish, trout, and bass with. I am leaving out a ton of other flies that might be great in certain circumstances

Step 2

Missouri Trout Park Rainbow

Learn to Cast

You will need to develop casting skills in two areas. One is the roll cast and the other is the traditional fly cast.

Getting a good idea on how to perform these casts requires a bit more than verbal instructions so for this, let me refer you

Please remember that fly fishing is not fly casting. You can get out there and fish before you are a master caster. The progression of casting will help you catch more fish and increase your enjoyment as the focus becomes more on presentation than on tangles. See the resources at the end for more detail on casting.

Step 3


Part of the fun of fly fishing is the research stage. I suggest a multitude of avenues for this. I suggest very strongly that you develop a relationship with a local fly shop and/or fly fishing group locally. This personal kind of information is invaluable. Also, I suggest that you locate some sites where information seems to be unbiased. Some sites are simply front pages for guiding services or the sale of other products. Books and magazines are also a great way to get information. There just seems to be something you get from a book that is not conveyed on a computer.

Fly fishing is a great sport. Reading some of the popular outdoor magazines would leave you with the impression that the sport was too costly and too hard. Neither are true and hopefully this little starting guide might get you headed in the right direction.

Tips & Warnings

Don't spend too much money to begin.
Don't give up too soon. There's a steep initial learning curve but it levels off rapidly.
Practice Catch and Release when you can.