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The big three. Illustration by award winning water colorist Thom Glace.

6 Easy-to-Fix Mistakes Beginner Fly Anglers Make While Trout Fishing

Follow these basic fly fishing tips, and you’ll go from skunked to strikes in no time.

There is an endless supply of commentaries, magazine articles, blogs, and videos on how to do just about everything fly fishing, and casting and the actual event of ‘fishing’ seems to be highest of the list.

Most advice is good, some not so good, and then there are a few that hit the nail on the head.  Chelius’ following comments are ‘right-on’ for the new trout fishers, and a good pre-flight check for the rest of us.

— Skip Clement

Fly fishing for trout can be one of the most rewarding and exciting outdoor pursuits there is. It can also be one of the most frustrating. I often hear people who don’t flyfish talk about how difficult or impossible it is to catch a trout on the fly. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Fly fishing isn’t as hard as it may seem.

Like anything, there are different levels of anglers, and starting out doesn’t need to be so intimidating. The reasons new fly anglers don’t catch trout have more to do with the basics—reading a river, understanding fly patterns, and using the wrong gear. While you will learn many of these skills through experience and time spent on the water, you can still catch plenty of fish by sticking to the basics and fixing simple mistakes. With the trout season upon us, get rid of the notion that flyfishing is the hardest thing to do and focus on the basics to catch more fish. Learn how to fix these six common mistakes, and you’ll be on your way to better days on the river.

The author with proof.

Mistake No. 1: You’re Making Too Many False Casts

Mistake No. 2: You Stick to One Fly Pattern

Mistake No. 3: You Don’t Know How to Read a River

Mistake No. 4: You’re Not Setting the Hook Properly

Mistake No. 5: You’re Using the Wrong Gear

Fly fishing is a gear-intensive pursuit—so much so that it can be overwhelming. You need waders, boots, rods, reels, leaders, tippet, flies, etc. The list goes on and on, and you may struggle if you don’t have a good trout setup. It’s important to focus on the essentials first and get an effective trout rod and reel. For your first rig, choose a 4-weight or 5-weight rod with a matching reel.

“Another common mistake I see is people with the wrong rod,” McCain says. “Like all fishing, the rods are tools. The right rod will do the job better than the wrong rod. There is no one rod for everything.” Leader and tippet is another area that plagues novice anglers. Trout, especially heavily pressured fish, will avoid visible lines in the water. The right size tippet is crucial to trick finicky trout. Anglers will often have too heavy of a tippet, and simply taking it down one size can result in more fish.

I’ll leave the details of ‘fixing’ one thru four, and six a mystery to be solved by clicking here . . .

About Ryan Chelius . . .


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