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How To Learn Fly Fishing

We have previously covered the items you need to start fly fishing, but what about actually learning how to fly fish? It can seem daunting, and many people don’t start because they don’t know where to learn. Although fly fishing can seem intimidating, it is a really friendly sport with large local communities of fly fishers.

Fortunately, there are many ways to learn fly fishing. There is no right or wrong way, but this article will cover some suggestions on how to learn.

Whether it be a guide, mentor or friend – any knowledge you can soak up will really help you out. It is good to get the basics down before you go out fly fishing on your own. Some of these options cost money, while others are basically free. You may also choose to teach yourself, which can take time – lots of time. This can, however, be very rewarding in the long run. Think of your personal style – and how you want to go about learning and go from there.

Hire A Fly Fishing Guide To Learn From

This is the most expensive option, but it is probably the best option as well. Fly fishing guides are on the water all the time, and they know their local rivers very intimately. A day spent with a guide can send your fly fishing game to a whole new level.

I recommend looking for guides in your local area. Booking a day on your local river will help you unlock how to rig, how to cast, what flies to use, and where the fish actually are. By learning from your guide, it can take lots of guess work out of the equation.

I recommend new fly anglers start with a wade fishing trip. It is easier to get down the fundamentals on land before you get in a boat. Once you are more comfortable, then go ahead and book a float trip.

A full day wade trip can cost $400 give or take. It is a large investment, but the knowledge you gain will stay with you for life.

Research your local outfitters and read reviews. The best guides have been doing it for decades, so I recommend picking a veteran guide who really knows their stuff.

By hiring a guide, you are more likely to be successful on your own on the next outing. It is the best way to become an independent angler.

Find A Fly Fishing Mentor To Learn From

This is the most affordable way to go, if you have a mentor available. This could be an uncle, family friend, grandma, whatever! Someone in your life that is a fly fisher is a huge resource to have. Although this is a free option, I highly recommend buying lunch or pitching in gas/fly money.

It is also the least intimidating option, because you’ll already have a relationship with this person. They will be more likely to share their secrets with you – techniques, best local holes, parking locations, hot flies, and access points.

I went out with a family friend when I first started. He wasn’t an amazing fisherman, but he knew where to go and what flies to use. I am forever thankful for that day. He taught me how to dead drift a nymph rig, and I ended up catching a few trout on my first outing!

So definitely ask around, there may be a fly fisher in your inner circle who can really help you out.

Take A Local Class To Learn

Many fly shops will offer classes on fly fishing. Some are free, while others are paid. Some classes even spend half of the class on the river, where you are being guided. I did one of these hybrid classes when I was first starting – it was really beneficial.

Classes are generally cheaper than guide trips, which is good for the budget conscious angler. It is a way to get your foot in the door without breaking the bank. For many self starting anglers, a class may be all they need to get started.

I really like the hybrid classes because they give students an opportunity to get on the water. Catching your first trout on the fly is an incredible experience, and it will add lots of confidence to your fly fishing game.

Shop around and visit local shops to see if there’s any classes available. Group classes tend to be best, because you can make fishing buddies along the way. Building a community of fishing friends is really important in my opinion.

Do It Yourself (DIY)

This is probably the hardest way to go. With the DIY method, you’ll read fly fishing books, watch videos, and then go out to the river. There is a lot of trial and error with this method, but it can definitely pay off. Some of the best fly fishers are self taught, but it really takes some time and hard work.

After I went out with my family friend and did the hybrid class, I started to learn by trial and error. I had the very basics under my belt, and I proceeded to fish – A LOT. Over time, I got better and started having plenty of success on my own.

DIY learning is not for everyone. If you want the fast track to become a good fly fisher, then you’ll need a guide or a class. However, if time is on your side and you want to do it the hard way – then teach yourself.

I think the DIY method is really effective because you learn what doesn’t work. After a day of getting skunked on the river, you can look back and contemplate on what you did wrong. This allows you to try new techniques and flies, until you start catching fish. It also allows you to learn your local waters very well, every bend and every pool.

For independent learners and introverted folks, the DIY method is definitely the #1 choice.