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Completely New To Freshwater Fly-Fishing

2009/4/4 15:01
Posts: 0
The past two weeks my buddy and I have been spending as much time as we can between classes and work to prepare ourselves for opening day..

Well, opening day came and we couldn't have felt more embarrasingly clueless to the nuances of freshwater fly fishing. Both of us are experienced saltwater fly fisherman, but felt about as knowledgeable as a wife in a fly shop out on the stream (no offense to those guys who have been blessed with the miracle of a wife who flyfishes).

I was reading the "Beginners- what you weren't told?" forum and was really hoping that I could pick up some of the basics and a few tips on how to cope with the tantalizing volume of information.

Below are some questions that I came up with in my mind after being out on the stream:

When I get to the stream, where do I look for fish?

How do I present different kinds of flies?

Where can I read/learn about fly hatches to become a more knowledgeable fisherman?

Should I be working the flies like in saltwater or letting them drift?

When drifting, should I mend the line so that the leader is always allowing the fly to remain flowing naturally?

I don't know if I'm the only one that feels like they can't tell their ass from their elbow starting out, but I love this sport and being outdoors and any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

Tight lines.


Posted on: 2009/4/5 15:42

Re: Completely New To Freshwater Fly-Fishing

2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 5
Kreyfish, I'll make you a deal if you would be willing to show me how to catch fish on flies in saltwater I'll show you how to catch trout,smallmouth bass, bluegills,etc. in moving freshwater......if you can make it to the harrisburg, carlisle can respond to this reply and we'll take it from there.

Posted on: 2009/4/5 15:52

Re: Completely New To Freshwater Fly-Fishing
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 439
Welcome to PaFlyFish forum - you've come to the right place. Actually, your situation is a bit rare: a salt guy looking to learn freshwater fly fishing. It's almost always the other way around. I think, in the future, cases like yours will increase as more and more people get their first exposure to FFing in the salt arena.

Anyway, the answers to your questions are pretty basic and, I'll predict, you'll pick up freshwater FFing pretty fast. In my view, saltwater fly fishing is actually much closer to FFing for bass, than bass fishing is to trout. Bass fishing tends to involve the casting of larger flies, on heavier fly rods, and involves more imparting of action to the fly. Catching river smallmouth bass is very similar to fishing for schoolie stripers in a tidal river - similar flies and retrieves (and a similar fight from the fish, although smallies will give you some great jumps!).
For trout fishing, what you need to learn is how to identify places in the stream where trout lay and wait for the current to bring food to them. And yes, you are correct, getting a drag free drift is very important in trout fishing and is an issue that is almost non-existent in saltwater. For starts, I'd recommend you try some streamer fishing for trout. Get some small Clouser Minnow type flies and fish 'em just like you would for reds and stripers - cast and strip 'em back. This will catch trout. You can learn dry fly and nymphing as you go along. Find a good beginner's FFing book like the one Orvis puts out and read the sections on trout and freshwater. Folks here on this site can also answer your specific questions as well.
TL and good luck.

Posted on: 2009/4/5 16:17

Re: Completely New To Freshwater Fly-Fishing

2007/7/2 19:40
Posts: 1343
Some of the bigger waters,East and West can be like saltwater-when the bite is over-its over-so check with fly shops in your area and see if they can't put you on some of the usually smaller waters where you can pick up fish most of the time-it can be a set back carefully working places where your experience and instinct tells you fish should be and Nada-speak from experience there-but don't mention those times very
Read up on the trouts vision-surprise you to know they can see you when you can't see them-many skunkings are due to vibrations and visions giving you away-not lack of those vibration waves -try to keep them away from reaching target zone.
and down size-get use to 18s and smaller-you and your friend might want to hire a guide once or twice-seems silly on small eastern waters but its not-you can cut many months off of your learning curve learning holding/feeding water patterns of the different species.Lastly I would suggest taking good day with freshly stocked trout as a fun day but not learning day.

Posted on: 2009/4/5 17:39
lurking like a barracuda or a toad fish

Re: Completely New To Freshwater Fly-Fishing

2006/9/12 21:16
From Suburban Pittsburgh
Posts: 9
Welcome, you've stumbled onto the right place to learn of fresh water fly fishing! The wealth of collective knowledge here is really pretty amazing.

I agree, hiring a guide is a super idea if you can do it. If you can't do that (guessing that you fish between classes means you're in college & with limited budget) see if you can get out with some of the board members here. As a suggestion, put your location in your profile. I bet you get more offers like the one osprey made. (Nice gesture osprey!) I fly fished or at least attempted to do so for 2 years before I got a lesson/guide and it completely changed my game so to speak.

There is plenty to read online from various websites, including this one. You can also get some instructional books that will teach technique. There are numerous FF publications on the magazine racks too.

As for which bugs to toss first...I agree, streamers will be a good place to start given your Salt experience. And don't forget to add some wooly buggers to your fly box! Green weenies should also be used, they're very productive in the spring time and also a very easy tye.

This is a good place to start learning about how to read a stream: ... nbauer_reading_water.aspx

Simply put, trout like cover and protection. Overhanging banks, tree limbs, undercut banks, log piles, deep pools, and boulders or rocks are all pretty good bets to find fish.

Good luck and again, welcome to the board!

Posted on: 2009/4/5 20:45

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