Fly fishing involves the use of an artificial fly as an aquatic prey in order to lure fish to the bait. The technique which is applicable in both salt and fresh water is done by means of a weighted line, a fly rod and a reel to cast the man-made lure into the water. Whether in the lake, small stream, river, pond or open ocean, fly fishing techniques vary. Here are some of the best fly fishing techniques commonly used.

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A fly fisherman active fly fishing in a river. Isn’t that awesome?

Fishing in cold water

Fishing in cold water is often a very challenging experience. In extremely cold seasons, fly anglers are likely to encounter frozen water and cold blowing winds. The fingers may grow numb as the fishing line becomes icy. With the right position for casting the fly rod, however, the whole activity will be fruitful.

Because of the prevailing conditions, cold water fishing requires the fly angler to wade deep in cold water where species such as Salmon are found. Hip boots and chest waders should be worn to insulate the feet and the body against extremely cold water.

Modern wading boots for fishing in cold water are made of metal studs and thick rubber. Some wading boots also have breathers to allow for aeration and ventilation of the feet when wading in water. Fishing vests and inflatable floaters should also be worn for safety in the event of slipping in deep cold water.

Dry fly trout fishing

Attractors and imitators are often used as dry flies. Examples include parachute Adams and Royal Wulff. In dry fly trout fishing, floating flies are joined to the fishing line be means of an invisible leader. The fly is nearly weightless and is therefore kept afloat on the surface of the water. Although the trout mostly feed on underwater prey, the floating fly is easily noticed by the trout.

Dry fly fishing is preferred over sinking fly fishing because detecting a trout strike the fly is easier when it floats on water. This is helpful especially for those conducting dry fly fishing for the first time. Once the fly is used to catch fish, its floating ability is hampered when wet.

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False casting technique is used to restore its floating capability. False casting involves continuous casting of the fly in the air without having contact with water. Drying can also be enhanced by the use of an absorbent piece of cloth and immersion of the fly in a hydrophobic solution of fly dressing.

In dry fly fishing in a clear water river, the technique is to keep the angler as low as possible but away from the banks. Trout are likely to strike the food where low-speed and high-speed water currents interact. Stream water obstructions such as rocks also form the best site for casting the fly, as fish rest at these obstructions in wait for food which is transported by moving currents. The challenge of dry fly fishing on streams is the accuracy of casting the rod without much dripping. It requires vigilance and constant monitoring of the rod to set the hook.

Nymphing for trout

Since trout mostly feed on food deep under the water, the sinking fly technique comes in handy as one of the best fly fishing techniques. It involves putting a fly down into the water for the trout instead of letting the fly float on water. The nymph can be made to sink by means of weights. Metal strips are the best weights as they have little effect on the casting ability of the angler. Sinking tip fly lines are also occasionally used. For beginners, a downstream fly sinking technique is applied, a method in which a dead drift is cast across the river.

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A Browntrout caugh from fly fishing

The fly line left to drift downstream, as any slacking on the fishing line is avoided. Mending is done depending on how slow or fast the nymph is drifting on water. Modern fly sinking techniques incorporate the use of a visible strike indicator.

Still water trout fishing

Trout fishing can also be done in less turbulent waters such as lakes and springs. Large water masses may call for the use of boats and canoes where traditional wading may not be possible. The technique of still water trout fishing is that of pulling a streamer by a boat or canoe by means of a sinking line. Success is realized when you cast the line ahead of the cruising trout.

Playing trout

One of the best fly fishing techniques used today is the playing trout fishing. The trout is hooked by the bait, and retrieved by pulling the fly line while the line between the rod hand’s index finger and the handle is firmly pinched. Since the fish will exert some force on the line while struggling to leave the hook, the tip of the rod should be kept high to withstand the force.

For larger fish, an extra fly line is normally coiled between the rod hand’s index finger and the reel. The fisher can tactfully apply a little pressure on the outgoing fly line using the fingers. Tiring the large fish is enhanced by means of the drag system of the reel. Since fish can easily die when tired, a heavier tippet material is used to reduce exhaustion while the angler lands the fish.

Releasing trout

Unlike other fish species, trout are very delicate and require careful, gentle handling. Releasing trout technique is used as a measure to preserve the quality of trout in a fishery. Before the trout is released back to the water, the fish should be handled by means of wet hands to prevent wearing out of the scales by dry hands.

Although the fish should remain in water while removing the hook, there is no danger in holding the fish out of the water as long as the hook is removed quickly and the fish released immediately. Once removed from the hook, the trout is supported in the water until its gills are fully soaked and stabilized. If released prematurely, the trout may sink and suffocate in water.

Saltwater fly fishing

This is done at the shore on wading flats or by means of boats for offshore fishing. Unlike in fresh water fishing, the technique involves the use of heavier tackle to accommodate heavier fish and flies. Wet flies are mostly used, although surface lures are employed in the case of larger fish.

Offshore saltwater fishing is done by use of small bait fish or trolling hookless lures to draw the fish towards the boat. Large salt water fish are slowed down by large, powerful reels. The reels should be heavy and resistant to corrosion as a result of salty water. Hooks should equally be strong, durable and resistant to corrosion.

Fly fishing techniques vary depending on the habitat within which fishing takes place. Since fly fishing relies heavily on artificial flies, fly rods and lines, the best fly fishing techniques are those that enable sending of the fly to the targeted fish with ease and accuracy.