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Successful Tips for the Beginner Angler

Learn/Practice Your Casts

The cast is truly what sets fly fishing apart. It is the only way to deliver your fly to the fish and the better the cast the more fish you can catch. The best way to learn is with a class or casting lesson. We at Front Range Anglers offer Orvis 101, a FREE class, all summer. This class is a great way to get involved in a low-pressure group setting. The other option is Booking a for a private casting lesson or using YouTube. Both are very valid and very good ways to learn. Regardless how you learn it, a good cast is fundamental to being an effective angler.  Once you understand the basics of smooth acceleration to a deliberate and abrupt stop the best thing to do is practice practice practice. Find a grassy field or park with a wide-open space and set up a target or two at different distances. Hitting these select targets is a great step to develop accuracy. A favorite drill is to get a friend to roll tennis balls across the field and cast at those. Becoming comfortable casting to a moving target can be helpful in a lot of situations.

Just remember to stay relaxed and to let the rod and fly line do the work. Just accelerate to a dead stop and don’t over grip the fly rod. You are fishing, have fun. Once you master the basics, or at least become proficient keep learning there are tons of specialty casts to learn as well: Reach Casts, Aerial Mends and the ever-important Double Haul. Take it one step at a time and never stop practicing.  

Seek Professional Advice from Your Local Fly Shop

*Front Range Anglers

Having the right fly-fishing equipment can be critical for success. If you’re using the wrong gear for your target fish and area, it doesn’t matter how many blogs you read or videos you watch, making the cast and getting a strike will be much harder. Walking into a fly shop can be one of the hardest things to do as a new angler. All of the flies, rods in different weights, lines reels, and even sometimes odds and ends, overwhelming doesn’t even begin to cover it. Know that every person in the shop was you at one point and we all want to help get you the right gear and have the best time out on the water. Ask questions of the people in the shop, it said over and over but there are no dumb questions, and that is especially true in fly fishing.

Choose the Right Water

Looking for trout in a warm pond, you probably won’t have much luck, equally so if you are looking for largemouth bass in a cold spring fed creek at elevation. Knowing what you want to catch and the habitat it lives in is important. Make sure to check the flows of a river or ask your Front Range Anglers for any advice. Some water can be better for a new angler than others. A nice steady current and obvious places for fish to hide (like large rocks or fallen logs) can make it easier for a new fly fisherman to get their flies in front of a willing and hungry fish without scaring it away or getting too good of a look at the flies presented.

Learn to Wade Like a Pro

If you stomp around in the water, you’ll stir up mud and debris and chase off the fish. Instead, try to move as smoothly and gently as possible while wading. There shouldn’t be a wake or any disturbance in the water caused by large loud steps. Make sure to move one foot at a time and test the bottom before taking another step. This will force you to move slower and more deliberately. Always have on a wading belt. If you do take a tumble, which we all have, it will stop your waders from filling up with water. Be careful and safe, also don’t ignore the fish right by the bank. A lot of time you don’t have to get in the water at all to catch a fish.

Pick the Right Fly

Seems obvious, pick the right fly and you will catch a fish. The big part is learning how to do that. The best way is to talk to people. Ask us in the SHOP for some tips on a particular river or section of river, chances are we have or someone has been fishing it very recently. What do you do if you are already on the river though? Pick up a rock is a great place to start. Reach in the water and grab a bigger rock and see what is on it. Try to match the size, shape and color of what you see. If you see fish eating on the surface of the water, try and grab what they are eating as it floats by. Tie on something that matches and see if it works. Trial and error are the only way to figure it out and can be one of the most fun parts about fly fishing.

Fish Upstream to Downstream?

Only fish upstream to down, only fish downstream to up? Like most things there is no one right answer. Both situations do arise and knowing when to fish in what direction is important to your ultimate success. For the most part moving upstream as you fish will yield the best results. The fish don’t see you and you will tend to spook less with your movement. There are exceptions such as fishing streamers or swinging wet flies, but knowing that most of the time it’s best to fish upstream is the best place to start.

Seeing the Fish

Sunglasses: they always seem to be an afterthought; any old pair will do. While this is true you can fish with anything, a good pair of polarized sunglasses with a brown or copper lens gives you the biggest advantage. Being able to see through the glare on the water and spot fish before you cast at them. Seeing your quarry before it sees you gives you the upper hand, and when it comes to fishing every little thing helps.

Need More Fly Fishing Tips? Invest in Training

Tips and tricks are a good place to start as are YouTube videos but nothing can compare to a real-life instructor. Taking a fly fishing class or Booking a Guided Trip with Front Range Anglers is really the best way to push your skills to the next level.