How to Fly Fish: Best Step-by-step Guide Ever

Overview, fly fishing is an amazing outdoor sport which is very popular among anglers all over the world. Actually, it is more complicated and difficult than just using a rod. However, I’m sure that you will find it very interesting when fly fishing. Honestly, wading into a lake and imitating the swimming movement of a prey are an unforgettable experience that you will never have when fishing with worms. Yeah, again, fly fishing is difficult so it probably takes you a lot of time and practice to do it properly. And in this article, I’ll show you how to fly fish so that you can pull in monster trout in a few days.

Make sure you have quality fishing equipment

If you want to fly fish, you need some specialized fishing gear. And the basics you’ll need no matter what are the follows:

  • A fly rod (6-8 foot)
  • A spool
  • Pliers
  • Flies
  • A pocket knife
  • A hemostat
  • A case
  • A landing net
  • A fly box for transporting your gear
  • Waders
  • Polarized sunglasses (for you to see through the water)
  • Wading boots

Find a right place and time to fish

Choose a right location

Fishing is no different than a game of chance, however, the location where you fish makes a big difference. Generally, it is important for you to fish in a quiet and secluded place which is far from other fishers. Also, you need to read the water so that you can choose the best place to cast since fish are likely to head towards underwater environments.

Choose a right location

Image source: Progressive Charlestown

Here are some things you need to do:

  • Look for submerged trees or debris and boulders.
  • Check the water for areas downstream of trees and rocks.
  • Scan the shallows for any sign of fish on a bank if it’s in the early morning as they will seek food at this time of the day.
  • Find pools where a river or stream widens to a gut.
  • Do not cast in the downstream end of the pool. This area may be shallower and near riffles/rapids downstream and fish will avoid it.

Choose the right time to fish

Just like the location, when you fish is also very important. Fish are likely to search for food in the early morning and again around sunset. But if you’re a beginner, it’s necessary to fish in the midday sun.  Actually, you can easily see a fish’s shadows very clearly in the middle of the day because of the sun’s position. In short, if you are new to fishing, it’s best to practice casting and spotting fish at noon.

How to Fly Fish

If you have enough room, use a two-stroke cast

It’s necessary to use a two-stroke cast if you’re on a bank without hanging trees. This is a very common method of casting but you still need some clearance behind and above you. Therefore, make sure there is enough room when you’re about to cast since a branch can totally snag the line, thus, costing you the fly.

If you have enough room, use a two-stroke cast

Image source: shing & Golf – Chip Beck

  • Lead-out about 3 rod-lengths worth of the line.
  • Use the dominant hand to hold the rod
  • Straighten the line if there is any tangle.
  • Slightly extend your arm, whip the rod tip back steadily.
  • Do not whip the rod back too far. Just stop once the tip points up and is right behind you.
  • Right before your fishing line straightens out behind/above you completely, flick your rod forward, sending the line out onto the water.

Tip: In case there is not enough room, just use a roll cast. It is quite similar to the previous one but doesn’t require a lot of room.

Make the fly attractive along the surface of the water

Fish may consider your fly an invertebrate/insect. Therefore, the way you manage a fishing line can affect how convincing the fly is to the fish down there. There are 2 main ways to copy an insect such as giving the fishing line gent twitches or letting it drift without doing anything.


  • Move the rod to the left or right, changing the way the line lays on the surface of the water.
  • Keep the rod angled upstream if you’re upstream from the fish.
  • If a fish feeds near the water surface, cast the fly and land it near the head of the fish and let it float towards the fish.

Hook the fish

If you want to learn how to fly fish, you also have to learn how to hook it. The reason is that if you don’t hook it in the proper way, it can get away very easily.

Hook the fish

Image source: Outdoor Empire

Here are some tips for you to hook a fish

  • Keep the tip of the rod low to the water surface. In that way, you can move the tip according to the curvature of the line once you’ve got a bite.
  • Try to keep the fishing line taut as much as you can.
  • Secure the hook in the mouth of the fish.
  • Don’t yank the tip upwards.
  • Keep the tip low to the surface and pointed towards the line if the fish tries to swim upstream.
  • Keep stripping away the fishing line until the fish is tired.
  • Palm your reel while pulling a big one.

Net the fish once it tires itself out and is in the shallows

Once you’ve hooked the fish, it will fight or swim downstream or upstream. Some big fish can totally jerk the fishing line in an attempt to get away from you. However, everything you need to do is let the fish get tired and reel in the fish.

Here are some things you should remember:

  • Don’t lift the rod up as this can put a lot of pressure on your rod which may break it.
  • Let the fish swim in the water and try to lead it shallow water.
  • Position your net and pull the fishing line to make the fish’s head over the rim.
  • Once its body gets past the net’s rime, flick up the rim of the net to make sure it can’t jump out.
  • Unhook the fly from its mouth carefully. Don’t forget that it can totally be flailing and thrashing so do not get yourself cut.
  • Once you’ve netted the fish, just decide if it is big enough to keep or not. If it’s too small, just release it. And don’t forget the restrictions as well as requirements in the region you’re fishing in.

In conclusion, all of the above are the main steps in fly fishing. In short, fly fishing is not easy at all. In fact, it may take you practice and time to learn but if you read the article thoroughly, I believe that you can master this method very quickly.