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Flymen Blog

Two-Handed Fly Fishing For Bull Trout: Setup, Methods, Flies, Locations

As fly anglers, we find ourselves constantly pushing the limits of innovative techniques.

One such method, two-handed casting (better known as spey casting), has exploded in popularity in the last five years, though some would say ten years or so. For those who don’t know, spey casting is generally done to target anadromous fish with a much less-tiring casting stroke, capable of handling larger flies and sinking tips with relative ease.

Are You a 'One Trick Pony' Fly Angler? Here's Why You May Not Be Catching as Many Fish as You Could

Varying your technique and presentation to match the fishing conditions at hand is key to consistently catching fish.

The dictionary defines the phrase, “One trick pony” as “a person or thing with only one special feature, talent, or area of expertise."

I see fly anglers all the time who are one trick ponies — for example, only fishing with dry flies or dry and dropper rigs no matter what the stream conditions are. Even guys who nymph fish can get caught up in only euro nymphing or only indicator nymphing.

We've all been guilty, myself included, of sticking to a favorite technique or fly for too long when it’s not producing.

This will change the way you fly fish pressured waters.

Fly fishing today has anglers targeting an array of species in pretty much every fishable location on the planet.

Generally speaking, due to the rise of social media and the seemingly insatiable need to snap that “epic fish pic,” there are not too many streams or locations that are secret fishing spots anymore.

There are probably many anglers who have stepped foot in the same run you fish regularly. If you are fortunate enough to fish a river system that doesn’t have much pressure, well, congratulations and please take me there.

The local waters where I live in Pennsylvania can be inundated with anglers just about every other day.

In cases like that, as an angler you have three choices you can make:

  1. Put your walking shoes on, find open water, and fish anyway.
  2. Go home and tie more flies waiting for a day where you have the stream to yourself (you’ll be waiting for a while).
  3. Alter your fishing approach, think outside of the box, and fish your fly with confidence behind people who just fished a run.

In my personal experience, finding open water and fishing usually works and is good for a fish here and there. To maximize your success, try altering your fishing tactics with an unconventional approach that most anglers wouldn’t use.

Believe it or not, this is actually extremely easy to do because most guys are using a Woolly Bugger/standard streamer, or tandem nymph rig. Fly fishing is entirely centralized on observation. Reading water, insect identification, flow rates/visibility, the list is endless. Take a minute, observe other anglers, and BE DIFFERENT.

How to tackle big water fly fishing

Something about pulling a fish out of a big body of water makes you feel heroic.

Walking up to a big body of water, so big that your cast doesn’t even cover a fraction of the water, can be daunting and even downright discouraging.

You almost feel nervous to make your first cast. Where do I start? How do I tackle this water without a boat?

But when everything comes together and you hook into that fish, you feel like you won the lottery!

Here are a few things to help make swinging your fly rod feel a little more like fishing and a little less like… flailing.

Swing it! Spey streamer fly fishing tips.

Reddington fly rod stream

Everyone has their own style of fishing whether it be with a spinning rod or a fly rod.

Those of us who choose to pick up a fly rod also have our little own niches in which we choose to stick with.

Unfortunately, we tend to put our streamer boxes aside during this time of year and stick to more traditional approaches.

Yes, it’s exhilarating to watch that giant brown trout come to the surface and take your size 18 dry fly as you fish a tail out of a pool or a nice steady run, but what is more heart pumping than watching that same giant fish chase your 4” to 8” streamer from bank to bank and demolish your fly on the strip or the end of your swing?

Fly fishing for predators: 3 ways to entice an aggressive eat.

Fly fishing Sculpin Helmet

Your fly is the most critical part of your setup.

It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing it on your new $500 rod, or fish scale print reel, or in the newest wading shoes.

If your fly doesn’t fish, the fish won’t eat it.

That being said, a fly is only as good as its presentation. Your fly might be the best-looking, most lifelike imitation ever tied. It might perfectly match the hatch, down to the exact shade and color; however, it's only as good as the angler throwing it.

My aim is to give you some perspective on how I fish a streamer and why, hopefully increasing the effectiveness of the flies already in your box.

Fly tying: There's no new black.

black fishing flies

It doesn't matter what happens in the fashion industry – when it comes to fly fishing, there's no new black.

We've all heard it!

"Orange is the new black," or "purple is the new black," or even that olive would be the new black.

Don't get me wrong – I know there are a lot of colors that are really effective in different types of flies. I love throwing white deceivers to snappers and other saltwater species, and big olive flies to pike, not to mention fishing a banana-colored zonker for salmon or a big gray articulated streamer for trout.

There are so many colors that are important when it comes to flies and fly tying, but none more important than black. Continue reading

Get out there! Tips for winter brown trout fly fishing.

Ben Rogers fly fishing guide

by Ben Rogers
Winter can put a damper on even the most avid angler’s day. As a Caribbean guy, I know this better than anyone.

However, if you put in the little extra effort to get out of your cozy bed and head to your nearest trout stream, you could quite possibly have one of your best days on the water.

True, fish get sluggish with cold temperatures. The slowing of their metabolisms causes them to feed less than in the warmer months.

There's one exception to this rule: post-spawn trout expended a lot of calories when they were spawning, and, once rested, they put back on the feed bag they had in pre-spawn.

This time can vary based on your geographic area, so scout and keep notes of the spawn times. Usually within a few weeks these fish are well-rested and start to feed to retain a healthy weight through the rest of winter.

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Big streamer fly fishing: Beyond banging the banks.

Gabe Levin, 27-inch White River brown trout

by Steve Dally
Big streamer fly fishing often gets labelled as a young person’s game – all brawn and no subtlety, just “banging the banks.”

Real streamer fishing is visual – from the dance of the fly to the buttery flash of a drive-by – and intellectual – requiring analysis of the flow of current around and over structure to find the honeypots.

Streamer fishing, particularly when the flies are 6” and bigger, is mentally and physically challenging, requiring fast-twitch decision-making and slow-twitch endurance.

Knowing your game, as well as the fish's, is way more important than a booming cast and no brains.

If you want to streamer fish longer and better, here's how.

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Small Water Fly Fishing: Streamer Design and Tactics.

Fish-Skull Sculpin Helmet trout fly fishing

by Brandon Bailes
I often struggle with deciding on which type of water I want to fish, whether it's big water with big flies and sinking lines, or small streams with downsized offerings. Both can be very rewarding but there’s something special about small streams and exploring where smaller predatory fish can live.

My definition of a small stream, warmwater or coldwater, is a watershed that is at the max 25 feet wide and a deep pool from 4 to 5 feet deep. Where I live this even includes a few tailwaters, which when generating are not navigable by boat.

These types of waters contain more than just bugs for fish to feed on. After many years of exploring these little gems and talking with other small stream fanatics, I've come up with my own way to target the meat-eaters in these waters with downsized streamers.

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Fall streamer fly fishing: 3 tips for more strikes.

by Andrew Loffredo
Streamer fishing is one of the most visual and exciting ways to fish for trout!

As a former member of the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team, I picked up some streamer tricks that are useful for both new and experienced anglers.

Here are 3 tips to consider when you’re “hucking meat” this fall.

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Follow this 5 point checklist for better Czech nymphing.

by Tim Savarese
Imagine being out on the water consistently catching a ton of fish and having a blast doing it. That's the best way I can describe Czech nymphing.

It's not just an exciting way to fish – it's also extremely productive. Subaquatic bugs make up around 90% of the trout's diet. Most of those bugs are near or on the bottom, so that's where your flies need to be to catch fish.

Here are the main things I keep in mind when Czech nymphing.

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