What Kind of Fish do You Catch Fly Fishing? (Question Answered)

Fly fishing is most renowned as a way for catching trout, grayling, and salmon, but it is also used for a wide variety of species that include pike, bass, panfish, and carp, also marine species, like redfish, tarpon, snook, bonefish, and striped bass.

Initially, we only fished for trout, salmon, and shade. But over time more and more species are being caught with this technique. The white fish bite flies like the bleak, the horse, and the Rudd. Carnivores take themselves to the streamers or to the surface flies (popper): pike, black bass, perch.

Fly fishing is also about sea fish such as bonefish, tarpon, barracuda and also flatfish like flounder! Fishing for mullet is also possible but it is delicate.

Fly fishing allows you to catch all of the types of fish in the world. It could be with a floating fly called dry fly, or underwater with an aquatic insect imitation, called nymph. Then you might also use a good imitation of a fish or crustacean, which are called streamers.

In the last 30 years, this elitist fishery has become widely popular around the world. The new means of communication being for a large part in the development of this fishing practice.

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man fly fishing in river

You Can Fly Fish in Both Fresh Water and Saltwater

This fishing is practiced both in seawater and in freshwater. Here, the bait is artificial. On a hook with eyelet, synthetic fibers, hair, feathers, are available, to give shape to an imitation that sometimes looks like perfection to the usual food of the coveted fish.

Many fly fishermen make their own artificial flies. It is therefore essential to know how the prey sought by the fish looks in order to reproduce them.

Trout, for example, feed primarily on aquatic and terrestrial insects that have fallen on the surface of the water. Sometimes they are also being processed or seen as aquatic invertebrate insects.

Older fish sometimes will set their sights on smaller fish for some of their feed. More rarely will they feed on small reptiles (lizards, snakes), rodents, amphibians or crustaceans.

Everything that makes his food can be imitated. It is then necessary that the fisherman succeeds in presenting the trout offering in a natural way. With or without animation on the surface of the water or underwater.

angler fly fishing at sunset

Dry Fly Fishing

The fly fishing surface with a floating insect imitation is called “dry fly fishing”. It is generally practiced in an inert drift.

That is to say that the artificial fly moves only through the movement of water. Once spotted the fish in activity through the rounds of water it creates when it sucks insects floating on the surface.

The fisherman seeks to identify the menu or hatch of the moment. He scours the surface for insects that may drift at the same time. If they are numerous and they are alike, then the choice of the fly is facilitated.

An artificial fly of the same size, shape, and color will do the trick. Then you have to present the fly to the fish in the most natural way possible…

Depending on the width and the slope of the river, you will have to fish short, a few meters away. Or you might have to fish long, which is a dozen meters, for the bigger rivers.

The progression and fishing action are generally upstream, sometimes it is necessary to “attack” the fish laterally. This is just in case it is impossible to arrive by its rear for example. The choice of your rod length is usually between 8 ‘and 9 feet’ long (converted between 2 meters 70 and 3 meters).

Some of the fish you catch fly fishing includes:

Freshwater Fish Caught on a Fly:

  • Trout, Steelhead
  • Shadow Bass
  • Salmon
  • Sea trout
  • Pike
  • Black bass
  • Barbel
  • Chub
  • Bleak
  • Carp
  • Tench
  • Taimen, Lenok trout, Arctic Char
  • Shad
  • Rudd
  • Dace
  • Catfish

Sea Fish Caught on a Fly:

  • Bonefish
  • Bar
  • Tarpon

Inasmuch as you can catch any type of fish when fly fishing. It is also good to know that some conditions may influence the number of fish you catch. While fly fishing, you should have the following in mind:

fisherman holding net and fly fishing in river

The Ideal Season for Fly Fishing

Late spring with the Mayfly and summer in the currents. At the beginning of the season, it is quite difficult to go fly fishing. Trout come out of winter and glean worms in the cold and tainted waters of our rivers. Then comes the first minnow that they hunt to eat fully and regain their weight form.

At the end of April, it is imperative that you watch out for Mayflies. These big flies which drive trout totally crazy.

Some rivers are better than others but if you have the chance to get one close home it will be great. Fish are less difficult to catch at this time of year.  So this is the time for you to indulge in fly fishing.

You Want to Watch The Hatch

Observe the hatch and then go to your bags of flies. Then see if you have one and use one of them on the surface of the water. By doing this it will make it easier to catch fish because you will know what they are feeding on.

During June, the first trichopteran larvae come out of their scabbard. This is the moment when you have to take the sedges out of your box and use them!

In summer, the levels begin to drop seriously and oxygen is scarce, so it is in the currents that you will have the chance to catch fish. In September, the season ends but in the second category, you will be able to have nice surprises, especially on the shadows.

You should not forget the fall and winter fly fishing seasons. If the area or State you fish allows fall and winter fishing in some areas don’t stop fishing.

Some of the biggest fish I have ever caught has been in the late fall or winter time. It seems like the fish are trying to store up some fat for the winter just like a bear. There have been many times I have had to break the ice from my guides so I could cast.

Try The Evening Shots

We saw that summer was the ideal season for fly fishing. Fish feed on insects during the day, especially in the currents.

But in the evening and early in the morning, the big fish come out to gobble on the calm parts of the river (without current). They find many insects on the surface, of cooler water than full sun and often the calm they do not always have during the day.

The evening shots usually come after a very hot day in June or when the weather is stormy. They are pretty random, one day you will not see a take and the next day is like madness until the dark night.

The secret for the evening strokes is to fish big; hang a big sedge in cane flank size 10 or 12 and use a bigger tippet if you know that there are big trout.

The goal is not to break stupidly on the first fish or on the first tree branch. Trout are generally less suspicious when nightfall comes around as they feel safer from predators.

In short, you will find the morning, the evening time is for you if you start in this hobby.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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