Fly Fishing Terms

Fly Fishing Terms

Fly fishing, like any specialty activity or sport, has its own terminology. For a beginner, these fly fishing terms might be confusing. Below we’ve assembled some of the commonly used names and products used when fly fishing and attempted to responsibly define them and their use. Click on the links below to learn more.

In faster, deeper water, it’s hard to beat high stick nymphing. With this technique, you can get your fly to the right depth quickly and catch more fish…even in more challenging runs. Click to lean how to catch more trout.

Every fly rod can catch a fish…that’s for sure. However, not every fly rod is a joy to cast and certainly doesn’t celebrate the defining attribute of our sport…fly casting. To learn more about what makes a good fly rod, just click the link.

You’ve probably heard that a fly reel is just a place to store your fly line…well, that’s certainly true but as usual, there’s a bit more to the story. Just click for more information.

What a Czech nymphing is: The Czech nymphing craze owes its origin to competition fly fishing and over time it has emerged as a popular and effective fishing method in Europe. Some more traditional fly fishermen have their individual preferences and admire the splendor and heritage of classic dry fly fishing and therefore might look down upon the Czech style of nymph-fishing.

Eddy is a term used in the physical science of fluid dynamics to describe the swirling and reverse currents associated with moving fluids (i.e. air, water) as it passes over and around an obstructing object, back-filling the void space behind or downstream from the object with a characteristic swirling current counter to the main current’s forward direction. In a river environment, eddys (sometimes spelled “eddies”) are quite common and generally occur in the space downstream from or “behind” large exposed rocks, boulders, and partially submersed detritus such as fallen tree limbs and other debris, either natural or man-made.

A riffle is an important component of a river or a stream’s physical morphology and a fly fisher must read these areas carefully because of the abundant aquatic life they are able to support.

The stonefly is a relatively large aquatic insect commonly found in cool, clean trout water throughout North America. Even though these bugs are less common than mayflies and caddis because of environmental factors, stoneflies can be quite important to trout and steelhead anglers in the western United States (especially in the Pacific Northwest) and they can make a well-prepared mid-western or eastern trout fly fisher’s day during a prolific spring, summer, or fall hatch in ultra-clean and higher elevation lakes, rivers, and creeks.

Even though a relatively simplistic midge may not seem as sexy or interesting to a fly fisher as a giant hexagenia mayfly nymph or the epic activity of thousands of electric green emerging caddis, trout think midges are just fine! Midges are relatively small aquatic insects that can be found in just about any freshwater environment on the planet, and despite their diminutive size, the hundre ds of species of these mosquito-like bugs compose a quite significant portion of a healthy trout’s diet. Midges, like caddis, undergo a complete metamorphosis, and experience a larva, pupa, and adult stage within a typical life cycle.

To freshwater fly anglers, especially those who frequently ply the trout and steelhead water of the western portion of North America, the caddis or “sedge” is a fish catching machine. Western fly anglers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the fish-catching power of caddis; they are available to trout in good numbers across the globe.

In fly fishing, the mayfly is an iconic figure and probably the image most people with conjure when invisioning of the “fly” in the sport’s name. These slender aquatic insects are easily recognizable in their adult or dun form by their highly visible upright wings and long, tailed abdomens. Biologically, all mayflies undergo incomplete metamorphosis, experiencing only three major stages within their typical life cycle.

In fly fishing, wet fly is a general term used to describe a type of artificial fly (similar to a nymph) representative of sub-aquatic trout food. Where nymphs are most commonly designed, tied, and fished to closely and realistically imitate insects in their pre-adult or larval stage, wet flies are most commonly designed to be more impressionistic than precise imitations of specific types of food.

A streamer fly pattern is a fly fishing lure designed to be actively fished beneath the water’s surface within the water column itself. Unlike dry flies, nymphs, and wet flies, which are intended to imitate a range of aquatic insects, streamers are most commonly tied and used to imitate a range of small, medium, and large sized bait fish. There are many species of bait fish, but common examples are mullet, anchovy, and bunker in saltwater or juvenile trout or sculpin in freshwater.