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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    North Dakota
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    338

    Default Fly Fishing Where to Start

    I am wanting to start getting into the world of fly fishing. I will be going to Colorado this spring for about 10 days and I plan on doing a little fishing in there. I will also be fly fishing up here in North Dakota as well. I know fishing lakes could be a lot different than small streams in the mountains but I am open for all help.

    Is there any good rods for beginners, Any good fly companies that will not break the bank. Is it worth tying my own flies? Like I said any and all information is welcomed. For now it is fishing on the frozen lakes for me!!

    Thanks!

    Jamen
    What we do in life... echoes in eternity...

  2. Default

    I would go to the Orvis learning center and watch all their really helpful videos. Lake fishing is different from streams given depth and current differences. As far as spending money on gear there are some packages from Orvis & Redington that will get you a lot in one. If you are fishing for smaller trout I would put more money in your rod than your reel. If you were fishing saltwater then put more in to a good drag system reel. As far as tying flys, debatable if it saves you money. If you focus on a couple specific flys, and crank out those you could save money, if not you spread yourself too thin. However, fishing with your own tied flys has non-monetary value too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    338

    Default

    I agree! I was told reels are disposable rods last a lifetime. Spend the money on a good rod first. I will definitely check them out! I think for this year I will buy flies, my winters can get pretty free so maybe save up for equipment and try it next year!

    Thanks again!!
    What we do in life... echoes in eternity...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Decatur, OH
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    Default

    Orvis, Reddington, TFO, Sage, are all good companies and offer up some ready-to-fish combos for a good price. A 5 weight, 9-foot rod is good for a variety of conditions and fish types. As you get some experience, you will find that some small mountain streams just "fit" better with a 3-weight 7 1/2-foot rod. Most of the bigger streams and lakes will fish well with the 5-weight though. It will also be easier to learn to cast with a 9-foot rod, IMO.

    As far as tying your own flies, it is extremely addicting and can rack up some money quickly. I don't think it saves me any money at all. In fact, with the amount of tools and materials I have purchased, I would have to tie for the next 100 years to save money That being said, I feel tons more satisfaction catching a fish on a fly I tied. You can get a fairly decent starter tying kit from Orvis for a couple hundred or less, IIRC, that will get you to tying some basic nymphs and things. Just be forewarned, you WILL get addicted and have fly tying supply companies on speed dial There are lots of youtube tutorials out there for fly tying. Some guys are true artists. Check out tightlines or davie mcphail. Davie is a true master.

    Good luck, hope you catch some big ones.

  5. #5

    Default

    I started myself and kids on LL Bean starter rods. Lifetime guarantee even when your kids looses half his rod in the Madison. We told LL Bean the exact story, trying to buy half a rod but they gave him a new rod.

    After getting a rod and pursuing the internet, you should try to find someone to give you casting lessons.

  6. #6

    Default

    Tying flies is a money loser unless you are really serious about it. There's always another material you need. It can easily be a hobby of its own. Having said that, I got the vise and some other tools free, so there are some flies I do tie. Clouser minnows, leech imitations and midges, mostly. I still buy the majority of my flies. Its very rewarding to catch a nice fish on a fly of your own creation.

    You don't need to go crazy with the gear. I've been fishing a couple of different Cabelas combos ( run around $140 for the whole setup ) for a couple of decades. I wouldn't go any cheaper than that, though, as the action on a real "cheapie" fly rod is not as fun. I would recommend a 4 piece rod if you ever do any backpacking. A 9 foot 5 weight is a perfect all around rod.

    Spring in Colorado can be a great time of year to fly fish the "big" rivers, but the small mountain streams will still either be snowed in or blown out and most of the better trout lakes will iced over. Its hard to say for sure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    South East Colorado
    Posts
    8,212

    Default

    To be honest, I started out with a $50 scientific angler's combo setup from walmart. I still have that set up and started both my wife and son on it. I've actually bought two more of them at various times driving around and finding a spot I'd like to fish and not have a rod with me. It's got a good backbone and fast action and the reel comes pre-spooled with backing, line, and leader. I have caught a lot of fish with that set up. I now have 'higher end' rods from TFO and reels from Okuma and all the big name bells and whistles, but when it comes down to it, that scientific anglers package will still hold it's own against them. I would suggest starting out for less money to see if you even like to fly fish down the road. It can get expensive in the long run, and you could end up sinking a lot of money into a sport that you might not end up liking all that much. A lot of guys will tell you that you have to spend hundreds on a rod and reel and every bit of equpiment, but I'm here to tell you that you don't have to spend all of that to start out. If you get the combo deal from walmart and decide that you do like the sport, then buy a better rod and reel set up down the road and keep the scientific angler one as a back up or a rod for a friend. As for flies, I would suggest going to a local shop and talking to them. Most shops I've been to across the country have really great people working there with good knowledge that are always willing to help out. Let them know you're just starting out and want suggestions for a couple of flies to start out with. Also, many shops offer lessons and small trips for beginners and they are well worth the investment. There's a shop around here that does a half day classroom and half day fishing for around $125. Looking back i wish I had done something like that to lessen my learning curve. I got frustrated a lot and almost gave up many times, but I stuck with it and am happy that I did. As for tying flies, I would hold off until you decide if you even like fly fishing. If you do decide to tie, then pick just a couple of flies to do. There are some 'universal' type flies that will catch fish pretty much anywhere, so I would pic 2 or 3 dry flies, a streamer or two, and a couple nymphs and tie the hell out of them. There is an awesome satisfaction in catching a fish on a fly you tied.
    I'm an addict...archery, rifles, shotguns, handguns, muzzleloaders, hunting, fishing, fly fishing..and I don't want rehab

    CWEH...Colorado's Worst Elk Hunter 2007-2017 (but I'm still damned sexy) 10 years of consistency!!

  8. #8

    Default

    My advice, if you can, get a lesson from a qualified fly fishing instructor, it will be the best money you spend, friends are great, but if they have casting error's they will just transfer them to you, once you have picked up a bad habit it's difficult to break.
    I would say most error's are caused by wrist action, then over powering things, power application, less is more, let the rod do the work, not you, the rod is just a loaded spring.
    I would learn on a lake, no current there to snatch away your fly line like a river does, hone your technique and then get on the river.
    Not knowing your rivers, but having fishing a fair bit in Montana, i would suggest a 9' 5 or 6 weight, spend money on rod, then fly line, then the reel for fresh water fishing it will get you under way.
    Flies, i don't tie flies to save money, i do it to get the satisfaction of catching a fish on a fly i tied, in addition you aren't restricted by known patterns, design your own!
    You won't need hundreds, just a fly that imitates a group of insects in different sizes, both dry and nymph patterns.
    For a demo of my fly tying see here The Devon Half Stone Dry Fly, I tied this on a visit to South Africa when I was invited to the Durban Flytyers evening. Just a bit of advice, anyone tying the same fly use 8/0 thread, all I had available was 3/0 which is too thick for the tying of any dry flies.
    Not up to Davie McPhail's standard though, he is a legend.
    If you intend on releasing the trout show them the respect they deserve, if you intend to keep them, kill them quickly.

    You will love fly fishing, it's my passion, if i was forced to give up either fly fishing or deer hunting, it would be hunting!

    Cheers

    Richard
    That's what the actress said to the bishop

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    338

    Default

    Thanks for all the replies guys!!
    What we do in life... echoes in eternity...

  10. Default

    There are a lot of fly shops out here in Colorado that offer "Learn to Fly Fish" type classes that will teach you about equipment, bugs, how to read water, etc and then take you out on the water for a half day trip. This also usually costs less than a normal half day trip. This is a good way to get into things if you aren't going out with an experienced fly fisherman as you can learn what you are getting into while shortening your learning curve. I would HIGHLY recommend this as I have seen it cost as little as $100-$150 bucks and would include rental rod, reel and waders.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Bitterroot Valley, MT
    Posts
    1,305

    Default

    I teach about a dozen guys a year to fly fish.
    Here's some quick thoughts:
    1. Get a decent flyrod setup, not cheapo and not Orvis to start. You don't want to be waving a broomstick all day and you don't waant to not like it and then have a $1K setup to sell. Cabelas Clearwater when on sale for $149 is hard to beat.

    2. Getting lessons will shorten your curve substantially. I honestly wouldn't even try to learn on your own. Orvis 101 that they teach in stores is really good start.

    3. Buy gear as you need it. Start simple and work up from there.

    4. You can catch more than just trout on a fly. Expand your options.

    5. Forget about tying flies for now. Just buy them on ebay for 25 cents or a local shop when they are on sale.
    "There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm." ~TR

    "He was a mighty hunter before the Lord." ~Genesis 10:9

  12. #12

    Default

    Lots of great information on here already so I'll just add - GO FISH

    Fish for bluegill, bass, pike, lakers, etc - but get out often. Just like shooting a rifle or a bow, casting a fly rod well takes practice and there is no better practice than a farm pond full of bluegill and bass.

    Local fly shops are your best friend right now. THey'll have the guys who know the water around you and can help get you going with all of your needs. When getting set up, it's never a bad idea to ask for help, or even high a guide and ask him to teach you how to fish, rather than just showing you where the fish are and what to tie on.
    get over it commies..
    JWP58

  13. #13

    Default

    You actually live in a great place for fly fishing. Don't overlook warm water fish. I started out fly fishing for trout but bass, pike, panfish, Muskie, and carp are all a blast on a fly rod. You probably won't save much money tying your own flies but it can be a lot of fun to tie your own.

    You can learn about anything you need to know on YouTube- knots, how to cast, fly tying instruction, etc.

    What species you will be targeting will determine what size of rod you should get. If you let me know I can recommend something.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Not Virginia anymore!
    Posts
    3,320

    Default

    Buy a cheap rod that has a good warranty in case you break it. You may end up hating fly fishing, so I'd hate to spend a couple hundred dollars on a nice rod. Regardless, starting out you likely won't be able to tell the difference between a cheaper rod and $500 rod. Also, you'll rarely actually need to use the reel, so I would also start with something on the cheaper side. Obviously don't want a POS, but I wouldn't spend over $200 on the entire setup. As others have said, a 5wt is a good all around rod. Something in the 8'-9' range will work for most anything.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    South East Colorado
    Posts
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    Default

    One word of caution: Fly fishing is very addictive!! I started out fishing for trout, and now have set ups for and fish for bluegills, bass, carp, pike, and pretty much anything that swims. My next one to catch on a fly is a walleye, so I'm working on that. I like carrying a small 3wt when I elk hunt in case I find a small stream with brookies in it. A few small fish add a lot to a meal back in the woods. Bluegills will help you work on casting and presentation, but when they're biting it's a whole lot of fun. Carp and bass are great for the fight. Check out a smaller fly shop to get in good with. Some will trade flies for deer and elk hide pieces, or even teach you how to tie a caddis out of the hide you trade. One thing I want to stress is handling the fish as little as possible if you don't plan on keeping it. Get a rubber net and keep the fish in the water as much as possible. If you don't want to keep them, then I would suggest barbless hooks.
    I'm an addict...archery, rifles, shotguns, handguns, muzzleloaders, hunting, fishing, fly fishing..and I don't want rehab

    CWEH...Colorado's Worst Elk Hunter 2007-2017 (but I'm still damned sexy) 10 years of consistency!!

  16. #16

    Default

    "Curtis Creek Manifesto" (comic book style) is an excellent primer to fly fishing. The author assumes that you know nothing about fly fishing and walks you through lessons on gear, tactics, etc, and does it in a Ben Lamb meets John Cushman style of writing.

    As an example, the author suggests that you, if possible, select girlfriends that are blonde. He explains doing so helps you out if you are far from your regular tying materials, you can use some blond hair strands to tie up a few light cahills.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  17. Default

    Thanks for starting this thread, I've learned a lot just reading all the advice and dont's!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Kalispell, MT
    Posts
    851

    Default

    I have spent the last several years teaching myself to fly fish. I've even caught a few trout! You might want to consider a tenkara outfit for small rivers. TenkaraUSA. It's very simple and for a lot more intuitive than the full setup, fewer knots, etc. The purists will look down at you, but screw 'em. Also I got a lot out of a day on the river with a good guide in a driftboat. But learn to cast first. Finally, swallow your pride and hit the local family fishing pond, shortly after it's been stocked. Take a kid along so it's not so embarrassing, if you must. Tell yourself it's just practice for the real thing.
    "The danger of civilization, of course, is that one might piss one's life away on nonsense," Jim Harrison.

  19. #19

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    A sample of the aforementioned Manifesto........


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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Decatur, OH
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    Default

    We do a lot of dapping and high-sticking here in the east where rhododenderon choked stream banks make casting nearly impossible. Ben, tenkara is an excellent suggestion for a beginner. I have a few myself and love fishing them.

  21. #21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCushman View Post
    Check out a smaller fly shop to get in good with.
    Great advice (if feasible in your area). Whatever premium you pay to get a setup from a small shop is going to have much bigger returns than if you just order a bunch of stuff from Cabelas or Amazon. I'd be honest and just walk in and basically say what you said in your post.

    Leave Tying for later - as many have mentioned, it's a really deep hole to dive into.

    Quote Originally Posted by newhunter20 View Post
    There are a lot of fly shops out here in Colorado that offer "Learn to Fly Fish" type classes that will teach you about equipment, bugs, how to read water, etc and then take you out on the water for a half day trip.
    More good advice... Depending on what time of year and where you come in CO, even if the beginner option doesn't exist, a guided trip will pay for itself quickly in startup inertia. As a newbie with plans to fish warmwater in the midwest, I'd opt for a walk-and-wade trip over a float since the skills are much more universal. When I guided in college, I loved taking beginners with good attitudes and we could focus on water-reading, fish behavior and presentation. You can learn to cast adequately from videos and messing around in the backyard or local pond, but pure casting proficiency (in most instances) is (IMO) overrated. Even beginner-level outfits these days are pretty advanced tools, and casting is just a small part of 'fishing'. Water reading and line control are way more important than whether or not you can snap off a 75' cast. I fish with guys all the time that have magazine quality casting form, but within a millisecond of their fly hitting the water they have slack line all over creation and they might as well not have cast at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCushman View Post
    My next one to catch on a fly is a walleye
    I may be able to help with that if you ever find yourself in Littleton
    2016 HuntTalk Baseball Pool Champion

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Fort Peck, MT
    Posts
    1,403

    Default

    Did you start by re-watching A River Runs Through It?
    "I'll put some whiskey into my whiskey"

  23. #23

    Default

    I don't believe it has been mentioned yet, but you want to match your line to the rod you buy, both in weight and action. High end line is worth the money.

  24. Default

    Fly thing, contrary to popular belief, is not really about saving money to 99.9% of those who do it. It is about tweaking or inventing patterns to come up with a better fish catching fly. Skip it for now and buy flies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo and Ned
    Thin out their numbers

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
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    Default

    Thanks for all the information! I will definitely look into a half day or full day trip guided when I am down there. I do not think we have any local fly shops but I will check the local bait shops and see if they have anything.
    What we do in life... echoes in eternity...

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