Lets Go Fly Fishing!
The Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club fully supports the Trout Unlimited organization and it’s programs to research and promote the conservation and the survival of wild fish (especially trout and salmon) and their efforts lobbying for legislation that will allow for future fishing opportunities. The philosophy of Catch and Release is considered a vital part of conservation and a responsible way to interact with the environment.
The sport of fly fishing is now more popular then ever and has taken on more forms in the last few years. Traditionally fly fishing was for the pursuit of trout and salmon. Now saltwater fishing, bass fishing and even fly casting for carp have many devoted followers. Fly fishing can be challenging, relaxing, rewarding, exciting and frustrating all at the same time. It is an activity that requires patience, observation, persistence and attention to detail. To begin the process a fly fisherman needs proper equipment.
Fly boxes – Flies can be a big investment of money and time and you want to be able to get them easily when on the river. Fly boxes come in many styles and most experienced fly fishermen end up with fat too many boxes. There are some thing to consider. You don’t want your fly collection to get wet if you wade too deeply or drop a box in the river. You also don’t want your dry flies to blow away in the wind. This is one of the main reasons old-fashioned compartmentalized fly boxes have fallen out of favor. Foam boxes keep your flies in place but hooks can destroy the foam over time. Slitted foam boxes keep the flies in place, organized in neat rows. Fly boxes are generally designed to hold certain type of flies. A box that fits your small nymphs might not be correct for holding large streamer flies. You do not want flies to get squished while in the box. Boxes with transparent or translucent exteriors allow you to see the flies inside before your open it.
Fishing jackets. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good wading jacket made specifically for fly fishing. Frequently the best fly fishing is in the spring and fall when it is cool and wind, rain, and even snow can accompany your fishing. If you have no jacket, or don’t have the right jacket, weather can force you off the stream and cause you to miss some of good fishing. Remember – anything that “cuts into your fishing time” is against the Nahanni Camping and fishing Club rules! If it is cold and raining hard your fishing jacket may be your most important piece of fishing equipment. If you are too cold and wet to continue fishing, your rod brand becomes irrelevant!
Equipment – The basics start with a rod, reel, fly line, leader and flies. In addition a fly vest, waders, landing net and wading staff are extremely useful. The first and most import aspect of fly fishing equipment is to have a balanced rod, real and line combination. A fly rod is always rated for a specific size line, ranging from size 1 to 15. The mid range of 4 to 8 are most common. A size 5 or 6 is a good choice for most freshwater fishing.
Rod – The standard fly rod material is graphite. The quality of graphite rods has improved over the years and they are now made to be light, strong and cast very effectively. Traditional bamboo rods are also very effective although a quality bamboo rod can be relatively pricey. Rod building has become a side hobby related to fly fishing. Some consideration should be given to the number of pieces the rod breaks down to. For hiking trips to back county ponds and streams you may want a rod that is made up of 4 or more pieces to make it easy to carry. A good rod tube will be very useful whenever you are traveling with your fly rod.
Fly Line – The line should be selected so the size/weight matches the size rod. The weight of the line head to load (bend) the rod during the casting motion. Fly lines can be floating, sinking or sinking tip. Most fly fishing situations call for a floating line. They can also have different tapers such as a double taper, tapered at both ends so that the line can be reversed when one end is worn, or a weight forward taper designed for better distance. Buying as quality line will pay dividends when you are out fishing.
Cleaning your line – Line tend to get coating with dirt and debris with use. Most fly shops will carry a line cleaning solution. A moist soft clothe will also do a good job a cleaning your line. A clean line will make a big difference in your casting.
Reels – The reel on your fly rod is more then just a device to store your line. It should be the proper size to balance the outfit and be able to hold the fly line and a reasonable amount of backing line. It should have a smooth reeling in motion and a an effective drag to deal with a large fish on the line.
Waders – Since you may be out on a trout stream for several hours you will want your waders to be comfortable and effective. Proper wading will get you in position to cast to feeding tour and should always be done safely. Some fisherman use simple hip waders but most are waist or chest high. Traditionally waders had simple rubber boot bottoms. These are useful in some applications but that are not as comfortable or as safe as foot fitting wading boots over stocking foot waders. Felt bottoms provide excellent foot traction when stepping on slippery rocks and moss in the stream. Some felt bottom wading boots also have small metal spikes to add traction. The problem with felt wader (all waders actually) is the potential to transport invasive nuisance species such as New Zealand mud snails and didymo algae. Waders should be clean thoroughly between fishing trips. A mild bleach solution will work.
A wading staff is also very useful and highly recommended. Wading staffs can be tethered to your waist, carried collapsed in a pouch and are shocked corded and fit together quickly. A staff makes wading much easier and safer and you staff will also be handy on land as you bushwhack along the side of a stream.
Vests – having vest to carry all your fishing supplies, along with sunblock, water, cell phone, poncho, snacks, etc, will be so convenient that you won’t want to do without. Varies pockets, both inside and out, will soon be filled up with all your gear. It makes sense to get a mesh vest to help keep you cool in warm weather.
Flies – The variety of available flies in literally endless. Dry flies, wet flies and nymphs, streamers and bass bugs are just some of the basic categories. It makes sense to always be equipped with standard patterns as they are tried and proven to work. It also makes sense to have more the one of each pattern as you don’t want to be frustrated by losing a fly once it is determined that that is the fly that the fish are hitting.
Once you have your fly gear ready you are ready to head for your fishing destination. Over time most fishermen tend to acquire more and more equipment. Various rods, reels and lines for various fishing applications and many flies and fly boxes to entice your prey.
We hope you have enjoyed these fly fishing tips from the Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club. Now you are ready to go fishing! Good luck!