Fly Fishing is a very popular hobby and recreation. It involves the epic challenge of man against nature. It involves the serene beauty of a swiftly flowing river in the morning mist or the hungry rise of silvery trout. It involves the use of some precision made, detailed and sometimes delicate equipment. And it involves some good old fashioned fun! Fortunately it is not for everybody. If it was highly popular with everyone then our streams, lakes and ponds would be too overcrowded and the poor fish would hate that, as would fishermen looking for a littel solitude. For some it already seems like too many people sometimes are out there fishing.
It has been said that there is much more to fly fishing then just catching fish. This is true. Fly fishing may be the only form of fishing that captures your soul and can provide you with a pastime and a passion for a lifetime.
The form of fishing known as fly fishing can take many forms: casting tiny dry flies to selective rising trout on a clear mountain stream, saltwater casting with large flies, casting bass bugs on your local pond, wading a large river in the Northwest in search of salmon, teaching a child to catch his first sunfish on a fly. Just as there are many forms of fly fishing there are also many reasons why it appeals to an angler. The fact that generally a fish can be caught and gently released applies to those who want to do as little harm as possible to their prey. The catch and release philosophy has gained huge acceptance in the fly fishing community and fishing in general. Hopefully it will continue to do so. While there is nothing that tastes better then a freshly caught trout being cooked over a stream side campfire, for the preservation of the fish population, this should be the exception rather then the norm. The fact that you are often “fooling” a fish into hitting an artificial fly that the fish apparently thinks is a natural insect has an interesting and perhaps primitive appeal, exhibiting man’s superiority over a wild creature. The need to execute a skillful cast to present your fly properly offers a challenge that can vary from moderate to extreme. A sudden rise by a fish from the depths can provide an immediate adrenaline rush accompanied by share joy. The rhythmic movement of fly casting can have an soothing and hypnotic effect on the fisherman.
The beauty of trout fishing is often very evident. These beautiful fish often reside in exceptional beautiful territory. The fact that your last 100 casts may have not yielded a single rise can be negated by the fact that you are surrounded by unique rock formations, a lush evergreen forest, a unique waterfall or picturesque mountains all under a crystal clear blue sky.
A with any sport or activity peoples attitude and approach can vary dramatically. Even within the realm of fly fishing for trout there are “purists” who will only fish with dry flies, or only with barb-less hooks, or only cast to fish they can see. Perhaps the ultimate fishing experience is to be catching a trout on a dry fly. Of course your average fisherman probably tries to be more varied in his techniques and open minded in his appreciation of the sport. The wonderful world of fly fishing offers so much that many tastes can be satisfied. Most freshwater flies are intended to represent aquatic insects, sometimes specific insects, other times just a general imitation of an insect. Others are designed to imitate terrestrial bugs such as ants, grasshoppers, beatles, crickets, etc. Other forms of aquatic life are also imitated by flies: bait fish, shrimp, crayfish, frogs, etc.
One of the unique things about fly fishing is the extensive literary aspect to it. From its very inception there has been a passion that has inspired authors to put words to paper. Of course there are the vast number of “How to” type books and magazines but I am primarily referring to many other writings (both fiction and non-fiction) that may entirely focus on fly fishing or simply include it has part of the setting of a story. A visit to your local bookstore will show you this. This would also be very evident if you saw the bookcase in my living room! This extension of fly fishing has also carried over into movies and music. The Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club website has some great suggestions for you to enjoy when you are not able to spend time out on the stream.
Weather your fishing journeys take you to Alaska, Argentine or simply your local pond, the exciting and exacting world of fly fishing has much to offer. Enjoy!