27 Pro fly fishing tips

Want to improve your fly fishing skills? Check out these 27 tips from the professionals.

From technique tidbits to fly fishing tackle recommendations, get the lowdown on fly fishing from the best in the business.



1.”Use a fly rod that suits you and the methods you fish. There’s nothing worse than using fishing gear that’s not up to standard.”
Terry Bromwell

2. “One thing I learnt when dry fly fishing is to use polyleaders, you’ll get perfect presentation every cast.”
Alex Simmons

3. “Buy a good set of Polaroid glasses, it makes a big difference to your fishing as your able to see more fish.”
Lewis Rumble

4. “Keep a large magnet next to your tying area. It always amazes me how many hooks I find that I wasn’t aware I dropped.”
D. L. Goddard

5. “Color. It’s the key. Find the right combination and you can fill the boat.”
Mike Sepelak

6. “It is often the dull flies that attract the fish.”
Fiona Armstrong

7. “Use big, ugly flies to catch trout on a fly rod.”
John Gierach


fly fishing

Image source: Michael Elleray
Refine your technique

8. “Keep your fly rod ahead of your leader whilst fishing the french leader method, for better control.”
Craig Mcdonald

9. “Try and go as light as you can with your tippet, fish can become leader shy on heavily fished waters.”
Kieron Jenkins

10. “Make sure you fish as much water as possible, get those casts in underneath trees and keep down low not to spook the fish, this really helps.”
Lisa Isles

11. “When nymphing watch the fly line, don’t just wait for the pull, as you’ll see your takes before you feel them.”
Sean Jones

12. “Fish all the water in front of you on entry to the river, instead of just wearing your chest waders to wade to the hotspot.”
Craig Mcdonald

13. “When the fishing is hard never speed up and fish big flies, slow down and fine down your tippet material and scale down on the size of the fly.”
Lewis Rumble

14. “Caster shorter when fishing from a boat! More control and accuracy means more fish.”
Chris Jones

15. “Don’t forget to hang your flies, vary the length of time as sometimes the fish want it hung for longer.”
Sean Jones

16. “If you want to learn, take time and persevere. You get out what you put in.”
Lee Evans

17. “Whether bank or boat fishing try and stop the line either by hand or reel to aid turn over on the final cast, better presentation so you are fishing properly straight away.”
Chris Jones

18. “When lifting your cast from the water, always hang your flies and then raise your cast slowly from the water. This final hang will give any trout following your flies a final opportunity to take. This can produce those important extra fish on tough days.”
Tim Wellman

19. “Focus on presentation, it’s more important than fly pattern.”
Lee Evans

20. “Be stealthy in the approach on the bank and when wading. Employing correct wading techniques will catch you more fish.”
Lee Evans

21. “Presentation over pattern every time. Whilst we all carry lots of different patterns, even the closest imitation cannot be successful if it doesn’t fish correctly. Get it to move (or not) in the right way in the correct place and your chances of being successful will multiply enormously.”
Dave Wiltshire

22. “When fishing nymphs/buzzers from a drifting boat cast slightly across the ripple. This will keep the fly’s higher in the water but also as the boat drifts towards the line at the end of the cast an arc / curve will form gently raising your cast up in the water. This gentle lift can be sufficient to induce takes.”
Tim Wellman

23. “During winter, don’t expect to find many fish in fast water. Focus on slow pools, eddies, and off-current areas where trout pick midges and mayflies from the edges of the main current.”
Chad Mason

24. “Don’t try to trout fish for carp.”
Drew Price

25. “It’s important to remember that effective wind casting is seldom about raw power, and always about form and mechanics.”
Kirk Deeter

26. “A useful tip to identify what is hatching or has indeed been hatching is to look in the foam which is usually caught up by the bank at the edge of the river. Flies get trapped in the foam and are easily seen and identified.”
Steve Rhodes

27. “Lengthen that leader – one of the most common problems I meet is people fishing too short a leader. Even on small rivers, I will fish a 12 foot leader as a minimum with the dry fly. On larger rivers, that may be extended to up to 15 feet and above. The longer leader keeps the fly line away from the fish, even when including plenty of slack to ensure the fly fishes properly. Building the leader properly and then learning to cast it are essential. Try to overcome the thought that you are casting the fly line and then getting the leader to straighten. Visualise the leader as part of the fly line you are trying to cast. It will make a huge difference to your fishing.”
Dave Wiltshire