A dry fly is one that alights and sits on the surface of the river. Even today dry fly fishing retains an air of mystery and for many fly fishermen it remains the ultimate method of deceiving and catching trout. The art form of fishing the dry fly can take years to master, however even the fly fishing novice can catch trout on a dry fly in any trout stream in the world : just follow these simple instructions.
Getting Started : Fly Fishing Equipment for Use on Streams
A 4 or 5 weight 9 foot fly rod with the appropriate floating fly line and reel is the most versatile tool for dry fly fishing on rivers. A pair of waders and a net for landing, handling and releasing fish (in the water to avoid harming the fish) in addition to tippet material (size 4X) with fly floatant and tippet sinkant are required.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many flies catch more anglers than fish!! Choose a small fly box to house an initially small selection which should include a floating caddis or sedge pattern in sizes 14, 12 and 10 (barbless or debarbed).
A pair of polarized sunglasses and a hat is essential: safety first! Protect those eyes. A fly fishing vest can be purchased at a later date, however a dull shirt with pockets to hold a fly box and accessories is perfectly suitable.
It is important that you can cast a fly line before arriving at the stream. This list may seem exhaustive- Don’t worry contact a fly fishing store. They should be able to provide information included here, and on how to tie knots, licence requirements and casting instruction within a reasonable budget.
Where and How to Catch Trout in the River using a Dry Fly?
The best place to start is in the fast bubbly water at the head of pools where poor presentation is forgiven due to the turbulent nature of the water. Such water usually holds a large number of trout.
Use the size 12 or 10 caddis pattern (example pictured) with the 4X tippet ( 6-8 feet). Apply a small amount of floatant to the fly and sinkant to the tippet. Start at the bottom of the turbulent water and work carefully upstream by taking a step after each cast. Cast a distance of about 30 feet upstream and at angles from 10 to 45 degrees covering all water in the vicinity.
Maintain contact by pulling the fly line through the rod guides as the fly tumbles in the current towards you. Watch the fly at all times for a splash or emerging mouth engulfing it and then lift the rod firmly but smoothly. With luck a lively trout deceived by the dry fly will be attached.
Occasionally the fly will skate across the water. This is the antithesis of dry fly fishing and is known as drag. However in this type of water this action unwittingly mimics the natural behaviour of the caddis fly and may draw a strike from an otherwise disinterested fish.
The fly may become waterlogged and sink particularly after landing a fish. Carry some absorbent kitchen paper and squeeze the fly inside it- It should float high and dry afterwards and be capable of landing several more fish.
Good luck starting dry fly fishing and remember the old adage; leave only footprints and take only pictures.