Fishing Flies ExplainedFlies are designed to mimic the appearance and texture of a fish's natural food like insects, larvae, baitfish, crustaceans, small mammals, and a wide range of prey specific to certain fish or particular fishing locations. Flies are made with a wide range of materials, including feathers, fur, natural fibers, and synthetic thread. You'll see flies offered in two different varieties: wet and dry.
Dry flies float on the surface of the water and are usually meant to represent insects that have fallen into or are emerging from the water. Normally considered a freshwater fly, dry flies are particularly successful insects that are currently experiencing a large hatch in the area you're fishing.
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In contrast to dry flies, wet flies are designed to sink below the surface of the water. Wet flies include nymphs, which imitate the immature form of insects, or streamers, which mimic baitfish and other larger aquatic prey. These flies can be very successful for catching fish that feed almost entirely underwater, like trout.
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Choosing the Right Fly
Your fly choice depends on the type of fish you’re after, the location you're fishing, and the time of year you're fishing. Flies that imitate insects are usually ideal for freshwater fish like trout, while saltwater fish usually seek larger prey and therefore a larger style of fly. Creeks, rivers, and seasonality all dictate fly style too—it takes time to find the perfect fly for each session.
Fly Fishing 101: An Intro to Flies