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Interested in fly-fishing....

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Just got back from SE Minnesota. What beautiful country, and my yearning to learn to fly fish just got stronger! Well, I figure now is the time to expand my fishing knowledge and skill into the fly-fishing realm cool.gif. Plan on fishing next spring, so now is the time to plan. For starters, I want to get equipped to fish for smaller trout and panfish. I don't want to go cheap by any means, but don't want to bust my pocketbook either. What is a good rod/reel combo I could buy, and how much it would cost? I believe a 4 wt, 8 foot rod is what I am looking for. If anyone has a laundry list of essentials to buy, from essential flies to lines, that would be greatly appreciated. Also, I found a great book on fly-fishing by Lefty Kreh in a used book store. Good stuff, but the vernacular is a little over my head. Does anyone know of a book more suitable for a complete fly-fishing rookie like me? Need something that explains all aspects of the sport in great detail.

Thanks, and I hope I can learn alot from all you who hang out here and on the trout thread, because there is alot to learn!

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There is a terrific book out there called "Wisconsin & Minnesota Trout Streams: A Fly-Angler's Guide" written by Jim Humphrey and Bill Shogren. It's very informative giving the basics of fly fishing and information on the various streams in MN and WS. In the winter I dream of browns rising to white wulvves and this book helps relieve the pain. wink.gif

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Following Abrams lead...

Step One: Read, read, read

Step Two: Practice, practice, practice

Step Three: Be patient with yourself

Do a search for books by Ross Mueller too. Very informative. Also, I enjoyed the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide when I was getting started. There are other quality reads out there as well.

There are many ways to skin a cat when it comes to getting started, and many opinions on which way is best. If you don't want an inexpensive "beginner" combo, I'd recommend getting a rod like a St. Croix Avid 4wt or 5wt (~$150), an inexpensive but decent reel like an Okuma Sierra (~$35-$50), good weight forward or double taper line (I have WF, but many prefer DT)($50).

Buying this stuff in a fly shop may be the best option as you should expect someone to help get you setup with the gear that you'll spend a good chunk of change getting. You should make it politely clear that you need help assembling all the stuff and need to be shown how it's done right.

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I too am new to flyfishing. Its only been about a year or so. But one thing I've learned is that you should cast the rod you are wanting to buy. The weight I wanted and the reel I opt for didn't feel right to me. So I sat there and casted a few rods ranging in the price I wanted and tried on a few different reels with different line. Took a while but I wanted to be sure it was the right rod, the right reel, the right price. Plus...you can always learn something just by watching a person. Sometimes they can't explain something they don't notice they do that "helps" technique. That was my first buy experience. Good luck to you!

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Join Trout Unlimited. Then find your local chapter.

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Wow, what solid advice from everyone.

One of the very best basic primers on trout fishing for absolute beginners is, believe it or not, a comic book called THE CURTIS CREEK MANIFESTO. It has an enthusiastic sense of humor - something that's sadly missing from a lot of the way-too-technical stuff that's out there, but it's also extremely informative.

To amplify WxDaddy's advice: I like that he suggested well-regarded components over a "kit." I've seen some good boxed sets (Cortland's comes to mind), but I think you'll do better overall with specifics in each area. A 4 weight, 8 footer is a solid choice, but my personal opinion is that everyone's first trout rod should be a 5 weight at least 8 1/2 feet long.

There's the sentiment in previous posts that getting to a specialty store for both equipment and advice is a good idea. Couldn't agree more. The independent shops in the area are all staffed by people who love the sport and who love teaching it.

I'm prejudiced on this one, but I do think that membership in Trout Unlimited is danged near mandatory if you really care about the future of coldwater angling.

Best of luck.

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Thanks for all the advice. I live pretty close to Thorne Bros, and I know they have a fly shop, so they can help me get equipped. I'll have alot of time this winter to read, read, read (Not to mention ice fish!)

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Bentley's is a fly shop not far from you in west bloomington. They have a good selection of fly's and other gear.

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[hijack]

turiprap, sorry I didn't get back to you about the bridge. I couldn't find a good answer for you and having a newborn in the house I just plain forgot to reply.[/hijack]

I agree regarding TU. I learned a whole lot about fishing and the resource from some very skilled, dedicated people and continue to learn more every day.

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Abrams,

That would be a better option,

Thanks.

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You've received some good advice so far. The manifesto book is a great read, full of good information; my kids have even learned a lot reading it. I would also pick up Joe Humphrey's Trout Tactics. As for flies, keep the number of patterns down to a dull roar. It will take sometime for you to learn their names and it doesn't help things when your fly box has 100 different patterns. You'll find that a bunch of patterns are trying to immitate the same thing. So stick to a few with a couple of variations. I of course didn't start that way but my wife and kids are. They know their patterns, know how to use them, and are gaining confidence. Get the flies that you need for the fish you're going after at the time you're going after them. Over the year you'll end up with a productive fly box that you know.

I like Thorne Brothers / Fly Angler and Bentley's but my favorite shop is Bob Mitchell's fly shop in Lake Elmo. It's on the way to the closest trout streams to the Twin Cities (Rush and Kini in Wisconsin). It's a cool place, the advice is great, there's room outside to try out a rod, and he'll put you into decent gear that will meet your price point. Besides, they run some decent casting classes early in the season and the wintertime fly tying classes are a blast as well as cheap.

As for gear there is lot's of great gear available these days. I would suggest buying your first rod/reel from a local fly shop, it's a great way to keep them in business. Eventhough I tie flies, I still buy flies at my local fly shop to share the wealth and learn. Besides the gear at our local fly shops you'll find that the gear from Cabela's is pretty good too. If you really want to go cheap wait until Bentley's has their annual auction/sale. People put up their gear on consignment and it sells at a good price. A bit of every sale then goes to TU (IIRC). I was able to put together a couple of decent outfits for my familly for around $50 each (that's including new, decent fly line).

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WxGuy,

No problem on the bridge. Better no advice than bad, or as Mark Twain said, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt." From personal experience, I know this to be an absolute truth.

At any rate, congrats on adding a new member to the family and keep up the good work here and on the WFFP.

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Just remember that you can also fish for warm and coolwater species on the fly as well. Salmonids get a lot of the focus here, but for those of us who live 5+ hours from good trout waters, warm water species like bass, panfish, walleye and pike provide great angling opportunities on the fly, as well as allowing a fly angler to hone his casting skills before chasing after trout.

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I agree with Deadhead here!......I primarily flyfish for sunnies and bluegills throughout spring and summer every year..been doing the fly fishing thing for close to 30 some odd years.......and never get tired of it! grin.gif...doesn't require alot of gear and know how......just get that fly or popper "out there" ......bingo...the fish is on!..well..almost that easy......lol!.....here's a bluegill from this last june....jonny grin.gif

Frame_blegillonflycopy.jpg

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nice gill jonny!

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Johnny Redhorse,

I couldn't agree. I love fishing for panfish, so I figure I'll get the technique down doing that for those rare occasions I do fish coldwater. Ultimately, I would like to have two rigs, one for pannies and trout, the other for bigger game, like smallies.

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Quote:

the other for bigger game, like smallies


for that I would suggest either an 8 or 9wt rod 9-10'. You would be able to catch walleyes and pike on that rod too.

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$64,000 question- if you had to pick one weight and length for a complete newbie, likely to be used mostly for panfish, and maybe somthing bigger? what would it be?

Also, is it possible to go a little on the heavy side for pans, in order to make the rig pull double duty for bigger fish?

thanks in advance~

Grant

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That may be the $64 million dollar question. For about a bazillion years - or at least a few decades anyway - the standard answer to the all around rig question was, "Get yourself a 6 weight." That will certainly work for panfish and trout, although most of the fish that you catch will not be able to show off their muscle much when hooked up to a modern six weight. The challenge, I think, is in throwing bigger (either heavier or wind resistant) flies with a six weight. The rod will be plenty heavy enough to subdue most of the bass you'll hook, but unless you have perfect casting form, it can become tiring to cast bass-sized bugs repetitively. One option is a fairly fast action six weight coupled with a 7 weight line. The heavier line will help pull a bigger bug through the air.

On the ohter hand, every time I answer this question in a public forum, any number of people step forward to tell me that they fish mega-divers with their ought weights without any problem. Maybe it's just me.

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Almost any fly rod from a 3wt to a 10 wt will be able to handle and land most any fish we have in our lakes and streams (ok, excluding big cat fish and sturgeon). In fly fishing it's the line that casts the fly so the question is what size fly can I throw with my rod? Lighter weight rods can't cast large flies (you can lob them but not really cast them), heavy rods can cast lighter flies but you loose a lot of sensitivity (try casting size 30 tricos with a 9wt). So what flies do you want to cast? If I were going after panfish, bass, and things that hang out in the shallows and fairly close to shore I would pick a 6wt. A 6wt rod can cast fairly small flies well and works great with most nymphs and streamers you care to cast. It will also cast reasonably sized popers and can handle short wire leaders if you think you might tie into a pike or even a muskie. It won't cast the very large flies well and you will have some issues if you're using heavy sink tip lines (i.e. to get deep when you're away from the shore) or trying to cast larger streamers into a stiff breeze, for that you would move up to a 9wt.

A 6wt will also works well for trout fishing, not only in SE Minnesota and W Wisconsin but also for those trips out west on larger rivers. A 6wt will also handle steelhead if you're using a floating line and aren't using a bunch of weight (go with a 8,9 or 10 wt) although it's a bit underpowered if you get into fresh chrome. Now, if you plan on going after Pike, Muskie, Steelhead, Bass, and some panfish, in the middle of a lake, searching structure, and fighting the wind then I would go with an 8wt or 9wt, 10 ft, fast action rod or even a spey rod. On the other hand if you're hitting our spring creeks (they can be somewhat transitional with trout upstream, pike, bass, and walleye downstream) then a 4wt or 5wt would be my choice.

Eventually you'll own a bunch of fly rods, reels, lines, and stuff so it doesn't really matter.

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Grant,

I think TURipRap is right on the money here.

~T

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thanks all, I'll likely follow the 6-weight advise. I've seen some all-inclusive starter combos in that range at decent prices online.

for some odd reason the quote in my signature keeps getting more and more relevant! wink.gif

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Good luck, Grant!

You've received lots of excellent advice. That turiprap fella really knows his stuff...actually there's a lot of knowledge in this board, so it's all good. smile.gif

Just to stir the pot...

After the last couple seasons I'm convinced that anything 5wt or larger is only suitable for tarpon, shark, and clubbing wild game over the head, and that 4wt is about as big as you need to get for trouts in this area. The fight is all about the tippet strength, not so much the rod strength. grin.gif (please note sarcasm, this is not to be taken literally)

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I also find that a 5 weight is getting to be overkill on Northern MN spring creeks. That's why I need a new 3 wt! tongue.gif

Sometimes my 5wt seems a little heavy to be carrying around these kinds of streams. A 6'6" or 7' 3 wt would fit the bill, especially when a lot of times you're justing dapping the fly around log jams and undercut banks in a 3 ft wide section. Busting through spruce thickets is no fun with a long rod. I don't know how I haven't broken any tips yet...

you guys fishing the driftless area may need a little longer rod, since you often have areas where you can actually cast. tongue.gif

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