A Short Guide to Fishing Flies for Trout, Bass, and Salmon

Written by Weekend Angler on January 12th, 2009

As any angler knows, successful fly fishing relies in large part on the types of fishing flies you use. Of course, most anglers also realize figuring out which flies to use with which species of fish is anything but simple. Selecting just the right fishing flies for the eating habits of the species in a given locality is an art unto itself, but there are some general guidelines that can help you get started.

Trout fishing flies
When you’re fly fishing for trout, you’ll generally do well with common nymphs. Mayfly or stonefly nymphs seem to work best, although hare’s ears and pheasant tail nymphs also perform well. Another thing to keep in mind is that in general trout are more likely to go for flies without hackles, so you may not want to bother adding them to the flies you purchase.

Bass fishing flies
Of all fishing flies, the ones that entice bass most effectively are poppers. When stripped on the water, these bug-like flies move in a pattern bass go crazy for. While not used as often, a worm-type fly can also attract bass, especially in warmer waters. As large, night-feeding fish, bass aren’t above going after the occasional mouse or other small animal, either. That means anytime you’re fishing at night near tall grass is a good time to try out a mouse or frog fly.

Salmon fishing flies
Salmon aren’t known to be picky eaters, so there’s a wide variety of flies you can use to attract them. That said, spey or stoneflies are among the more popular with this fish. One type of fly that tends to work extremely well with salmon is the egg fly. These flies may look simple, but plenty of salmon fishers have great luck with them.

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of fishing flies doesn’t depend on how showy and complex they are, but on well they simulate the appearance of your fish’s favorite dinner. Before you pick up your next pack of flies for fishing, take some time to review the types that are likely to interest your quarry the most.

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