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Trout Fishing Fly what is it used for? – Fly Fishing Basics

Trout Fishing Fly What is it Used forA fishing fly is an artificial yet realistic-looking imitation of an insect, baitfish, or other aquatic living things used as bait when catching fish on a fly rod and reel.

Fishing flies resemble natural food for trout and other game fish and can effectively aid fly anglers to catch medium to a monster and high volumes of trout when on fishing trips.

A fishing fly is typically made from artificial materials like feathers, fur, and hair and is attached to different hooks.

These materials are used in tricking sport fish like trout and luring them because of their resemblance with natural baitfish, insects, or other aquatic life.

The Origin of ‘Fly’ Fishing

Fly angling is a form of fishing dating back centuries after various styles emerged simultaneously worldwide as humans attempted to discover how to trick fish that gulped lures that were tiny and lighter to capture with traditional hook and line fishing methods.

In the simplest level, fly fishing requires the angler to cast their fly into the water with the help of the line’s weight.

The primary aim of fly fishing is fooling a fish using an artificial fly made from feathers, fur and synthetic parts.

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Most fly fishers love testing themselves with more challenging angling methods and hooking as many fish species as possible.

Fly angling is considered the purest way of catching fish and an undoubtedly peaceful hobby and sport.

Trout often prefer insect imitations, meaning using lures while spin fishing reduces your chances of hooking one.

The Role of Entomology in Fly fishing

You need to ensure the flies you are using are correct for fly angling for success.

This section explains why insects work and the different stages of the lifecycle of a fly that can help you catch a fish on a fly.

Small insects eaten by trout go through four life stages, as in the brief descriptions below.


The nymph stage is when the soon-to-be insects come out of the egg and is still growing.

Nymphs cling to river bottoms until currents sweep them away.

Nymph flies are made to resemble nymphs or tiny macroinvertebrates that float in water columns or stick onto river rocks.

All fly anglers should at least have nymphs since trout often feed below water surfaces.


These insects get the name ’emergers’ when they come out of the water and prepare to fly and mate.

Emerger flies are made to resemble hatching insects as they enter into adulthood.

Trout quickly feed on emergers and sometimes can be called spinners.

Dry or Adult

At this point, the insects are adults and can fly in search of food and mates.

Like emergers, adults sit on water surfaces and are slightly below the water surface for trout.

Since they are in their late stage of life, drys are bigger and appeal to trout more than the other previous stages.


Spinners are adult insects that have mated and either fly on their last throws of life above the water or float lifelessly on the water surface.

Spinners can be dry or adults or emergers for trout.

Do Trout feed on Large Insects in the Water?

Sure! Trout feed on some larger insects, but these don’t undergo a similar lifecycle to smaller insects.

Large flies like stoneflies have a similar lifecycle, but their representing patterns are restricted to nymph and adult stages.

The emerger stage of a stonefly occurs above the water surface to allow the air and sun to dry their wings first before flying.

Terrestrials make it to the water for trout and other fish only as adults as they are born on the land.

What Fly Fishing Flies Should You Use?

In fly fishing, because of the life stages of small insects and having passed the emerger stage, the flies you should use are nymph, emerger and dry flies.

Others are hoppers and streamers.

Hoppers are also called terrestrials and are extremely attractive to trout just beneath the water surface because of their movement in water and light reflections visible to trout.

In fly fishing, hoppers represent grasshoppers.

Streamers are made to resemble baitfish or tinier fish like minnows and sculpins.

Streamer flies can take crayfish, leeches, and any aquatic morsels large fish love to eat.

The streamer fly’s size ranges from tiny yet simple woolly buggers to sophisticated and articulated flies that stretch your hand’s length.

Streamers are fished with active retrieves and need more focus than typical nymph or dry fly rigs.

It means that they primarily move because of the angler stripping in the line to bring back the fly for a second or third cast.

Different fly fishing flies exist to help a fisherman/woman catch trout or other species on the fly effectively.

I recommend each one to have at least all of them in their tackle box for a fun and ultimately successful angling trip.

Why Use Various Flies when Fly Fishing?


Most anglers praise and focus on dry flies more than other flies, but trout often spend most of their time feeding from underwater eating nymphs and different aquatic life.

Nymphs are in rivers and lakes all the time.

Use hatching charts of the spot you want to adventure in to match your nymphs appropriately.

Since trout feed primarily in river and stream bottoms, nymph fly fishing has recorded the highest effectivity.

Of course, the method and techniques you use when fishing matter.


Emergers are perfect for use in the period leading up to hatches.

If you spot insects moving on water, tie on an emerging fly for more success.

To confirm that it is indeed the perfect time for this type of fly, you will spot fins or tails breaching the water surface.

Emergers haven’t fully developed and are trapped in the water film, and fish are feeding on them.

The hatch will be in full swing if you see fish breaking the water surface; you have 10 to 25 minutes of angling time until most of the flies bloom into adults with dry wings.

Because of the tiny window, focus more.

Excellent fly anglers pay more attention to the finest points.


Big fish like trout require plenty of protein to live, and if the opportunity arises, they attack big flies.

Aggressive fish sometimes eye meaty snacks because of basic instinct, territorialism or hunger.

Streamers are a fantastic way of covering a lot of water in little time.

Streamer fishing is among the most exciting methods of fly angling as it needs you to put in the work and effort, sometimes aggressive strikes when your catch tries to take your fly.

They are also excellent for fishing after recent rainstorms, when there is no evidence of insects in your area or when waters are deep and murky.

Streamers are viable alternatives to nymphs or topwater flies if it is difficult to match the hatch or identify insects around because of temperature fluctuations.

Trout are most active at 55-60 degrees F and won’t rise in very cold or hot water.

It isn’t a guarantee but fooling them with a big meal before their eyes increase their willingness to eat.

Streamers are fantastic for improving the visibility of your fly and its ability to sink in deep or muddy water, mainly after rainstorms.

Fish hardly swipe at larger streamers on brighter days or in clear water since thick tippets are more visible.

Also, there is likely to be tons of insects for them to feed on.

If you insist on streamer fishing in clear water, the tinier and more subtle your streamer, the better.

Most streamers have flashy elements for attraction.

Fish will easily see them than a tiny nymph as they flicker through murky water.


If you want to catch large to monster-size trout (why lie, who isn’t?), use hoppers to attract them.

Fishing with hoppers is different from dry fly fishing.

They are enjoyable to use because of the period of the year when they are active.

Focus on terrestrials in summer with warm breezes and wet wading.

But most people don’t know that you can and should fish hoppers into the fall.

The bugs survive along the banks of streams and grassy fields until they freeze in October or November.

Even during this time, trout know them and instinctively understood the protein boost from inhaling buzzing bugs meaning hopper season starts in June to November.

Wouldn’t you enjoy a whopping six months of big dry fly fishing?

Hoppers are excellent for use in streams or rivers with long foliage and grass because trout love these areas for catching grasshoppers and for safety.

Conclusion on Trout Fishing Fly what is it used for

There is so much to talk about trout fishing flies that I can’t exhaust in today’s piece.

Let us call this one Fishing Flies 101 as I prep a second and more posts on this topic.

At this point, you are almost ready to go out and catch your first trout.

Even though the fly is a crucial part of the fly fishing allure, it is the only section of your outfit that a fish sees.

High-quality flies last longer and capture more fish.

However, it would be best if you remembered that while it is vital to use the highest quality of fishing flies, your results will highly depend on the circumstance and your skill as a fly angler.

Last update on 2024-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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