Finding Fish: A Beginner's Guide to Fly Fishing

Famous English writer, Izaak Walton, was quoted as calling the sport of fly fishing “the contemplative man’s recreation.” Many people have tried the sport of fishing, but fly fishing is a different type of fishing in which a type of angling method is used with an artificial fly to catch fish in a varying way from the typical fishing rod. The artificial flies that are used for fly fishing often resemble the natural prey of the fish, such as insects, and the fisherman uses the fly to entice the fish to catch it. Flies can also look completely artificial to a human eye, but still be used to attract the fish. Flies can be made of natural material, such as feathers or hair, and of artificial, man-made materials. A fly is used with a reel, rod, and a special type of line that is weighted, which helps carry the hook through the air. Fly fishing is done in both freshwater and saltwater.

Fly fishers usually seek salmon and trout for their catch. This method of fishing is also used to catch pike, carp, bass, redfish, bonefish, and several other species of fish. Any fish species can be targeted as long as the fly replicates the fish species' main food source. Fly fishing has a very long history. Roman Claudius Aeliianus is most commonly credited with the first use of an artificial fly which was recorded in the late second century. Ever since then people throughout the world have enjoyed fly fishing. The following resources provide information for the beginning fly fisher on this captivating sport.

Basic Information on Fly Fishing

All About Fly Fishing

This website has everything to do with fly fishing including a blog, a newsletter, information on fish species, fly tying, and much more.

What is Fly Fishing?

This webpage on the Take Me Fishing website provides basic information on fly fishing locations, gear, methods, techniques, and a question and answer section.

The Fly Fishing Guide

A guide covering all the different aspects of fly fishing created by fly fishing enthusiasts.

All the Info You Need to Know on Fly Fishing

A website with a listing of topics and tips on techniques of fly fishing, different types of flies, the history of fly fishing, and much more.

Fly Fishing for Beginners

Introductory information and guidance for those who are just beginning in the sport of fly fishing.

Angler Guide: Fly Fishing

This .pdf file from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game contains information on how to get started with fly fishing, as well as some details on Idaho’s waters which are well-known for fly fishing.

The ABCs of Fly Fishing

The ABCs of fly fishing begins with A is for Air and continues to the end of the alphabet. Each letter talks about a specific part of fly fishing in this unique guide.

Environmental Education for Kids: Fly Fishing

A kid’s guide to fly fishing from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


The American Museum of Fly Fishing History

This museum located in Manchester, Vermont strives to preserve and educate others on the history of fly fishing.

A Fly Fishing History by Dr. Andrew Herd

Dr. Andrew Herd compiled this website to educate others about the rich history of fly fishing.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

The website of this museum in Livingston Manor, NY, provides information on the history of fly fishing in the Catskills, details about the museum, and more about fly fishing.

Methods and Techniques

Fly Fishing for Carp

Some fly fishers accidentally catch a carp while fishing in warm waters. Other intentionally try to go after this type of fish. This website details the general techniques for catching carp with flies and gives information about this specific type of fish.

Fly Fishing Knots

Instructions on how to tie different types of knots involved in fly fishing by the Michigan Fly Fishing Information Center.

Fly Rod Basics

This webpage contains information on fly rod basics from the Fly Fishing Club at the University of Tennessee and includes a chart on matching the weight of the rod and line to the size of the fly.

Organizations and Programs

Federation of Fly Fishers

This federation works towards the conservation of fisheries and the education of fly fishing.

Discover Fly Fishing

This program started by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association works with people who have an interest in fly fishing get started in this unique sport.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing

This project for disabled members and veterans of the US military service is dedicated to promote their mental and physical rehabilitation through fly fishing. Healing Waters works to educate these individuals about fly fishing and plan outings and gatherings for fly fishing.

Fish America Foundation

This foundation of the American Sportfishing Association works towards conservation and research of sportfish and their environments. One of the main goals of this foundation is to ensure that sportfishing can remain in people’s lives for many future generations to come.

Family Tyes: Youth Development and Environmental Conservation Through Fly Fishing

This non-profit organization uses children’s interest in fly fishing to help develop strong family ties and well as help children learn how to become positive-thinking and productive adults.

Casting for Recovery

This program created by a professional fly fisher and a re-constructive breast surgeon provides opportunities for women affected by breast cancer to learn the sport of fly fishing.