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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Dorsal view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen appears to be of the same species as this one collected in the same spot two months earlier. The identification of both is tentative. This one suffered some physical damage before being photographed, too, so the colors aren't totally natural. I was mostly photographing it to test out some new camera setting idea, which worked really well for a couple of closeups.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

SE Pa.

Posts: 1
Mooney4 on Feb 2, 2010February 2nd, 2010, 12:59 pm EST
At the risk of sounding very stupid I have a few questions about getting started in fly fishing again. Im in SE Pa. Ive purchased a new rod, its a 4wt. The whole what fly to use or is the best flys to have is on the list. Whats the difference between a leader and a tippit. Do you use both when fishing? Should I look for some kind of class or workshop to attend? Theres just so much to read about it gets confusing very fast. Are there any websites that anyone can recommend for beginners?
Catch more Brookies
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Feb 2, 2010February 2nd, 2010, 2:14 pm EST
First, don't get discouraged. You will learn as you go along, but basics are not that difficult.

A tippet is part pf the leader. It is usually the last twenty or so inches at the tippet end--the fine end. I'd suggest to take it slowly, using, perhaps one good book which gives you a very adequate "course", so to speak, on fly fishing.

Most beginning fly fishermen want to learn how to dry fly fish. One of the best books I've ever come across is written by Art Lee. The name is "Fishing Dry Flies For Trout On Rivers and Streams". Once you get some basics learned, then you can concentrate on learning more about individual insects and their imitations.

If you do not want to go the book route, I suggest looking here:

Fly Anglers Online

Look at the menu to your left. There is a section that is titled "Fly Fishing Basics". Once you get to that page, again to your left in the menu is a section called "Fly Fishing 101". It is a good place to begin.

If you have specific questions we can help you with, feel free to ask.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Feb 2, 2010February 2nd, 2010, 3:59 pm EST
Hello Rich,
Fear not the stupid questions, all of us have to start somewhere, and all of us here have much to share in our knowledge and opinion of fly fishing. If this is, in fact, your first attempt at learning the joys and rewards of fly fishing, then I recommend that you begin by learning the basic casting techniques followed by line control. It is the foundation from which all else will follow. I totally agree with Mark when he states:
First, don't get discouraged. You will learn as you go along, but basics are not that difficult.
Frustration and discouragement are a fact of life, when learning fly fishing from scratch, and how you handle it will determine the outcome. A fly fishing friend, who has achieved even a modicum of success, can be a great asset. A class, a day with a guide, books, and the internet, all offer an almost endless opportunity. Mark has suggested a very good place to start with “Fly Anglers Online”. So ask away, and keep us informed on your progress.
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Feb 3, 2010February 3rd, 2010, 12:33 am EST
All the advice is good..

If I were to add anything in general for someone who is just starting out, it would be to take advantage of some of the friendliest flyfishing around and not focus exclusively on trout, but rather get out to a local pond, lake or warm water stream and catch some bluegills or rock bass. It's very reinforcing in terms of actual numbers of fish caught weighed against effort expended, it is usually a good, open place to work on your casting and you'll learn things about how a fish strikes a fly that will serve you well when fishing for more glamorous species.

Good Luck~!

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