Have you ever wondered how to find great fishing spots? How do those people on social media catch those massive looking fish? When will you achieve that same level of success on the water? I’m here to tell you there isn’t a quick and easy solution. When it comes to fly fishing and finding great fishing spots, it’s all about patience and persistence. There is absolutely no substitute for time on the water. It’s of massive importance to get out as routinely as possible and do the little things right.
Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing
Fly Fish Casting Practice
Every aspiring angler should find time in the yard or local park to cast some yarn around. Get a feel for the various casts, especially the overhead cast to begin. One popular technique is to start with your fly rod assembled and yarn tied to the end of the fly line, and cast backward until it lays flat on the ground, fully stretched out. Then sidearm cast forward until the yarn is completely stretched out. Continue by picking up the pace until you work into the overhead cast. By this point you should be feeling comfortable with the weight of the rod and motion of extending the fly line and fly itself completely, which is where the power comes from.
Reading the Water
Fly anglers need to be well equipped at reading the water, whether in warm water for bass or cold water for trout. Finding the best fishing spots takes time and dedication, but a huge part of that is being able to read the water and its surroundings. Looking for structure nearby, runs and riffles in the water which create oxygen and air pockets that the fish love. Structure can involve trees, rocks or cut banks. Trout and many fish especially love ambushing prey by hiding behind said rocks and under cut banks.
Here at FlyFishFinder we launched our flagship course on ‘Streamer Fishing’ so that novice to intermediate anglers could quickly learn the skillsets and techniques of streamer fishing. This is a popular technique that can be utilized year round, and often generates above average sized fish.
We are currently running a massive discount on the course, and have included a mix of video, images, written sections and quizzes to solidify your understanding. Blue Line Co is also offering a generous discount on a bundle of 9 of their top selling streamers for all our course partipants.
When you do venture out, make sure its close to home. Pin down a good area that has a mix of stocked and wild trout. The FlyFishFinder app can help you locate known wild trout areas via our detailed fishing spots maps. You want to locate areas with dense trout or other fish populations so you have the best shot and luring one to your fly. We recommend a subsurface fly that is large enough to see, and doubles as a streamer pattern. The classic Wooly Bugger is a great fly to take and test on those first couple outings.
Local Fishing Spots Access
Pinning down spots to fish in your local area may be more challenging than you think. There is a ton of private property in this country making access difficult. Local fly shops are a great starting point and can usually offer a couple suggestions, along with flies to purchase for your day on the water.
We recommend picking a single location and getting some good practice on the water. Nothing beats this experience. Often you can work a solid stretch of water for a couple hours, and even double back to your vehicle and catch fish again.
Most access to trout water comes in the form of public bridges (by the way we have nearly every single public bridge to warm water and cold water fisheries (over 750,000) mapped out in our app so you never have to guess where they are).
In addition, we have layed out midwest fishing easement sections which are private land areas that land owners have opened for fishermen specifically, and usually provides solid bank access on either side.
We didn’t stop there, as easements are unique to the Midwest. We are mapping all public land sections over Trout fisheries and laying that out in our fly fishing maps so you can easily spot public sections.
Many states allow access to the high water mark along a stream, or have a wet foot rule allowing anglers to navigate provided their feet stay wet. Checking a local DNR site will help with this information, and we are working on quick links to the data as well.
Public Lands Fishing Hotspots
Finding fishing spots on public lands may be the best way you can pin down great areas to fly fish. The reason being, most public lands are free to access (save for some such as national parks). Public lands have great parking and free roaming access to the bodies of water. Quite a few public lands provide multiple streams and rivers within them, making it easy to find a place nobody else is fishing.
Public Lands Apps
There are many apps that now have public lands data mapped such as onX or HuntStand. Heck, even the USGS has their Protected Lands Database (PAD-US) which is free to use. The FlyFishFinder app has 400 million acres mapped of publicly accessible land across 50 states.
The app also displays the type of land it is, and color codes by types so you always know where you are. Using geolocate while out in the field will help keep tabs on exactly when you may be nearing borders or private land.
Hard to Reach Fishing Spots
What is the best kept secret to truly getting off the grid for those fishing hotspots. Locating boat ramps (again entirely mapped out in the FFF app) and launching your raft, kayak or canoe for a float is the best way to fish entire sections. Wading when fly fishing is great, but if you have access to a boat of some kind you will be able to get to those hard to reach sections.
Less Pressure, More Fish
The less pressure an area receives from other anglers, the better off you will be for finding success. This may be in the form of bigger fish, or an increased quantity of fish. Launching a raft is also a great way to get out with friends, or make new friends. In fly fishing, its all about who you know and the network you have built. This often determines the types of places you will get to fish and how skilled you will become.
It’s absolutely critical to meet other anglers and start exploring together. Not only will you share experience and improve by meeting more anglers, but you will gain insights on new areas you’ve never fished. The quickest way to more fish and better fishing spots is through other anglers. This is a core feature of the FFF app that you can check out for FREE today! Download the mobile app to get started in the community.
The case for a strong fishing community can be seen in places like Reddit, local fly shops and Instagram. What they lack though is a way to keep in touch regularly, and gain exposure remotely to the broader fly fishing crowd. Anglers need a place to express themselves, and a way to build their community.
Fly shops are a great starting point, but often you will not establish longer term friendships by visiting one. We aspire that the FlyFishFinder app will be that place where you can showcase your talents, share experience and insights, and quickly build your fishing network.
The gear you pack will be situational, depending on the size and nature of the water you fish. From warmwater and massive rivers like the Mississippi, to small cold water creeks in Pennsylvania. The rods, reels, flies and setup will all be different. Before hitting the water, be sure you fully understand the type of fishing and species you are targeting that day so you can plan accordingly.
Fishing Trip Planning
Getting a plan in place based on the water you are fishing, and species you are hoping for determines the approach and gear required. It also determines the way you will access the water and techniques you will use. Planning your next big fishing trip will be much more successful if you plan ahead, pack the flies, study the area on the map and grab your gear.
Make sure you have a few dollars and understand the number of days you will be fishing, so you can purchase a license. We recommend supporting your local DNR with a full year license in your own state, even if you only fish a couple times. Typically 3-4 outings in a year will more than cover the cost. If travelling, looking for the appropriate number of days you will fish helps nail down the cost. Check for local fly shops and other retailers that sell licenses directly in the ‘FlyFishFinder app’.
Fishing Spots Near You
To summarize, nailing down great fishing spots near you will take time and patience. There is no substitute for time on the water. The best anglers are out the most. The best anglers also build a network around them. We have been blessed to travel more in the past two years because of the business and app than we ever had previously.
Anglers are much more eager than you anticipate to meet fellow anglers, and share their expertise about their home waters. We encourage you to spend a few bucks on a rod and reel, swing by the local fly shop and grab a few flies and get out there!
Several Fly Shops we Recommend
As mentioned, fly shops are an excellent resource and have been for some time when it comes to local insights and conditions for fishing spots. Here is a short list of some shops we have personal experience with and could recommend. These are all noted in our app in the ‘Fly Shops and Retailers’ layer of the map, available to Free and Premium users. These have online shopping capabilities as well so we like to list those out for our users.