How to Identify Fly Fishing Flies

How to Identify Fly Fishing Flies
Fly fishing is a sport with a huge variety of equipment, gear and accessories available to fishermen. The flies that are used are certainly no exception. They range from tiny midge imitations to the large, garish flies that are used to pursue large salt water species of fish. For the beginning fly fisherman, this can all be confusing when trying to identify flies. Fortunately, there are some guidelines you can use to help you in identifying flies.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Identify dry flies as the type of fly that is commonly associated with the sport. These flies are meant to be fished on the surface of the water rather than being fished under the surface like most other lures and baits. Dry flies are marked by a prominent feature called hackle. Hackle is a feather that has been wrapped around the shank of the hook in order to splay out its individual fibers. The hackle serves to help the fly float well, along with the tail, which is usually a few individual feather fibers that are tied so that they extend off the back of the bend of the hook. Dry flies are designed to imitate adult insects.
Step 2
Identify nymphs and wet flies by a design that is geared to be fished underwater. These flies imitate immature stages of insects, or are simply meant to be attractors. They will either have no hackle at all, or have a much softer, longer, hackle that lies along the length of the fly. Its purpose is to either give the appearance of a dangling wing case, or just to give a general "buggy" look to the fly. Wet flies often have some weight tied into them to help them sink well.
Step 3
Notice that the type of fly known as a streamer is usually a larger fly, and also built to be fished underwater. These have been tied to be attractors that trigger a fish's predatory or territorial instincts, or to imitate food sources like small bait fish, or large insects. Streamers will many times feature less subtle materials like marabou and tinsel, and will have bright colors.
Step 4
Look for terrestrial flies by locating those that are imitating land creatures (hence the term, "terrestrials"). These flies will be tied to look like ants, beetles, grasshoppers and, in some cases, even mice! These are effective flies when conditions have a lot of the natural terrestrials landing in the water, for instance when there is a heavy grasshopper population near a stream on a windy day.

Article Written By Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith began writing for Demand Studios in May of 2009 and has since written over 1400 articles for them. He also writes for "The College Baseball Newsletter." He attended the University of New Mexico, and has more than 25 years of experience in the business world.

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