Beginning Fly Fishing
Getting Started Fly Fishing?
How to choose the best gear for you
AUTHOR Hans Stephenson / CATEGORY Beginning Fly Fishing / PUBLISHED: Nov 20 2019
Choosing a Rod and Reel
Choosing your first fly rod can be a bit daunting given the choices available. If you're primarily going to be fishing for trout or panfish, a rod in the 4-6 weight range is going to be your best choice - for all around use, a 5 weight rod is hard to beat. You can take a 5 weight nearly anywhere there's trout and have the right tool for the job. If you're fishing larger rivers like the Madison, North Platte, or Bighorn, a 6 weight may be a better choice to cast larger flies and heavier rigs. A 4 is a great option for smaller streams like what we have in the Black Hills or the Driftless area. Rods in the 8-9 foot range are your best option for easier casting and line management. Get into Fly Fishing with the outfits and gear below!
There are thousands of flies out there to pick from - when you're first starting, it can be really intimidating. The fly selections below are a great start to a fly box for a beginning fly angler. If you're fishing for trout primarily, any of the kits below are good choices. The streamer bugger mix is a good choice for panfish, as well as trout. If you're looking to start a fly box at a great price, these fly selections are a great choice!
Leaders and Tippet
There are a myriad of different leaders and tippet on the market, but the Rio Powerflex line of leaders and tippet are great choices at a great price. The leader is tapered, and the thick end attaches to your fly line. Tippet is level monofilament, and attaches to the end of the leader, and is used to tie your flies together if you're fishing a two fly rig. If you're primarily fishing smaller streams, a 7.5' leader is a great option. Bigger rivers and deeper water sometimes require a longer leader, and a 9' leader is perfect. 4x or 5x tippet are good all around bets for trout nearly anywhere.
Vest or Pack
These packs and vest are great options for the beginning fly angler, as well as the minimalist. Many people think of fly fishing and vests, but packs are a nice option as well. Packs are nice because you can push them behind you so they aren't in the way when you're fishing, and they're much cooler in the summertime. Vests will hold considerably more gear, so if you're a person who packs heavy a vest may be an good option as well. Whichever route you decide, here's a couple of our favorite options!
Waders and Boots
Waders are synonymous with fly fishing, and for good reason - getting in the water can often give you a better angle or allow you to reach fish that you otherwise couldn't from the bank. Wet wading is nice when it's hot in the summer, but during the other 3 seasons waders are a big advantage. Stockingfoot waders are a bit different than the older style of bootfoot waders - there's a neoprene sock on the wader, and you buy the boot separately. This configuration is more comfortable, and has more support. Most folks go a size up in their wading boots - if you wear a 12 buy a 13. The Tributary boots only come in men's sizes, but just subtract two sizes for the women's size. The Simms Tributary Waders and Redington Crosswaters are our pick for waders that won't break the bank!
About the Author
Ryan Gabert has worked at Dakota Angler for 12 years. In addition to working in the shop, Ryan has guided fly anglers for the last 8 years.