How to Choose a Fly Rod for Trout


Choosing a Fly Rod for trout

Which length and weight of trout fly rod is best for you and your fishing needs?

Selecting a trout fly rod is not as complex as it may seem. What follows is a generalized discussion that will help you make good choices when selecting fly rods for trout fishing.

The vast majority of time, trout anglers are fly fishing with rods in line weights 3 through 6. Though you might use a two weight on a small Appalachian creek, or a seven weight on a large Montana river, these situations are rarer and will be treated as outliers.

Each rod weight has an ideal length and ideal application, more or less regardless of manufacturer or brand. Of course, some extremely specialized fly rods exist at every line weight, but we believe our clients are best served by this concise selection of trout fly rods.

The Three Weight Fly Rod

Three weights are the rods to choose for fishing spring creeks. For this application, a fly rod around 8ft 9in is ideal. It gives you the right balance of accuracy and control because it’s a little shorter than the standard nine feet, but also has the length you’ll need for precise mends and line control on the water.

You should buy an 8ft 9in three weight fly rod if:

1. You’re targeting seriously educated trout, as you would find in spring creeks

2. Flies used are small, like size 14 and smaller

The Four Weight Fly Rod

To our thinking, there are two types of four weights. For fishing small water with a variety of flies, a four weight fly rod around 7ft 6in is ideal. This compact length allows you to work in tight amongst the brush that can line small streams, while a four weight line has the guts to carry some of the larger, bushier dry flies, like size 8 Stimmies, that are so fun to fish.

You should buy a 7ft 6in four weight fly rod if:

1. You’re planning to fish small streams and creeks or fly fishing the backcountry with a variety of flies.

Meanwhile, for fishing dry flies on rivers, a four weight trout rod around 8ft 6in is ideal. Much like the spring creek 3 weight discussed above, this four weight has the right balance of accuracy and reach, and it’s got a little more oomph for distance, larger flies, or a stiff breeze.

You should buy an 8ft 6in four weight fly rod if:

1. You’re looking for a dry fly specialty rod

2. The dry flies you want to fish are normal-sized, ie size 6 to 18

The Five Weight Fly Rod

Five weights are arguably the most versatile trout fly rods. They can place small flies with delicacy, but have the guts to handle larger flies, and longer casts in wind. In our opinion, the 9ft five weight fly rod is the rod that will serve anglers well in the broadest range of angling situations.

You should buy a 9ft five weight fly rod if:

1. You’re looking for the all-around trout rod

2. You’re not sure what trout rod you should get

The Six Weight Fly Rod

To us, six weights are streamer rods. They are more powerful than five weights and can better control bulky and/or heavy flies in the air. So if you love to fish streamers or out-sized dry flies like mouse patterns, reach for a six weight.

You should buy a 9ft six weight fly rod if:

1. You’re looking for a streamer specialty rod

So as you can see, the two primary factors that determine trout fly rod selection are: (1) type and size of fly you’ll be using and (2) the type of water you’ll be fishing.

Now, there are two other considerations that may push your choice up a line weight: (a) if the place you’ll be fishing is known for consistently strong winds, you might consider going up a line weight; (b) likewise, if the trout you’ll be fishing for are known for being consistently large or being very powerful fighters, you might consider going up a line weight. As an example, if you were looking for a dry fly specialty rod to use in a very windy place like Patagonia, you might be better served by a 9ft 5wt than an 8ft 6in 4wt.

Hopefully this helped resolve some of the uncertainty regarding fly rod selection. Based on our collective experience, these are the specific models of trout fly rods that serve our clients best. If you follow the guidelines laid out above, you can’t go wrong, but if you have any questions at all, just give us a call or livechat us.

How To Clean Your Fly Line


By George Revel

Let’s first start with the question, “When is it time to clean my fly line?”

Well, I clean mine any time my floating line starts sinking. If you want to be proactive, every 4-5 uses is a good rule of thumb. This will dramatically extend the life of your line if done properly.

Other signs your fly line needs cleaning

The line holds memory
Small cracks begin to appear

For this Project you will need:

Two buckets or a double basin sink
Airflo Whizz Lube

Step One: Soak the Fly Line:

I use a double basin sink (2 buckets or tubs also work). Fill one with 2-3 inches of warm soapy water (use a mild dish detergent) and the other with 2-3 inches of warm water. Strip the fly line off your reel into the soapy water using long pulls and deliberate placement of the line. Let soak for 25-30 minutes. You only need to clean the portion of line that you use…but I figure, why not the whole thing?

Step Two: Scrub and Rinse the Line:

The next step is to run the fly line through a wash cloth, beginning with the line that is nearest your reel. Pinch the fly line with the wash cloth firmly in between your thumb and index finger. Apply good pressure and pull the line into the bucket of warm water. Empty the soapy water and dry that basin. Beginning with the front of your fly line (nearest the leader), dry the line with the washcloth while pulling it into the freshly dried basin.

Step Three: Remove the Tough Grit:

Empty the freshwater basin and dry it out. Begin with the line closest to your reel and pull it through the doubled over washcloth, applying pressure with your thumb and index finger. Repeat pulling the line in between the basins until no more dirt rubs off onto the washcloth.

Step Four: Condition Your Fly Line:

Apply a dime-size dab of whizzlube. Double over the washcloth again and pull the line through, applying less pressure than before. Your goal is to coat the fly line in the conditioner. Let the fly line dry for 30-40 minutes (we recommend at least five minutes and up to 24 hours).

Step Five: The Buff:

After letting the fly line dry for at least five minutes, use a clean washcloth to pull the line back through for a polished finish. Before you reel the fly line back on the reel make sure the leader end is at the bottom of the pile to avoid tangles.

Step Six: Get out fishing with your grime-free, like-new fly line…

Tips to Catch More Trout


Tips to Catch More Trout

• Fish water that’s close to you. Your cast will be stealthier, your drift will be better, and you’ll catch more fish.

• Wade as little as you can get away with. If you must wade, wade as shallow as you can, as slowly as you can. Wading spooks fish.

• Studs make noise as they scrape the rocks you’re stepping on. Trout hear and feel this noise. If you’re fishing very slow, technical water, consider removing your studs.

• When nymphing or dry-dropping, use more weight than you think you’ll need. Weight is good. Get ’em down.

• Nymphs drop through the water column much faster if you’ve mended your leader and line so they are upstream of your indicator or dry fly. If there’s any drag on your indicator or dry, your nymphs simply aren’t getting down.

• Many times, walking just a little further from the parking area will put you into water that sees a fraction of the pressure from your fellow anglers.

• When nymphing, put your splitshot above a blood knot that you’ve tied 12 to 15 inches above your nymph. This amount of distance will help sink your nymph, but will also allow it drift naturally. How to set up indicator rig.

• If fishing more than one nymph, use lighter tippet to connect your trailing fly to your lead fly. This way if you hook a snag with your trailing fly, you might still come away with your lead fly, rather than losing both.

• Carry two rigged rods next time you go trout fishing. Make one a dry rig and one a nymph or streamer rig. This way you can change rapidly between presentations as the water dictates.

• Fish Chubby Chernobyl.

• Fish the heaviest leader or tippet you can … that still allows you to fool fish. This gives you the best chance of landing any big fish you hook, and enables you to land all fish more quickly, so they can be released successfully.

• Try to fish at least one big annual hatch, every year. Especially the big bugs: hexes, salmonflies, drakes, cicadas, etc. The fishing can be insane if you hit it right, and also, it’s just neat to see nature being rhythmic and doing its thing.

• Learn to fish lakes. It can be intimidating at first, but once you get your bearings, you’ll love it. Plus, the biggest trout live in lakes.

• If you’re not getting eats when fishing hard-fished water, consider using fluorocarbon tippet. Full length fluoro leaders are usually overkill, but 24 inches of fluoro tippet at the end of your mono leader can be just the ticket.

• Study the cast. Learn to cast efficiently. Casting well will make you a better angler, and also, it will make every cast enjoyable, regardless of whether it yields a fish.

How to Tie an Indicator Rig


How to Tie an Indicator Rig for Trout Fishing

By George Revel

While dry fly fishing is the purest form of fly fishing, the facts are that trout feed underwater at least 90% of the time. This fact alone is enough to tie on an indicator rig to catch more fish. The indicator rig is less enjoyable to cast and takes a good bit of effort to set up correctly. There are many ways to set up an indicator rig, but I will write about the most effective of all of the methods.

This indicator rig is my go to rig for the McCloud River, Upper Sacramento River, The Lower Sacramento River, and The Lower Yuba River.

*** If you do not know the river well; walk to the water before setting up your indicator rig ***

*** Lubricate all of your knots with a little spit for your indicator rig ***

*** Use more twists on your clinch knot when using fluorocarbon ***

*** This is designed for using thinga-mabobbers ***

1) Tie on your adjustable section of your Indicator rig.

When setting up my indicator rig I usually start with a cut back tapered 7.5 foot 3x leader for my indicator rig. Run your hands up the leader starting at the thin end of the leader. At some point you will feel the leader to start taper. You want cut the leader right before this taper starts happening. Loop to loop the leader to your fly line or butt section. The length of this section will determine the distance you can adjust your indicator. This also acts as an energy buffer when mending your line. Once your flies have sunk the last thing you want to do is move you indicator.

2) Set up your average depth for indicator rig.

Look at the water and take note of how of deep it is. You want to be a little longer than your average depth… trust your gut. I would say more often than not this section is at least 6ft. Measure your arm span and pulling off the right amount of tippet for your indicator rig is much easier. I generally use 3 or 4x fluorocarbon for this section of my indicator rig. Fluorocarbon is abrasion resistant and sinks better than mono. Tie this to your cut back tapered leader with a triple surgeons knot.

3) Tie on the tippet for the first fly of your indicator rig.

Here you want 12-18 inches of 1x lighter tipper than what you used as depth control section. The longer this section the more the fly, depending on weight, will float up. Tie this to you depth control section with a triple surgeon. This knot will serve as a stop for your split shot.

4) Tie on the first fly of your Indicator rig.

Use a clinch not to tie on the first fly of your indicator rig. I generally put the larger or heavier fly first on my indicator rigs. Use more wraps on your clinch knot when using fluorocarbon.

5) Attach dropper fly section for your indicator rig.

Use a clinch not to tie on the dropper fly tippet to the bend of your first fly. Use 1x lighter than whatever you used for your top fly. This ensures that whenever you get snagged your indicator rig you will only break off what you have to.

6) Attach the dropper fly of your indicator rig.

Use a clinch not to tie on the dropper fly of your indicator rig.

7) Add split shot to your indicator rig.

Whatever you were thinking about add more. I usually use at least 2 bb’s on my indicator rig.

8) Attach your Indicator.

Loop on the indicator on the fly line side just above the knot of the tapered leader and depth control section of you indicator rig.

Congratulations! You just built a highly effective indicator rig. When you need to get deeper simply move you indicator closer to your fly line. Conversely, when you need to fish shallower move your indicator closer to your split shot. Make sure to give your flies plenty of time to sink. To do this, cast your line upstream and make sure to give it a good mend. Any drag will make your flies float to the surface.

How to Tie a Hopper Dropper Rig


How to set up “The Hopper Dropper Rig” – or “The Dry Dropper Rig”

By George Revel

The Hopper Dropper Rig is easily one of my favorite and most productive rigs. This rig is my go to summertime creek and river rig. I have had great luck with hopper dropper rigs on the North Fork of the Yuba River, The Upper Sacramento River, The McCloud River, and The Truckee River.

The hopper does not always have to be a hopper just as long as it serves as both and indicator and an enticing meal. The dropper is generally a bead head nymph and size will depend on how buoyant your dry fly is.

My favorite flies for this set up are:

The Chubby Chernobyl for the dry

The Flashback Pheasant Tail for the nymph.

How to set up a hopper dropper rig:

1) Leader choice for the hopper dropper rig:

I start with a 7.5 foot 4x mono leader and loop to loop it to my fly line or butt section. I chose a shorter mono leader because it turns over the larger foam flies I like to fish with my hopper dropper rigs. Also mono leaders float.

2) Choose your dry fly/Indicator for your hopper dropper rig:

The next step is to choose and tie on your dry fly for your hopper dropper rig. You should base this on the size of dropper you want to fish. My favorite dry fly to use with a hopper dropper rig is the Chubby Chernobyl. Tie this on with a Clinch Knot.

3) Attach fluorocarbon to the bend of the dry fly for your Hopper Dropper Rig:

Tie a section of 5 or 6x fluorocarbon on the bend of you dry fly with a clinch knot. The longer you make this section the deeper your dropper fly will sink. Keep in mind the longer this section is the more difficult the hopper dropper rig will be to cast. I like to keep it around 3 feet.

4) Choose and tie on your dropper fly:

I like to use a beadhead nymph that I have confidence in. Usually I end up using a pheasant tail, a prince nymph or a copper john.

5) Put some floatant and dry shake on the dry fly of your hopper dropper rig:

How to fish your hopper dropper rig:

I like to fish this hopper dropper rig in shallow riffles. The faster moving water gives the fish less time to inspect and just react. Another great method is to fish your way up stream, cast your hopper dropper rig in front of rocks allowing the hopper and dropper rig to flow around the rock and back toward you. As your hopper dropper rig is drifting back toward you lift your rod and strip in the slack.