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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just found this website tonite and I'm defintely impressed. I'm new to the sport,took my first casting class last month.I've almost got all of the basic equipment, buying the waders tomorrow. My question is "Where do ya start?" By that I mean should I start out on streams, float tube, lakes from the shore? Should I start with drys, nymphs, or what,or am I thinking too much and should I just try it all. I'm heading out to Bozeman in August to fish with my Father-in-law who's been doing this for 40 years. No pressure on me at all. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated. And if you see some guy on the stream or the lake looking like a newbie, give him a wave, he needs all the support he can get.
 

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Flyfish as much as you can you will learn something every time your on the water even if you have been flyfishing for 50 years. Thats whats so great about the sport you can never master it completely thats why they call it fishing not catching. You can't start any where better than montana you will have fun just be observant to everything around you and try to learn as much as you can and don't be afraid to ask questions theres no such thing as a stupid question exept what color of power bait is working best right now while your in a fly shop. Welcome to the sport you will never be the same.Let us know how you do in montana.GOOD LUCk. :THUMBSUP

"LOVE'M AND LEAVE'M" C&R

fly15
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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Given the way this weekend is starting up, I would go fish a lake. The rivers are all running high and tough to wade or fish. Maybe you can find a river or a stream that is fishable, but it will be tough.

The nice thing about lakes for a newbie are that you can always troll a bugger. My thought on how to learn to fly fish are to read books and try to do what is in them. Go out with more experienced anglers. Fish, fish, fish. And when you aren't fishing: read, read, read.
 

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As a kid I spent hours chasing smaller fish in cascade mountain streams with typical attractor dry flies like the adams, renegade and royal coachman. These fish are more forgiving and lots of fun (even 20 years later) and no one is there to laugh at you as you attempt to pluck your elk hair from an alder. I guess my advice is to not bite off more than you can chew. Save the Henrys Fork for a later stage in your fly fishing development. I have seen a lot of flyfishers give it up because they allow frustration to get the better of them.
 

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I'd echo what everyone else has said. It's a lot like riding a bike. You can have it explained to you over and over, and totaly understand the concepts and theory, but until you actually do it, you won't learn a thing.

Go out and get a fly wet. You might get skunked, you might not, but every minute you spend on the water you get better. Learn how to read a river until you get to where you can walk up to a totally unfamiliar river and point to the fish like a compass. I think it's best to start with some of the basic flies like parachute adams, BWO's, pheasant tail nymphs, bead head prince nymphs, and gold ribbed hare's ears first. They won't teach you to read the hatch, but they will get you into some fish. A doctorate in entomology can come later. That's only my opinion, though, I'm sure others will disagree.

Also, find a place where you can practice your cast. If you don't have a large yard, look for a park. (Don't practice with an actual hook, snagging a little kid on the jungle gym with your backcast is considered poor form) Accuracy is more important than distance. On Washington's streams and smaller rivers, I believe creativity is more important than perfect form. The growth around the waters makes for an interesting cast sometimes.

Just do what it takes to get a fly in front of a fish and relax, this is FUN. What are the alternatives? Mowing the lawn? Painting the garage? Lugging your wife's heavy packages around some shopping mall? I'll take the river or lake, thank you.

Lastly, don't worry about making mistakes. It's almost impossible to do anything irreversible (drowning comes to mind). My father-in-law, who is my fly fishing mentor, has a framed photo of me standing thigh deep in the Elochoman looking up at my line which extends from my rod tip to at least 35 feet straight up into a Douglas Fir. I didn't tangle the leader or the tippet in the tree, I tangled the actual fly line. To this day I'm not sure how it got there, but it took a good twenty minutes to get it down. :DUNNO

Good Luck!

Trouthunter
 

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Having a Father-in-Law who lives in Bozeman and has been flyfishing for 40 years gives you what I would call a leg up. (If I had in-laws in Montana, they'd see a lot of THEIR grandson, let me tell you.) As in any sport, nothing helps more than getting to "play" with people who are better than you. Sure, you're in for some ribbing at first (That's one of the few pleasures left to us "older and wiser" types), but it affords you a nice steep learning curve.

You can try to gain the same thing locally by joining a club, or trying to make friends at someplace like this. (And Tight-Loops is right, reading will help tremendously - if you can find it, look for an old book called "Flyfishing Strategies" by Swisher and Richards, full of excellent, clear advise and technical instruction.) That way you can impress the old man with what you learn in between visits. Besides, I'm sure your Father-in-Law will show you every courtesy and patience (unless of course he already hates you for marrying his daughter; in that case, stay out of back-cast range).

In answer to a couple of your specific questions: the techniques in lake fishing are generally easier to master than streamcraft. Once you get past the esoterics of fly selection and water reaading, it's pretty much just how much do you let it sink and how fast do you strip it back. And in Washington, the best fishing by far is in the lakes. In stream fishing, you'll need to master some tricker casting and line-handling techniques, along with the sometimes more complicated esoterics. It turns out to be not quite as tough as it seems, though, and in many ways is more fun (even in Washington). Besides, you'll need that streamcraft in Montana big time.
 

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Casting on the lawn is a good piece of advise. I got a flypole from my dad when I was 13 or 14. I didn't have wheels then so it was difficult to get to the fishing holes. I began to cast on the lawn every once in a while for a couple of years. By the time I was actually on the water I was a pretty good caster. People were wondering how I was so good for never doing it before. I didn't tell them about all of the times on the lawn. It only takes a few minutes at a time.

Later
pjr



Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat...wondering about the one that got away.
 

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Patrick
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Welcome to the sport that will take up many waking hours with both the doing and the thinking about doing. Keep the flies simple, simple flies catch fish, complex ones catch fishermen. Lakes are a good place to learn to play the fish and get some practice in with your casting. When you get tired of casting you can troll if you have a boat or float tube or cast out a dry fly and let it sit with just a twitch once in awhile. Casting classes are put on by fly shops and some fishing clubs and it is best to learn from one before you form bad habits. Start with basic patterns Leech, Caddis, Royal Wolf, Stone Fly, Hares Ear both tan and black, Pheasent Tail, and other basic paterns some based on the part of the state that you live in and what you will fish for. Then practic every chance you get either on a small pond for perch and bass, a river for trout or white fish {think small patern on the bottom of the river for white fish}, On larger lakes bass, perch, trout and carp. Do not forget about the beaches for surf perch and SRC and sometimes Silvers and Alpine Lakes for trout. I myself enjoy them all. Time on the water for me is what is important not what I catch, each type of fish has its own joy. I would leave Steel Head until you get some time on other types of fish under your belt they are hard to catch while learning and will frustrate you to much when you are getting started but a great to target after you gain confidence in your skill of reading the river and casting. Once again welcome to the addiction that is flyfishing. Enjoy but respect the waterways that support the fish and the fish themselves they both will bring you years of joy if we all take care of them. : : :LOVEIT :THUMBSUP
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to all of you who responded. I appreciate all of the advice and the encouragement. Here's some follow up questions. I'm in Kent and in going through some of the topics I've found some places to fish nearby. Any suggestions on a good fly shop in the area? Also, am I better off buying flys from a shop locally or from an online place like Cabelas. I'm thinking about cost and quality. I'm taking some more classes next month through Kent parks so this along with fishing as much as possible will hopefully help. I'll be fishing the Gallatin, Madison, and Hyalite Creek outside of Bozeman.
Thanks again for all of the help and I'm sure I'll have more questions in the future. I won't be out there this weekend but I wish the rest of you luck!!! Kringle(a.k.a. THE NEWBIE)
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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I would not get flies from a place like Cabelas, Big 5 or Fred Meyer. There is a fly shop in Federal Way called the Mad Flyfisher that I have heard good things about. As far as internet ordering, there are some folks that advertise on this site that I have head good things about. I tie all my own, so I can't tell you where are the better places to buy, but come fishing, I usually give away lots of flies to needy friends.

Rob
 

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Just an Old Man
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I might be old---but I'm good.

If you ever go to Seattle. Check out Outdoor Emporium. They sell flies for .75 cents a pop. You can also get some Steelhead flies for the same low price. I usually go there at least once a year to stock up on flies that I can't tie. You can also check out Hills fly shop on this web site. Jim S.
 
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