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Tips & Advice for Specific Fly Fishing Species

A stunning salmon laying in the river, next to the fly fishing tackle used to catch it. Discover all our fly fishing species tips!A stunning salmon laying in the river, next to the fly fishing tackle used to catch it. Discover all our fly fishing species tips!

Expert Advice & Top Tips by Fish Species

Not that long ago, fly fishing was predominantly done in pursuit of brown trout or salmon, and only possible during certain months of the year. Technical advances making tackle lighter, stronger and cheaper, combining with an angler’s desire to experiment, mean that these days you can fly fish for a huge variety of species, such as grayling, pike, carp, and many more found in saltwater. And it also means, if you wanted to, you could be fishing all year round.

Using an artificial fly to catch a fish was first recorded by Roman author Claudius Aelianus around 200 AD. The principle remains the same, however the changes in tackle since then have led to changes in techniques (the two are closely connected). Not unsurprisingly, different types of fish are best pursued with different types of rods, lines, reels and flies. And different strategies and techniques to catch them of course. It can get overcomplicated, so we’ve tried here to share our top tips by species and to keep them relatively simple. If you find fly fishing for trout isn’t for you, don’t give up, maybe try for a different species. Stalking a trout and seeing it delicately take your dry fly is a very different experience to prospecting the margins with a big lure and the aggressive smash of a pike.

Trout Fishing Video Playlist

Although we may have fished for other species by other methods, trout is where most of us start when it comes to fly fishing. Brown trout are native to the UK and one of its most common river fish, while rainbow trout (introduced from North America) are more prolific across our stillwaters. Increasingly some fisheries are also stocking with other types of trout such as tiger, spartic and brook to provide anglers with some variation. Brown trout spawn in the winter, while most UK rainbow trout don’t spawn naturally at all. The majority of brown trout in rivers are wild, while most of the rainbow trout in stillwaters are stocked.

Grayling Fishing Video Playlist

Despite technically being a coarse fish, the grayling is in fact a member of the salmon family and shares the same waters as river trout. They are known as the “lady of the stream” and have stunning dorsal fins. Because they spawn in the spring, their fishing season is different to trout, which means you can actually fly fish a river all year round. Although they eat many of the same things as trout, they behave in different ways and you’ll be fishing for them in winter, so often slightly different tackle and techniques are required.

Useful Video Playlists for Beginners





Begin Your Fly Fishing Journey With Sportfish

We all started out as beginners once. Some of the Sportfish team were lucky enough to have family or friends who fly fished, others are completely self-taught. Many of us were close to chucking the whole thing in, but persevered. The fact is you never stop learning, as every trip presents different challenges. And that’s one of the reasons we still love fly fishing after all these years. Have patience, learn as much as you can and practice as often as you can. It provides a lifetime of enjoyment.

Fly fishing tackle doesn’t have to be expensive and at Sportfish you’ll find the ultimate range of quality tackle to suit every budget. If after reading our guides in this section you’re still unsure about something, then give our friendly team a call on 01544 327 111. We love nothing more than talking about fishing and offering advice, whatever your level of experience.

Sportfish. By those who fish. For those who fish.