Fly Fishing Tips

best flies for fly fishing

If you’re headed out into the waters for the first time this season (or ever!), make sure your fly box is filled with these best flies for fly fishing. There is no such thing as the single “perfect” fly, as fish will bite on different flies depending on the weather, time of year, location, depth, color, species…the list goes on. Don’t limit yourself to just one or two flies. Instead, stock your pack with a wide range of flies to ensure you don’t go home empty-handed at the end of the day.

A good fly can make or break your fishing adventure, so be prepared with our list of the twenty best flies of all time.

  1. Pheasant Tail Nymph: easy to recreate

This fly is the quintessential mayfly imitator. With a dark brown color and slim shape, it is deceptive in its imitation as a mayfly and moves quickly in the water. This fly is easy to tie at home for beginning fly-tyers, as it can be kept slender and made out of natural materials. It’s not a flashy tie, but it mimics a wide variety of bait species and has an established reputation for catching loads of fish.

  1. Parachute Adams: versatile and attractive

This versatile dry fly is a popular choice on rivers throughout the world. It’s easy to cast and easy to see, with a bright white post and dark body. It is visible even in bright sun or dim light, and rises quickly. It can imitate a variety of small flies, such as mayflies, but can also imitate a Caddis fly. This makes it a great option when fish are feeding unpredictably, or if you’re not entirely sure what they’re feeding on in a new area you have not fished yet.

  1. Wooly Bugger: an old-fashioned favorite

The wooly bugger is a traditional fly that works well for catching trout and several other cold-water species. It is an older variety of fly, but combines all the right moves with the best profile for catching tons of fish. It has a specific pulsating action and, when purchased in various sizes and colors, can attract several species of fish. It can be tied with several strands of tinsel or with a metal cone head to make it flashier and heavier, but the unweighted and unadorned version is more popular.

  1. Elk Hair Caddis: for when the waters aren’t so calm

This tan, gray, or black fly is an excellent pick for turbulent waters, with a hackle body that allows the fly to avoid getting dragged under. It is a highly mobile fly, skittering along the surface and creating enticing movement that is highly tempting to fish. It imitates emerging caddis trying to leave the surface of the water. The hackle and elk hair wing of this dry fly allow it to bounce along the waters surface instead of becoming waterlogged.

That being said, this fly can also be used on calmer waters, as it can catch some serious air before touching down lightly on a lightly rippling surface. It is best used for trout, but also has success with smallmouths and panfish.