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lindylair
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03/16/2019 05:49PM
Recent posts about trout lakes in northern Minnesota and my knowledge of the trout river opportunities up there as well have piqued my interest. Several years ago I started to head to SE MN every April for trout fishing . I have not fly fished but rather have used an ultralight setup with a small hook and piece of worm or nightcrawler. I have had a blast and caught many nice fish including brookies, browns and rainbows and a few very nice ones. So i guess my question is should I invest in a fly fishing rig and take the time and effort to learn fly fishing to enhance my success and/or enjoyment of the adventure?

If so, what equipment is the most important, what is essential? I am nearing retirement and will have time on my hands in the coming years, seems like this might be a hobby that could payoff both up north, SE MN and here around the Twin Cities. I know it also has other advantages besides traditional trout fishing, anyone have any examples of that?

What do I need to know about this and what is the bet way to learn?

Thanks
 
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03/16/2019 06:04PM
I'm not an avid fly fisherman, but like to mess around with it on occasion. As far as skill level, I give myself about a 4 out of 10.

I haven't tried throwing a fly rod off of a canoe yet, don't think my ability level is up to that.

I have fly fished the BWCA from shore, and my thoughts in a nutshell are, if you can find a good place with enough room to fish from shore, it's fun and worth taking the extra equipment. The only problem is a lot of campsites don't have enough open are at water's edge to be able to throw a fly rod, so for me it's kind of a toss-up on whether or not to take a fly rod or not.
 
flytyer
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03/16/2019 06:22PM
Miracle Mile Orvis Retail Store
5001 Excelsior Boulevard
Saint Louis Park, MN 55416
612-293-1369

Free learn to fly fish classes.

Generally held on Saturday mornings. Call the store to find the dates and times.
 
Abbey
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03/16/2019 10:06PM
If you read this in time, go to the Great Waters Expo tomorrow (Sunday) or catch it next year. Lots of cool stuff even if you are not (yet) into fly fishing. Was there with my seven year old today, and we had a blast.
Great Waters

Casting takes some practice, but it’s rewarding. If you’ve caught trout in SE MN dunking worms, then you should try fly fishing. Doesn’t need to be complicated. Starting with a Tenkara rod on those small streams would be easy and get some casting motion.

I’m not that good at fly casting either, but every fish on a fly is way more fun.
 
lindylair
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03/17/2019 05:17AM
Thanks all, love to hear more thoughts. I have done some looking online and found some ready to fish outfits that seem pretty complete to get started. Is something like this worth considering or should I keep looking?

Fly fishing rig
 
lindylair
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03/17/2019 06:50AM
Here are some sample shots of what I have caught in SE MN but I have heard that the fly folks do better. Not to mention it's the "pure' form of the sport. Not that I need another hobby:)











 
PowerLizard
member (39)member
 
03/17/2019 09:22AM
lindylair: "Thanks all, love to hear more thoughts. I have done some looking online and found some ready to fish outfits that seem pretty complete to get started. Is something like this worth considering or should I keep looking?


Fly fishing rig "


Most value priced starter packages like the one you posted have really cheap fly line. If you buy a starter package and get frustrated with it, try replacing the fly line first.
A 5 weight 9’ fly rod is considered a good all around fly rod. A 4 weight or lower rated rod will be much more difficult to learn with.
 
clrdoguy68
member (11)member
 
03/17/2019 11:39AM
Just a few random thoughts...
I would highly recommend taking a lesson or attending some sort of workshop. Or find someone that does it already and go with them a few times.

I would advise against buying any rod that you haven't handled at least a little. My experience is the beginner rods are usually complete "noodles" and can be difficult to caste. I've introduced a few folks to the sport and I think they do much better with a faster (stiffer) rod. Go to a store where they have a selection of rods and handle several. A 9 foot 5 or 6 wt rod is probably a good place to start.

Consider the streams you want to fish. Some water can be very difficult to fly fish (steep banks, stream side vegetation, not wade-able, etc). Bottom line, if you don't have room for a back caste of some sort, it can make fly fishing difficult. In some cases, all you can do is make short roll casts and maybe do some high line nymphing (which can still be fun).

I recommend learning a little about aquatic insects. If you can find a resource that focuses on the specific areas you plan on fishing that would be great. The patterns you use will really depend on the where you are fishing. This is where local fly shops can help.

For me, fly fishing is great when it all comes together but can be very frustrating when one or more of the water, weather, fish or bugs aren't cooperating. I just don't bother with it anymore unless conditions are promising. But of course, a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.......
 
flytyer
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03/17/2019 12:21PM
This is from the Orvis website on choosing your first fly rod.

https://www.orvis.com/how-do-i-choose-my-first-fly-rod

If you have a fly shop closer to you, go there. They will give you great help and may even let you try different rods to see what you like best.
 
03/17/2019 06:04PM
Your answers will vary greatly. Fly fishing is like so many other hobby’s in life. The more experience you get the more you learn. The more you learn the better you want to be. The better you want to be the better equipment you acquire. I have been fly fishing, fly tying and fly rod building for 30 years ( I guide friends for free). Pick a good inexpensive starting point and get in the water. Enjoy it and see where it takes you. Good Luck Enjoy.
 
JATFOMike
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03/18/2019 04:34AM
All solid advice thus far! The only thing I can add is once you get hooked on casting, the next step is fly tying! I spend the winters filling my fly boxes for the Spring. Given your location, I'm sure in addition to fly shops, there are some pretty active fly fishing/tying clubs. In the Spring they always have free or cheap intro casting/tying classes. It will shorten the learning curve......and you can cast from a canoe! One of my tripping buddies and I always carry an 8 wt. with us on our annual September trip up to the BWCA. Smallies, Northern, and Walleye have all fallen to our offerings. The reason for the 8 wt. is that time of year we are casting heftier flies.....

Good Luck!

Mike
 
jsCrawdad
 
03/18/2019 07:17AM
Get a 5wt/ 9ft/ 4pc fly rod and few basic flies. Small poppers and clousers for bass and some dry flies and nymphs for trout. Watch a few how-to videos on Youtube and practice outside in your backyard. Learning how to cast is probably the hardest part but after that it gets easier and its a ton of fun, even if your not catching anything!
 
jsCrawdad
 
03/18/2019 07:17AM
Get a 5wt/ 9ft/ 4pc fly rod and few basic flies. Small poppers and clousers for bass and some dry flies and nymphs for trout. Watch a few how-to videos on Youtube and practice outside in your backyard. Learning how to cast is probably the hardest part but after that it gets easier and its a ton of fun, even if your not catching anything! A 5wt setup is pretty universal but if you had to have another setup then get an 8wt for bigger flies/fish.
 
scotttimm
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03/18/2019 08:26AM
Find your local Trout Unlimited chapter - lots of great folks who love to share what they do and often have gear swaps and such if you want to dabble before investing. My fly rod for fishing freshwater lakes isn't great for trout streams here in NE Iowa, but I don't let that stop me. Get something fairly universal to get by, in case you want to visit several different kinds of places
Search for Trout unlimited chapter here:
Find TU Chapter
 
Moonman
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03/18/2019 09:22AM
I have been fly fishing for more than 40 years and while I agreee with almost everything posted above, the biggest thing I can tell you that I don’t see above is the importance of the right rod. This is because I know a few people who quit because of casting frustration. I agree that many intro level rods are poor casting tools but a rod that is too fast can be worse for a beginner. This is why: feel. It can be hard to teach older people fly casting because they have seen people do it, movies etc, and as we age we feel we know it all lol. Casting is simply trying to get a fly line to unfurl in a level manner to present a fly at a distance from your position. Even when you achieve that step, you can encounter trouble due to wind knots, stream/bank obstructions, ‘drag’ on moving water, etc etc. the common factor in surmounting everything casting related is feedback from the rod. So look for a rod that has some flex in the top third (moderately fast) as opposed to fast or worse super fast. This is tricky because some moderately fast rods are garbage...that’s where asking the right people or experienced friends come in handy. You need the right moderately fast rod .With the right rod to start, you will learn from mistakes, feel when the rod loads up, feel when to release line etc etc. a faster rod with good tip recovery will allow you to cast further with much more accuracy but if you get a rod like that right off the bat, you might not progress at all and may find it frustrating. I have seen it before with friends that have lots of cash and get talked into getting a high end rod. Also if primarily casting smaller streams, 25’ might be the max distance you want to cast so again the moderately fast rod will load up nicer, and toss flies with a gentler fall on the water. You can always progress to a faster rod later. The next important item is line, a good floater from a major manufacturer will do fine, maybe one designed with a bass taper etc which will again throw heavier flies and help you feel the cast better. Reel doesn’t really matter for Midwest waters although a nicer reel will be lighter and have a smoother drag which is nice but even old single pawl drags you have to palm will work fine. It’s really just a place to hold line. If you are a good spin fisher you can be a good fly fisher. Those same streams will yield up plenty of trout with a simple wet fly or nymph. All species can be caught on a fly in the BW with a simple streamer fly and a sinking line, just like trolling a rapala. And then there is surface smallie action...

Hope this helps,

Moonman.
 
lindylair
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03/19/2019 06:26PM
Great information from everyone, thank you so much! I am pretty sure I will take the plunge just not sure exactly when. I have my annual SE MN trout fishing trip planned for late April and I just don't know if I can pull it all off by then. But I am ok with that, I have had decent success the simple hook and worm way.

First step for me seems like it would be to take a class(local Orvis or similar) and see if i think I can get the hang of it. I assume that equipment is supplied for those classes or is that not the case? Then I would need to get the equipment. I had somewhat high hopes that the starter rod/reel/kits I found on Amazon would be ok to begin with but honestly that is because I don't know anything about the line, tippet, etc. and the knots that need to be tied to get ready for the water. Those outfits come ready to fish. But I don't want to do something I will regret shortly after getting involved in the sport either. I assume rigging your rod/reel is not all that difficult with a little coaching and my concern is probably silly.

I can see myself spending more time fishing the streams and rivers in SE MN as there are many, dabbling in it on some of the northern MN rivers as well and maybe taking advantage of some of the very good trout opportunities near the twin cities, especially the Kinnikinnic which is close and seems to be a great opportunity. A couple years ago I did a backpack trip into Crosby Manitou State Park and stayed at a great site right along the river. We explored it thoroughly and I remember looking at spots and thinking that would be a great spot to throw out a line. I want to be read for that next time.

Funny, as a kid one of my buddies got me into fly tying. I am talking 12-14 years old but we did a lot of it. Probably tied a hundred flies despite the fact that we had no idea what we were doing. I know I have caught panfish on a few of those flies years ago, even without a fly rod. Seems like a good potential hobby for those soon to come retirement years...with a little help on the old eyesight thing.

If anyone has some specific recommendations on a rod/reel setup that doesn't break the bank i am all ears. And any thoughts on my concerns about tying the various pieces of the line together and the knots involved to allay my fears, i would appreciate it.

Thanks again for the great info, I am getting excited about the possibilities...
 
WHendrix
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03/19/2019 07:03PM
Jeff. All of the advise given here is really good, especially the classes at a place like Orvis. I think you might be surprised to fine that the entry level Orvis equipment is pretty affordable. In addition to that, I don't live too far from you (River Falls) and there is, conveniently, a vey good trout stream (the Kinnickinnick River) a ten minute walk away. I have also been fly fishing since 4 years before you were born. I would be happy to spend some time with you either on your water or mine helping untangle some of the myth and magic sport.
 
bobbernumber3
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03/20/2019 05:52AM
I learned to fly-fish as a kid and caught bluegills off the dock. As an older fisherman now, I see fly-fishing more objectively. I've often heard a lot of talk from fly-fishermen about technique, gear, conditions, matching the hatch, making the perfect cast. But not so much talk about catching fish.

I think you can spend a lot of $ on gear... kinda like golfers. It can be an interesting hobby and there are a lot of details to learn about. For me, I like catching fish with live bait and spinners and spending less time putzing with all the gear.

So I am an advocate for fly-fishermen. They help maintain a health fish population for the most part.
 
bobbernumber3
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03/20/2019 06:03AM
ps. Do you ever fish around Central Wisconsin? I know of two nice spots with lots of casting room and some nice fish.
 
Mocha
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03/20/2019 05:18PM
best thing i ever learned! never have caught fish but just the motion of casting and watching and casting..... is so relaxing.
 
oth
Guest Paddler
 
03/20/2019 08:04PM
After reading Moonman's post ,I stay with the rainbow casting bubbles and a long leader. :) One of my sons loves to work a flyrod but I found it hard to do unless in wide open spaces; and still lousy at it! oth
 
lindylair
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03/20/2019 08:07PM
Thanks again for the info and offers. I have an affinity for "nice spots" and "nice fish" and don't mind travelling to find them. As far as the Kinni, i have been aware of its reputation for a while but recently read a very in depth article which opened my eyes to what a great resource it is, and it is but a 40 minute drive for me.

Next step is to look into a class or some sort of instruction. If things go well I would then purchase what i need for equipment and plan some trips to practice my new hobby. Mocha, I get what you are saying about the pleasure of the motion of casting and watching the fly drift downstream and obviously in so doing it usually means you are in a pretty nice natural setting. It's fun to just be there doing what you are doing. Although for me, catching a few fish on occasion would be part of the goal as well.

Bobber, i got a chuckle over your comment about fly fishermen helping to maintain a healthy fish population. I hope in my case I can buck the odds:)
 
Johnh
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03/21/2019 12:23AM
I made this fly fishing video last year in Quetico. It is very effective on shoreline bass. For me casting for the bass is as good as it gets and it is way more simple than everyone is making it sound.



Canoe fish quetico
 
Cretbo
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03/21/2019 03:50AM
Excellent video!!
 
Driftless
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03/21/2019 07:23AM
Love the video!
 
Podunk
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03/21/2019 05:05PM
When you're starting out you will get some knots in your line that will defy the laws of physics. That being said I love flyfishing in the right kind of water. Sometimes and places it just doesn't work for me.
 
fishnfreak
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03/21/2019 06:22PM
Been fly fishing for about 20 years, even dipped a toe in the guiding world for a few years.

Equipment, I would have two rigs starting out. an 8 foot, 4 weight rod for SE MN, NE IA and SW WI. and I would have a 9 foot 7 weight rod for smallies, steelhead and such.

When you first start master this first, the roll cast! mastering this will save you a lot of flies and frustration.

also, keep your fly box simple at first, wolly's, caddis, Olives, assortment of nymphs, copper johns, pheasant tail, prince nymphs, zebra midge,
a few poppers for the bass and blue gills. and maybe some hoppers for late summer.

Too many folks spend alot up front before they begin to have fun with it. Keep it simple at first, spend more money on gas, beer and samiches. Learn to present the fly and for the most part just spend alot of time on the water. the creek or river and the trout will teach you the rest, along with youtube
 
Abbey
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03/23/2019 08:24AM
The hardest part for me to learn was setting a hook with the fly rod. Still not great at it, but it was the repetition with bluegills and a 4-wt rod that helped get it figured out. Bluegills are a great teacher for adults learning fly fishing just like they are for kids with bobbers.
 
nooneuno
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03/24/2019 05:04PM
I have always been somewhat in awe of the successful fly caster, to watch it is almost akin to watching a ballerina or figure skater, at the same time I picture myself standing on the shore my ankles tied together, and three wraps around my neck, slowly choking the life out of me with a fly deeply embedded in the back of my skull. A man's got to know his limitations and to the best of my knowledge zebco does not make a fly reel......
 
fishnfreak
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03/24/2019 08:00PM
nooneuno: "I have always been somewhat in awe of the successful fly caster, to watch it is almost akin to watching a ballerina or figure skater, at the same time I picture myself standing on the shore my ankles tied together, and three wraps around my neck, slowly choking the life out of me with a fly deeply embedded in the back of my skull. A man's got to know his limitations and to the best of my knowledge zebco does not make a fly reel......"

That's funny!!! It's actually quite easy to do. Now mending line and such....that's a whole other story. Casting in itself is pretty easy to learn though.
 
FishermanTed
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03/25/2019 07:41AM
Hello all, been awhile. Hope all is well.

I own an Orvis endorsed fly-fishing lodge just north of you guys. We have lots of spin guys of course but more and more fly fishermen and I see and hear this question ALL the time. People are leery of the unknown. Human nature really. And we all want to cast like Brad Pitt. But you know what? Brad Pitt had a casting double in that movie. The guys throwing those flies were experts. I have fished with many experts and few people look like than when casting a fly. So know this going in, you don't need to be perfect to have a blast.

Fly-fishing I have found is the pinnacle of fishing. Now before you dismiss me as some snob know this. I have been fishing my whole life and just started getting serious about fly fishing maybe 10 years ago. I LOVE to walleye fish. But when I pick up a fly rod something magical happens. The casting itself is ethereal. When you feel the sweet spot of the line going to and fro it can be mezmerizing.

There is an old adage for fishermen. When you start to fish its how many fish did you catch. That evolves into how big a fish did you catch. And finally HOW did you catch your fish. Fly-fishing falls into the last and final category. It is an art. And you quickly learn that in and of itself it is a blast. The fish become secondary. You also learn so much more about the waters you fish. Reading hatches, forecasting bug 'events' for lack of a better word. You understand so much more about the environment that you are participating in. More in-tune if you will.

Fly fishing is not hard. Its about grace and dexterity and feel. In fact most of the best fishermen in the world are actually women. You don't have to be a jock, or be strong or tall. Its about becoming one with your rod and line as you execute your casts.

My advice to you. Go to any Orvis store. They have FREE learn to fly fish classes. Put a rod in your hand and once you experience that perfect cast you will be sold. Everything else you can worry about later.

-FT

 
lindylair
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03/25/2019 07:28PM
Thanks Ted...much of what you said is why I am considering learning to fly fish. Obviously if you are out fly fishing somewhere you are likely in a beautiful and wild spot which in itself is a great reward. But the way you described the technique and experience kind of makes me think of poetry in motion. Of course, in my still unenlightened naivete, i think that catching fish would be a part of the experience and the reward. Maybe not a lot of fish, maybe not any huge fish, but the means to an end where the means is reward enough in itself but the end is the icing on the cake.

Going to hook up with one of those Orvis classes. Looking forward to it...thanks to all of you for your great comments and suggestions.
 
nooneuno
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03/31/2019 08:52AM
I stopped by the Woodbury cabelas yesterday and spent some time chatting with Norm, he is the fly fishing guru out there, we talked rod lengths and weights, line weights, and flies. He showed me proper casting techniques and I practiced some casts right down the aisle. I live fairly close to a class 2 trout stream that is also a class 2 musky water by the Wi DNR so I pulled the plug and left with my first fly rod, I’ll be sure to have a knife handy in case I have to cut myself free.
 
bobbernumber3
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03/31/2019 02:43PM
nooneuno: "I stopped by the Woodbury cabelas yesterday and spent some time chatting with Norm, he is the fly fishing guru out there, we talked rod lengths and weights, line weights, and flies. He showed me proper casting techniques and I practiced some casts right down the aisle. I live fairly close to a class 2 trout stream that is also a class 2 musky water by the Wi DNR so I pulled the plug and left with my first fly rod, I’ll be sure to have a knife handy in case I have to cut myself free."

Good Luck on the start of your Great New Hobby!
 
lindylair
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03/31/2019 07:14PM
Good for you!!! You beat me to it.
Let us know how it goes.
 
nooneuno
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03/31/2019 07:56PM
lindylair: "Good for you!!! You beat me to it.
Let us know how it goes."


Well here it is first impressions: If your picturing Brad Pitt in a "River Runs Through It" sadly you will be disappointed, Now if your minds eye you're seeing a nice bonfire, a couple beers, and a good cigar you've got the backdrop pretty well. As for the fishing, have you ever seen a hunting dog laugh? neither had I before today but honestly he had a look on his face that said, I seriously let this clown follow me around all day with a loaded 12 gauge, what was I thinking..... My back cast seems to be much better than my forward, would it be awkward if I cast with my back towards the river? In all seriousness it is not as tough as it looks and there is something remarkable about being able to have 25' of line out and being able to draw it back and re-position it to another spot on the river without touching the reel. I know that I am losing most of the lines energy going from backward to forward but if you have to work at improving something in your life I can see working on this with a newfound zeal.
 
bobbernumber3
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04/01/2019 11:50AM
I learned to fly fish as a kid... standing at the end of a dock. I think a beginner would find this easier than standing knee deep in the water. Being above the water is more forgiving.
 
fishnfreak
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04/02/2019 05:09PM
bobbernumber3: "I learned to fly fish as a kid... standing at the end of a dock. I think a beginner would find this easier than standing knee deep in the water. Being above the water is more forgiving."

I would agree. Golf course ponds are great for the same reasons. Typically elevated land above the pond and the grass is mowed all the way to the water.
 
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