Is Fly Fishing More Effective?

There’s no doubt that fly fishing is a great outdoor sport, especially if you like getting in the water. 

Fly fishing is a highly effective way to catch fish. You can catch more fish with a fly, and you can catch a wider variety of species. 

The only downside to fly fishing is that it’s not for everyone. You’ll have to learn to implement various casting techniques, depending on the body of water you’re in or the fish that you’re trying to catch. Moreover, you also have to carefully decide what type of fly to use if you want a good catch. 

Let’s dive deeper into the topic of fly fishing, and you’ll see why fly fishing is more effective. 

How Does Fly Fishing Work?

Fly fishing is a technique in which you use a fake “fly” or similar incest as bait. The fly is lightweight and therefore floats on top of the water until it lures a fish.

When you go fly fishing, you have to adjust your technique based on various factors – where you are, the fish you are trying to catch, and even the weather. Multiple components make up a fly-fishing rod: the fly reel and backing, fly line, fly leader, tipper, and the fly.  

Many people wonder, “why do you fly fishers stand in the water?” The answer is relatively straightforward. Some anglers get into the water because the law requires it, and in other cases, they wade into the water to avoid snagging the fly line. Fly fishing from a boat is virtually impossible.

Even though you can attempt it, there’s a good chance that you’ll fall into the water and end up catching nothing (unless you’re fishing in the ocean – that’s another story). If you want to be successful fly-fishing anger, you’ll need to put on your wading boots and step out into the water. 

Fly Fishing Facts and Statistics

Want to learn more about fly fishing? The below numbers speak volumes. Check out these interesting fly-fishing facts and statistics:

  • Compared to other types of fishing, fly fishing attracted fewer people in the last year.
  • The average fly fisher goes fishing 10.9 times per year.
  • Americans went fly fishing a total of 76.7 million times in the last year. 
  • During the last three years, the total number of fly-fishing outings has decreased by three percent. 
  • Approximately six percent of people that fish each year only go fly fishing.  

Source: 2020 Special Report on Fishing

Advantages of Fly Fishing

  • Fly fishing enhances your physical fitness
  • It’s an affordable pastime
  • You can catch great-tasting fish for dinner
  • Fly fishers feel interconnected with nature
  • It’s easy to cast a fly long distance
  • Many people find fly fishing more exciting than alternative types of fishing

Disadvantages of Fly Fishing

  • You’ll need to get in the water, which is a downside for some
  • Fly fishing requires a technique that you must develop over time
  • You need more space to catch fish successfully
  • Learning to fly fish properly takes patience 

What’s the Difference Between Bait Fishing and Fly Fishing?

The difference between bait fishing and fly fishing is enormous. First, you don’t use live bait when you go fly fishing; and instead, you use a “fly” that resembles an insect. Secondly, fly fishing requires you to get into the water; you can’t just sit in a fishing boat and wait for a bite (unless you’re out in the ocean).

Now, let’s discuss the mechanics of bait fishing and fly fishing. When you use a fly rod, the line’s weight will transport the hook until the fly lands on the water and waits for its prey. On the other hand, you get casting distance on a traditional bait fishing rod from the lure or live bait. 

Many people find that fly fishing is more effective when it comes to catching salmon and trout. However, advanced fly rods make it easier for anglers to catch heavier fish, including marine species. Nevertheless, fly fishing is best suited for those who don’t mind getting in the water and attempting different casting techniques. Some people who participate in bate fishing do so for leisure, whereas some anglers view fly fishing as more of a sport.  

Is Fly Fishing Harder Than Regular Fishing?

Although there’s no such thing as “regular fishing,” maybe people think of bait fishing when they hear the term “fishing.” The simple answer to this question is yes – fly fishing is more complex than regular (bait) fishing. 

Why is it more difficult to fly fish? You’ll have to learn various casting techniques which aren’t the easiest to replicate. Furthermore, you have to get in the water, making fly fishing more physically straining. 

The fly-fishing community is relatively small when you compare it to other types of fishing. Therefore, it might be challenging to find an instructor or someone to teach you.

As mentioned above with our statistics, only six percent of people who fish exclusively fly fish. Although you can teach yourself to fly fish, it will undoubtedly take patience and dedication. However, as they say, “practice makes perfect.” 

What Type of Fish Can You Catch When You Go Fly Fishing?
When you go fly fishing, you may have better luck catching certain fish types than bait fishing or spinning. These fish are fun to put back in the water or bring home and cook for dinner. On your next fly-fishing trip, you might catch one of the following fish species:

  • Salmon
  • Walleye
  • Various types of sharks
  • Trout
  • Carp
  • Redfish

Are There Fish That You Can’t Catch With a Fly Rod?
As you can imagine, various types of fish are tough to catch with the typical fly rod. These fish include, but are not limited to:

  • Bluefin tuna
  • Blue marlin
  • Wahoo
  • Sailfish

Note: It’s not strictly impossible to catch these fish on a fly rod, but let’s just say it would be very rare. 

The Most Popular Places to Go Fly Fishing

Did you know that you can fly fish in virtually any body of water, including the ocean? However, most people tend to fly fish in lakes and rivers, depending on what they’re trying to catch. 

Fly fishing is a prevalent pastime in Russia, Argentina, Cuba, New Zealand, and the United States. In fact, some fly fishers travel to these countries just to go fishing. Let’s take a look at the most popular places to fly fishing in the United States: 


Given its significant number of lakes and proximity to the Great Lakes, it’s no surprise that Michigan is a popular fly-fishing destination. Some of the most popular places to fly fish in Michigan include Black River, Boardman River, and the Au Sable River System.

New York

When most people picture New York, they imagine the skyscrapers and bustling traffic. Nevertheless, there’s a ton of excellent places to fly fish in Upstate New York. Stony Creek, Battenkill River, and Oatka Creek are just a handful of the best fly-fishing spots in The Empire State. 


Florida has tons of natural bodies of water – marshes, swamps, lakes, and the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Careful, though, you don’t want to run into the infamous Floridian alligator! You’ll find many fly fishers in Biscayne Bay, the Everglades, and Winter Haven Lakes. 


The Pacific Northwest – most notably Oregon – is a fantastic place to fly fish. Anglers have a ton of luck catching salmon in the rivers of southern Oregon. The best spots to fish around Oregon include Paulina Lake, the Deschutes River, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness.


If you ever make it up to Alaska, you can’t go home with first fly fishing. What makes Alaska so great? Anglers can catch tons of fish species in the state, including salmon, trout, and dolly varden. The Last Frontier’s most popular places to fly fish include the Nushagak, Aniak, and Kulik Rivers.   


Idaho is a lot of great bodies of water that you can fly fish in, especially if you’re on the hunt for trout. Where do anglers have the best luck in Idaho? Kelly Creek, the Snake River, and Silver Creek.

Tips and Tricks to Fly Fish Effectively

As previously mentioned, learning to fly fish takes time and dedication. It’s much more challenging to master the craft of fly fishing compared to bait fishing. Here are some tips and tricks to help you fly fish more effectively:

  • Start by fishing upstream in rivers.
  • Start with the basic fly cast.
  • Don’t use a bobber.
  • Look for deeper areas of water to cast your fly rod.
  • Understand how the fish behave before you start fishing.
  • Talk to the locals and ask what flies you should use. 

Final Glance

Many anglers would agree that fly fishing is more effective. Not only can you catch more fish, but you can also catch a wider variety of species. Furthermore, most people tend to have more consistent results when they go fly fishing (bad and good).

You won’t become an effective fly fisher if you don’t learn the proper casting techniques. It can take several months or longer to become confident using multiple casting techniques, so you’ll need to be patient. 

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