Fly Fishing for Trout - What Fly?

In our experience at ArdMoor, picking up our fishing rods and changing flies at the side of the river is often a great excuse to talk about types of fly with fellow anglers. Questions abound. What type of fly did you catch that on? What type of fly should I be using? What are the fish taking today? Usually the answers are quite simple. We might reel off a couple of different flies that we have tried on that particular day and the effect that the flies have had on our ability to catch. As a start, we think it’s always good to know what you’re fishing for. So for this guide on flies, we look at just a few fly options for trout.

Brown Trout is a beautiful fish that can be caught in many locations all over the world. You can catch trout in both large lakes and small rivers and, depending on the location where you catch your brown trout, it may display different colours. Look out for a brown back with yellowish flanks and black and red dots in small rivers or silver with no spots. In larger rivers, you might find a darker brown trout with too many spots to count. If you are looking for a fly to catch brown trout, ask your ghillie for a Polywinged Midge, Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wulff, Flashback Nymph or Sparkle Dun.

Sea trout is very similar to brown trout and is often found in coastal salt waters and fresh water lakes. Sea trout can also grow very large – well into double-digit weight. This fish is usually silver and features a brown coloured back with speckled black spots sporadically appearing over the body. For flies, try a Daddy Long Legs, Hare’s Ear Nymph, Silver Butcher, Stoat’s Tail or Black Pennell fly.

Rainbow Trout is commonly fished and can be found all over the world. Varying in size and weight, the rainbow trout gets its name from the colouring of its body. You can find rainbow trout with greenish black streaks alongside a pink coloured stripe that runs across the whole body of the fish. Rainbow trout can be fished on numerous flies. Here are five, handpicked from a list as long as our arm: Blue-Winged Olive, Detached Body Mayfly, Elk Hair Emerger, Highland Dun or a Teeny Nymph fly.

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In summary, the answer to the question, ‘What fly should I be using?’ has a great deal to do with the environment in which you are fishing and what you’re fishing. Our handy infographic below highlights 5 flies to try when fishing sea, brown and rainbow trout.

Why not share this guide and graphic with other anglers so that they can try a new fly for fishing trout?

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