4 fun & easy ways to become a better fly angler this season

Game changers

Improve your angling skills by mixing up your approach


A little fly-fishing success can be a dangerous thing, especially for beginners as they start developing some skills. It tricks you into thinking the way you caught that fish is the only way to do it. For example, there’s a run I’ve fished for many years where I could pretty reliably catch a trout or two by simply swinging a wet fly. So naturally, that’s all I ever did.

The last time I fished that pool, however, I decided to mix things up. I tied on a 2½-inch-long streamer, threw it upstream and retrieved it with an aggressive drift-jig motion. Amazingly, it was clobbered by one of the biggest brown trout I’ve ever pulled out of that river. I was delighted, of course, but I also thought about the many fish I could have caught there over the years if I hadn’t had such tunnel vision. It was a vivid reminder of just how varied and rich fly fishing can be, provided we open our eyes to see it.

Associate editor Scott Gardner is always game to try something new.



I fish with spinning gear as well, and many lessons from that world have also improved my fly fishing. The truth is, conventional anglers are way ahead of fly flingers in some areas. This is especially so when it comes to stillwater fishing techniques, such as the use of electronics, not to mention boats. That’s why I never look down on hardware anglers. Instead, I look over their shoulders.

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