Fly Fishing for Beginners

February 2, 2009 by  

By Doug Leier

Fly fishing is very easy on your wallet to get into the action

Fly fishing is very easy on your wallet to get into the action

At this stage in my life I feel satisfied with what I’ve bagged, tagged and caught, including deer, birds and a few lunker fish. A 40-inch pike is a favorite memory because of the light rod and tackle I was using and my struggle to boat the fish. It was a classic case of several events that led up to the actual landing of the fish that created the trophy experience.

I’ve hunted antelope in western North Dakota and fought trophy catfish in the murky Red River. I’ve hunted ruffed grouse in the Turtle Mountains and speared pike in what was nothing more than a flooded slough.

But more remains on my list of outdoor things to do. Much of which will wait until my young family is ready to join me on the more involved hunting endeavors like dragging in a paddlefish, moose hunting and getting into fly-fishing.

I’ve never done much fly-fishing. I did land a golden trout on a fly-rod in Colorado years ago, but in my mind it doesn’t really count. I was with an old family friend and catching the fish was more of a fluke because I had not poured my heart and soul into learning the ropes of fly-fishing.

I still haven’t, and so I’ll put fly-fishing – and bow hunting, too – into the category of things I’ll do when the kids grow older and I’m more able to allocate the proper attention to these more involved outdoor activities.

You see, I would feel guilty not being able to give either their proper and necessary attention to detail.

But that shouldn’t stop others from enjoying fly-fishing in North Dakota. While we don’t have pristine mountain streams, trout are caught in North Dakota rivers and lakes and an ever-growing number of people are taking up fly-fishing for other species as well.

There are many clinics around the country that will teach you fly fishing for free

There are many clinics around the country that will teach you fly fishing for free

Nick Simonson, Valley City, is among the prairie fly-fishing faithful. His reason for giving fly-fishing a try is similar to many: “I got into fly-fishing a couple years ago, it was another challenge for me and part of the draw was just to try something different,” he said. “It’s also the connection between angler, line, lure and hook. All the equipment is so light, it’s almost like the action (of the fish on the hook) becomes part of you.”

Nick is also one of those fly anglers that ties his own flies and knows what to do and where to go.

“There’s really no limit to what you can catch on a fly rod, even in North Dakota,” he said. “Everything is game, from smallmouth bass on the Sheyenne to pike on Devils Lake, you can catch just about anything on a fly-rod”

Simonson also relates that getting into fly-fishing can be as economical as you want to make it. In other words, no need to spend thousands of dollars, unless of course you want to.

For around $100, Simonson stated, you can get basic a fly rod and reel combination.You’ll want to start off with a rod of maybe a 5 or 6 weight.

“Add about $30 for an array of flies including a pheasant tail nymph, Adams fly, royal wolf, damsel fly and wooly bugger, and you’re set to go,” Simonson said.

Like many outdoor activities, Simonson says you can put as much time and energy into fly-fishing as you’d like. One need not tie their own flies to enter the foray.

So if you’re tired of the same old way of catching the same old fish, you might give fly-fishing a try. For this angler, it will remain on my list of things to do.

That’s just one of the reasons the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is funding a study designed to learn more about the long-billed curlew. It’s all part of the bigger picture made possible by the federal State Wildlife Grants or SWG program. In a state such as North Dakota, where funding for projects related to nonhunted species is extremely limited, SWG is a significant contributor to the future welfare of some nongam species.

Understand that curlews are not hunted or actively managed by the Game and Fish Department. But it’s still important to know the curlew’s historic range and a population estimate so as to more accurately gauge future long-billed curlew trends.

I’d venture to guess most citizens will never see a long-billed curlew, and even if they do, they may not even realize its significance. The SWG program, however, is giving us a better assessment of the health, population and status of a variety of species with which we may not be familiar, but are still a part of the prairies that we all call home.


One Comment on "Fly Fishing for Beginners"

  1. troutbugger on Wed, 24th Mar 2010 11:08 pm 

    I am involved with the Project Healing Waters which is offered at the Zeblocki Veterans Hospital here in Milwaukee Wisconsin.The program is designed to help disabled Veterans with the healing process. I have been a member for some time. We learn to tie various fly patterns, and go out on field trips to use the fly’s that we have tied. Your site is a big help for beginers like myself. I recently purchased a rod/reel combo and used a couple of the patterns that I have learned and caught my first steel head on one. It is sites like yours that is a big help for beginers like myself to proceed with this activity. Thank you. Your egg pattern is really efective. Thank you.

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