In fly fishing, flies are generally divided into four types of artificial flies. (Flies are also called lures in some countries.)
1 Dry flies
2 Wet flies
The categories of flies can cross into each other. There are no real strict guidelines for classifying the flies as depending on the countries, traditions of terminology. (Some anglers also classify emerges as another category of flies. These sit partially underneath the surface and partially on top of the water, imitating things like newly emerging mayflies.)
Dry flies sit on the top of the water. They imitate insects sitting on the surface like mayflies, midges, caddis flies, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders and spinners to name a few types. They can be fished still, drifting with the current or wind, or fished with small twitches or rapid pulls. Using dry flies can be exhilarating experience as you can see the fish strike the fly. Dries are used seasonally in lakes and rivers and are generally effective when fish are actively feeding on insects on top of the water. Dry flies are normally made of light buoyant materials or are tied with hackles that help the fly sit on the water surface. A floatant spray or gel is applied to the dry fly to make it buoyant. A couple of false casts will also help dry it.
Wet flies as the name suggest that the fly is fished in the water, either. The flies can imitate small baitfish, leeches, frogs, crawdad’s and swimming insects. Wets can be fished just under the surface with dead drifts, slow twitches up to fast retrieves. Some times a take will occur as the fly is sinking. For getting wets deep down, weighted or bead heads are effective, especially when combined with intermediate or sinking fly lines.
Nymphs are a very effective and a common world wide food source in rivers and lakes. Nymphs can be fished on the drop, drifting, and slow to medium retrieves, either just under the surface or deep down. They imitate the underwater stage of insects like mayfly nymphs, stoneflies and damselfly nymphs. A good portion of a trout’s diet consists of nymphs in most seasons and waters. A long leader and tippet is effective for nymphing, especially in clear or over fished waters.
Streamers are bigger wet flies imitating baitfish like minnows, sculpins and bigger appetizing food. Streamers usually work best near the bottom and are generally quickly retrieved for salmon, bigger trout and also for saltwater fish. Bigger flies like streamers, may also result in a bigger catch, although don’t be surprised when your four inch streamer lands a small twelve inch trout. Artificial streamers can be colorful and have a mixture of assorted fly tying materials.
Dry flies, wets, nymphs and streamers are all effective in the right environment. The secret to getting the most out your fishing is to use different techniques and test all the time. Don’t be afraid to try different types of flies and patterns, especially if the fishing is slow. So no matter what country you live in and regardless of how you classify your flies, just make sure you have various types of flies to cover all fly fishing conditions and fish. Now you are ready to catch the big one!
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