Fly Fishing Terms You Need to Know

In the world of fly fishing there are many words that are important to know. Many of these words are unusual or have a different meaning when used in reference to fly fishing. The following list includes some of the more unusual and double meaning words used by fly fishermen.

Action: a general term often used to try to describe the feel of the rod – such as soft, hard, slow, or fast.

Attractor: usually a bright colored fly that is not usually tied so that it imitates a particular type of food.

Belly: the sagging portion of a fly fishing line.

Blank: a rod without a handle, reel seat, or guides.

Blood Knot: the common name for a barrel knot.

Chalk Stream: a stream, usually found in valleys, that is spring fed and slow moving with a lot of vegetation.

Complex Hatch: the simultaneous hatching of several types of species of insects.

Compound Hatch: the masking, or hiding, of a hatch of smaller insects by a hatch of larger insects that occurs on the same day.

Cutthroat Trout: a true trout that is found mostly in the western part of the United States.

Dapping: a fly fishing technique in which the fly is repeatedly bounced on and off of the surface of the water.

Down Eye Hook: a hook that has the eye bent below the shaft.

Dropper: the secondary fly that is attached to the leader in a cast of flies.

Emerger: a term that is used to describe any insect that moves up towards the water’s surface preparing to hatch into the adult stage.

Feeding Lie: where a trout goes in order to actively feed.

Flat-butt Leader: a fly used in fly fishing where the butt section is formed into a ribbon shape.

Freestone Streams: fast moving, tumbling streams with rock covered bottoms.

French Snap: a small clamp, often used by a fly fisherman to attach his net to his vest.

Holding Lie: where a trout generally remains when not actively feeding.

Leisenring Lift: a technique used in nymph fly fishing where the line is lifted, causing the imitation fly to move upwards, right in front of the trout’s suspected lie.

Midge Rod: a short, light weight rod.

Natural – a living insect, as opposed to an artificial, or man-made, insect or fly.

Nymphing: any oaf the various fishing techniques in which the fly fisherman presents an imitation of the underwater stage of an insect.

Presentation: the method of placing a fly where the fish is most likely to see it; includes the manner in which the cast in completed and the method in which the fly is fished.

Rise: the act of the fish taking an insect from the water’s surface.

Run: a term used to describe a particular stretch of moving water.

Shooting: a casting technique.

Spate: high water.

Stripping: quickly retrieving line or pulling line from the reel.

Terrestrial: of or relating to an insect whose life cycle is completely spent on land or in plants.

Waders staff: a sturdy rod about as high as the armpit of the person fly fishing used for support in heavy water.

There are many words and terms that are unfamiliar to most people but not to those who enjoy fly fishing.

If you’re interested in fly fishing, here’s a resource you won’t want to be without. Learn the art and craft of fly fishing, and catching the big ones that all anglers dream about! Visit this page for more information at

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Leave a Comment