By Kirk Deeter
I've long thought that the key to successful fly fishing (especially for beginners) is to keep this game simple. As such, I think you can break this sport into four key elements that deserve 90 percent of your concentration: 1) making the cast, 2) reading the water, 3) picking the right fly, and then 4) making that fly behave perfectly after it hits the water ("presentation").
Truth is, you don't need to be a scientist to figure out three of those four things (numbers 1, 2, and 4). The cast is simpler than we make it out to be. Sure, it takes practice to make perfect loops that cover 80 feet or more, but you really only need a solid, accurate flip cast that travels 30 feet to get into the trout game. Reading water... if you remember that trout like structure and transitions in currents and depths, you're going to find many fish. And as for presentation, just make your bug look like, well... a bug. Avoid drag and unnatural movements, and the fish will be fooled.
But if you're like me, number 3 can be a test. The difference between the contenders and the pretenders in fly fishing is the ability to figure out "what's on the menu," often times in a matter of minutes when the snouts start popping above the surface.
Don't worry... we've called in reinforcements to help. Entomologist Robert Younghanz has agreed to be FlyTalk's resident bug guy. He'll offer tips and tricks for matching the hatch throughout the seasons. Having just been socked by a spring snowstorm in the Rockies today... we think this nugget of wisdom on "pre-runoff" bug selection is perfect. But don't be shy in asking Robert other buggy questions related to different regions and seasons in the comment thread below. I've yet to see Robert stumped...
Here's what Robert has to say for starters: