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Best Dry Flies 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated February 1, 2018
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Edwin GarrettHi, I’m Edwin Garrett. After considering 28 of the most highly rated dry flies and testing eight of them for more than 13 hours, we’re find the best dry flies of 2018.

I’ll brush up on how to choose the best dry flies and examine things like materials, quality, and weight. In this section we provide our readers with a comparison table of our top picks. Scroll past the table for a closer look at each of the 3 best dry flies in our review section.

Best Dry Flies of 2018

I browse the various dry flies available on the market and list three of the very best. The rating is based on multiple factors: The 3 metrics ‐ Design, Materials, Performance, and other indicators such as: Popularity, Opinions, Brand, Reputation and more.

Not all dry flies are created equal though. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
Awards 1
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№1 – YAZHIDA 24pcs dry Fly fishing flies Set fly lure kit Hand tied flies for Trout Pike Grayling

YAZHIDA 24pcs dry Fly fishing flies Set fly lure kit Hand tied flies for Trout Pike Grayling

Carefully designed and crafted to have the authentic looks of real insect.
Each fly is of a perfect weight so it emulates natural insect’s behavior.
The material is sturdy and made to last.
We’ve been using it for 4 months and didn’t notice any flaws.

Why did this dry flies win the first place?

I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day.












№2 – Trout Fly Assortment with Waterproof Slim Fly Box – 28 Fly Fishing Flies – Dry Flies Nymph Flies Wet Flies for Fishing

Trout Fly Assortment with Waterproof Slim Fly Box - 28 Fly Fishing Flies - Dry Flies Nymph Flies Wet Flies for Fishing

GUARANTEED TO CATCH FISH – We carefully selected the most dependable and time tested trout fly patterns to make this fly assortment perfect for both the beginner and experienced fly fisherman. In fact, if you are unsuccessful with our fly assortment, we will give you a full refund.
It rusts quite easily.
Can be tedious to clean up.

Why did this dry flies come in second place?

Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.












№3 – The Fly Fishing Place Calf Tail Parachute Adams Classic Trout Dry Fly Fishing Flies – Set of 6 Flies Size 14

The Fly Fishing Place Calf Tail Parachute Adams Classic Trout Dry Fly Fishing Flies - Set of 6 Flies Size 14

One of the essential dry trout flies of all time! The bright white parachute post wing is easy to see even under low or bright light conditions.
This classic favorite dry fishing fly is perhaps one of the best mayfly and general flying aquatic insect imitations ever tied
Not the best for professionals.
The price is clearly unaffordable for the most buyers..

Why did this dry flies take third place?

I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.












Dry Flies Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy dry flies, right? No!

Pair the right equipment with a steady hand

You’ll need some basic tools to get tying. Start with the holy trinity of vice, scissors and bobbin holder.

While it’s possible to tie a fly totally by hand, we wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner. Most fly tyers choose to use a vice, and so should you. There are many types available, so do your research before you buy. As the Fly Dressers’ Guild advises: “Choosing your first vice and tools is a bit like buying your first car: very exciting, potentially expensive, but easy to end up with something poorly made and not up to the task.”

Pick a vice that’s easy to use, has a good grip and will hold a variety of hook sizes.


Next on your shopping list is a pair of sharp, pointed scissors. Those rusty old scissors in your kitchen drawer literally won’t cut it. Get yourself a dedicated pair of fly-tying scissors.

If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, Global Fly Fisher has the most comprehensive guide to fly-tying scissors you’ll ever read.

Master fly tyer Barry Ord Clarke recommends two pairs of scissors: “one with extremely fine points for the more intricate work and a pair with larger and serrated blades for deer hair and heavier work.”

Hackle pliers

Hackle pliers are useful for big fingers that can’t get a good grip on small feathers. But the Fly Dressers’ Guild warns: “Check that the edges of the jaws are not sharp or they will cut through your materials. A quick rub with emery paper or the addition of a small piece of silicone tubing will cure this problem.”

Dubbing needle

A dubbing needle performs a variety of roles. It will pick out dubbing (fur), apply varnish, undo knots and separate feather fibres. You don’t necessarily need to buy a dubbing needle if you can find something else that’s long and pointy to use instead – the Fly Dressers’ Guild recommends “Grandma’s hat pins”.

One of Hillend Dabbler’s al fresco creations

Depending on where your tying table is located you might need to shine some light on your handiwork. There are a number of fly tying lamps that give the magnification and shadow-free light you’ll need for the fiddly stuff.

General Consensus

At such a low cost, this rod simply can not be beat in this category, particularly when casting the rod feels as if it were a far more expensive model. Fenwick has brought years of experience making high quality rods into manufacturing a model that is of a high quality yet affordable on any budget.

Fly Fishing Rod Weight

Fly fishing rods from 0-weight are called ultra-light fly fishing rods. These work well for smaller creeks and streams and have extremely slow action. The mid-weight category (4-6) is used as a catch-all for most situations you will encounter while fly fishing. The heavier weight rods (7-10+) are used for steelhead trout and bass, long cast presentations, and in situations where a heavy nymph or streamer is needed to bag that prize fish!

Fly Fishing Rod Action

The action of a fly fishing rod refers to how deeply the rod will bend during your cast. Slow action rods are lighter, more flexible, bend throughout the length of the rod, and will load slowly, while fast action rods are heavier, less flexible, bend primarily in the upper section of the rod, and will load more quickly. Loading a fly rod is a concept that refers to the time it takes to feel a pull during the pause between your forward and backward cast. When you feel the slight pull, the line has straightened behind you (this is known as l oading th e rod tip), and it is possible to move into your forward stroke with less chance of a tangle and higher chance of that perfect presentation. Most 5-weight fly fishing rods will have medium to fast action.

Fly Fishing Rod Length

It is important to determine where you will be using your fly fishing rod before you chose the perfect length. While I am fishing small streams in the backcountry of King’s Canyon in California, where the brush lies heavily along the sides of the water and the trout lie waiting in slight bends or rocky pools beneath small waterfalls, a shorter rod enables me to present my fly to the fish while my cast is restricted to a shorter arc.

However, while in open area, wading along the broad Chattahoochee or Salmon in search of larger game-fish, I find I need a longer rod with fast action to power the cast with windy conditions or lengthy presentations. I would suggest choosing something in the eight to nine-and-a-half foot range if you are in the market for an all-round rod to meet all of your needs.​

A fine selection of fly rods and flies

Next up you need a fly fishing rod. Here your choice depends to a large extent on where you’re hoping to fish, what species you’re most interested in catching, and whether or not you’re likely to be travelling with your fishing rod.

Fly rod selection is a tough subject, so check out our guide to choosing the right fly fishing rod for more tips and advice.

Here’s what the guys here at Fishtec thought of it when it was launched:

Flaming fly lines

Now for your first fly line. For beginners we recommend a floating line because you’ll be able to use it for fishing both dry flies on the surface, and wet flies just under the water. The weight of your line or AFTM rating should match the rod you fish with, so make sure you look for the information written just above the handle of your rod.

Fly fishing clothing

Image source: Unaccomplished Angler Traditional fly fishing clothing

Fly fishing clothing needs to do three things: wick moisture away from your skin; hold warm, dry air close to your body; and keep the elements out. Layers are the answer, the more you have, the more clothes you can take off as it gets warmer, or put on as the temperature drops.

Putting it all together

RIO InTouch Switch Chucker

This is the ultimate “UTILITY LINE” for the angler that wants to use their switch rod for a bit of everything.  It will spey cast, do some indicator fishing at 30′ or less, and overhead cast as well.  You can use it with sink tips, polyleaders, or without any sink tip and just put a tapered leader right on the end.  It is a very versatile line thanks to a long back taper.  

TYPE OF LINE:  Integrated line (head and running line are one piece).  Can be used with or without sink tips. 

PROS – Best all around “get it done without crying” line. 

CONS – Doesn’t shoot like a shooting head/mono running line combo.  Won’t indicator fish at long distance like the RIO Switch Line.

SINK TIPS – RIO InTouch Mow Tips, or RIO InTouch iMOW polyleaders, or with nothing at all.  Fish it naked.

RIO Switch Line

The RIO Switch Line is the best all around indicator line in the family.  It is very nymphing specific, but will do a spey cast with a polyleader if you have to.  Don’t expect to look like Simon Gawesworth however.

TYPE OF LINE:  Integrated line (head and running line are one piece).  Best without any polyleader, just put you tapered leader right on the end. 

PROS – Best all around indicator line, but it can certainly be used without it as well. It can fish dry flies as well.

CONS – Doesn’t shoot like many folks are expecting it to, it has a very long head designed for managing drifts at longer range.  This is the best line for steelhead nymphing or trout nymphing on large western rivers.  

SINK TIPS – Polyleaders if you use them, good to have a couple just in case you need to throw a change up.

Airflo Switch Float

This line is specifically for fishing small to mid-sized flies and anglers that crave that beautiful long loop.  Its fun to cast, but don’t expect it to cast large flies. Its perfect for summer run steelhead fishing or swinging small flies on light lines for trout.  

TYPE OF LINE:  Integrated line (head and running line are one piece).  Best without any polyleader, and it comes with a clear floating polyleader.

PROS – Great casting line, perfect for summer steelhead fishing.  

CONS – Because the head length is 26-28′ it is tougher to throw large flies.  This isn’t necessarily a con, just a fact.  Because its an integrated line, you’ll lose some efficiency vs. a mono running line. 

OPST Lazar Line Running Line

OPST Lazar Line has a fairly round profile and doesn’t “pull through” on a non full framed reel as easily.  Pull through is when the line squeezes between the spool and reel frame.  Its annoying but part of life.  A full framed reel like the Sage DOMAIN prevents this from happening.  

Welcome to

Fly Fishilicious, your site for learning everything there is to know about fly fishing and what you need to start catching fish with a fly rod! Find product reviews, talk to the experts and get yourself acquainted with this diverse and addictive style of fishing.

Different Fishing Casts

Fly fishing, or using an artificial fly (but really meaning fly fishing uses all types of food sources: worm, little fish, infant insect- artificially recreated anything that a fish might like) to catch fish is an old fishing practice. The style as we know it began in the mid 1800s with long bamboo or wooden rods supporting a simple silk or horsehair fishing line.

Luckily, today finicky bamboo rods has been replaced (though not always) with smash-resistant graphite and fiberglass technologies and the complicated lines of tied horsehair has been replaced with waterproof plastic fibers.

What to Look For in a Fly Rod

Fly fishing is a wonderful activity and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and around the world. The versatility of fly fishing makes purchasing your first fly fishing gear an exciting and memorable experience.

When looking for a rod, many factors should be considered. Price, versatility, quality and manufactures warrant are four major things to consider when purchasing a rod.

Before worrying too much about the specs, first think about where you are most often going fishing.

Saltwater and Coastal Fishing

Saltwater rods are ready for day-in and day-out fishing stories involving the most brutal of elements: wind and salt. Designed to prevent quick wear and tear on the rod’s elements, saltwater rods are protected against saltwater corrosion.

Those fishing in brackish waters, coastal ports or inlets are also at risk to saltwater corrosion. Saltwater rods are also powerful casting rods, casting into the wind large, heavy streamers with a powerful quick stroke.

Saltwater rods start at around a or weight size, combined with both sinking and floating line for different scenarios, and can get as big as you can get to reel in a real “whale of a fish”!

How to Take Care of Your Fishing Rod

With mild soap and water, the rod and fly line can be wiped down after each use or frequently between trips. Dirt and residue build up on the fly line can corrode and damage the line, causing irregular casts and in worse case scenarios, break-offs when you have a feisty, fighting fish on the line.

For saltwater anglers, more care is needed to fight the corrosive strength of saltwater on gear. Proper washing directly after use (not a month later!) with fresh water or dish-soap water will prevent rusty guides, reels and hooks.

Check the reel seat, cork handle and guides for any unusual wear or tear before and after fishing. The tip of the rod is precarious to breaking at the worst moment or getting snagged on a tree or bush. Always handle the rod with your conscious on the entire length of the rod; you would be surprised how many rod tips have fallen victim to a closed car door or a villainous big foot!

Poorly designed rods will be difficult for the angler to cast- making even the best of pros curse like a sailor as their line tangles or their fly flops terribly onto the water.

However, when just getting into fly fishing, maybe a small investment at first is ideal before taking the plunge into top-quality gear. Beginner rods can teach all generations how to properly move the rod, back and forth into the typical fly fishing casts. Once you are hooked, a hand-me-down, well-loved rod always makes a treasured gift or priceless token.


Sage, a leader in the fly rod manufacturing world since 1980 is a top performer when it comes to casting rods and catching fish. Professionals or amateurs who pick up and cast a rod designed from Sage enjoy their easy casting ability and versatility. Proven to outcast rods of all sizes- from 00 to a 12wt, Sage fly rods have a bigger fanbase than The Beatles.

Generations of Experience

St. Croix knows fishing and what fishermen want. Building both fly and conventional fishing rods for over 7years off the shores of the St. Croix river in Wisconsin, their fly fishing combo, or fly fishing set is the best in the market.

Whether you are looking for a spare rod or are buying your first, a St. Croix fly fishing combo is an easy bet on your wallet and on the water!

Triple texture technology

If you want to get into the details, fly fishing is all about the fly line. After all, it has an intimate relationship with presenting the fly to the fish. By using fly line from Scientific Anglers, all doubts on poor fly line quality can be erased. Tough, dependable, science-infused technology from Scientific Anglers will get your flies where they need to be!

Reel and fly line included

Instead of searching for everything needed to get started, Wild Water Fishing offers the perfect setup for a new fly fishing angler. Equipt with everything you need- even down to the fly, this package is ideal for anglers fishing in medium sized rivers, lakes or ponds for trout, small carp, barbel or bass.

Also included is a fitted case for the rod and reel. Take your rod across the world or store it safely at home with their well padded carrying case.

Wild Water Fishing Complete / weight Starter Package

Equipt with everything you need- even down to the fly, this package is ideal for anglers fishing in medium sized rivers, lakes or ponds for trout, small carp, barbel or bass.

Plusinno Lightweight Ultra Fly Fishing Rod and Reel / weight 

Great for small streams

Offering a variety of rod and reel combos, a beginner fishing small streams or in lakes will find their ideal rod and reel through White River Fly Shop’s Dogwood Canyon fly fishing outfit. Starting at a two piece, weight, 7’ rod that’s ready to catch wild brook trout in the Appalachians, this rod is accurate, casts great and won’t break the bank.

For those fishing for steelhead, carp or pike, try out their weight, 9’ rod. Where quality and affordability meets, this fly rod and reel setup is it.


Another top rod from White River Fly Shop where good grip meets a lightweight, 7’10” rod. For a or weight, this rod is shortened down to 7’10” to allow easier casting, all day. Fight fishing fatigue with a shorter rod and comfortable casting design- your casting hand will thank you! Try different lines with this versatile rod- go low in lake fishing with a sinking line or cast a popper on a floating line; all types of flies and lines cast well with the The Heat, Stage Fly rod.

PLUSINNO Lightweight Ultra Portable Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Graphite

Great for Beginners

If you are interested in learning about fly fishing and  want something to pick up quickly and go with, this fly fishing package is an affordable and useful tool to begin fishing with. At a price that won’t break the bank, a 4-piece fly rod, reel, line, fly box and flies is how to quickly learn about fly fishing, the hassle-free way.

This rod will teach you how to properly ‘load’ the rod and perform a variety of casts. This rod is accurate at a variety of distances and can load a great D-cast, or roll cast to your target.

PLUSINNO Lightweight Ultra Portable Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Graphite

Beginner friendly!

Trusted as a leader in the fishing industry for many generations, Eagle Claw offers this lightweight, 6’6, two-piece fiberglass rod is perfect for teaching children or adults how to fly fish- affordably! It is truly the best deal in the fly fishing world.

Though not as quick as a typical medium-action rod, this fiberglass rod is a graceful medium-slow action rod. In addition, Eagle Claw offers a one year warranty on their rods, and stand’s by the quality of their products! At this price point, it wins the Best Discount Choice by us.


This slow action rod is a favorite among many fishermen when they just need a little rod for some easy fishing. Fishing for small panfish, saltwater bait fish, croppies or small wild trout is exciting and rewarding with a small fiberglass rod. This rod is particularly designed well through years of research and is an excellent fly rod to cast.

Fiberglass rods don’t break as quickly as their graphite counterparts, making this rod almost indestructible when fishing for small to moderate sized fish. Beyond stylish vintage feel to Echo’s 5wt fiberglass rod is a great, enjoyable rod to catch fish with!

Perfect for Trout

If you ever dreamed of owning a bamboo rod that looks great on the shelf as well as it does catching fish in your local waters, the Orvis Penn’s Creek is the perfect partner for such a dream. Balanced through hours of meticulous work, this two piece bamboo rod is ideal for throwing small dry flies on a bushy stream, river or lake.

With a comfortable ergonomic cork grip, learning the slow action to this traditional bamboo rod is a comfortable transition to casting bamboo. As a leader in rod building, Orvis stands by their rod quality and has delivered yet again another attractive bamboo rod!

Attractive Design

The beauty of a hand crafted bamboo rod shines in this series of bamboo rods offered by Orvis. As a premier rod maker in the business since the 1850s, Orvis knows a thing or two about rods- especially bamboo rods.

Before fiberglass and graphite rods, Orvis was reinventing the ‘bamboo wheel’, so to say, and the results are in their bamboo rods of today.

The Adirondack, a full flex, slow-action, 7’5” rod is ideal for casting accurate dry fly presentations in difficult fishing surroundings. At 7’5”, the Adirondack can easily cast to difficult pools or below branches- and looks darn good doing it, too.

Improved Machine Technology

Going out on the water with a Ross reel and you can never go wrong. One of the easiest reels to use, it’s large arbor and smooth drag system is reliable against a tough fish every time. Known in the fly fishing industry for their durability, Ross is at the top of the list when it comes to fly fishing reels- both in the salt or freshwater. Both easy to use and maintain, they are built to last a lifetime.

Easy to Use

Since a long time, this reel has been a favorite among light-tackle fly fishermen. Built without a drag, this lightweight reel is perfect for fighting and casting to small trout, panfish and other small freshwater fish species. Ready to send out or reel in fly line at any second, it is an affordable and dependable reel capable of all day fishing with any rod smaller than a weight.

Great Casting Control

Fishing a weight rod for trout, bass, panfish, or anything you can find in the backyard pond or lake is a delight with the Encounter, a weight 8’6” rod from Orvis. Balanced, well designed graphite gives you a lightweight rod and reel to cast without casting fatigue on an all day trip out fishing.

The Encounter reel included fits the weight of the rod perfectly; providing no errors in balance. The better balanced rod and reel combination, the easier it is to smoothly cast a rod. Also included is a top fly line by Orvis, the Clearwater, fly line backing, leader and rod carrying case.

Lightweight Rod and Reel

You can fish for days and never get tired with this combo from Redington. Redington, known for their great fishing gear offers the Path fly rod combo at a very affordable price. Set up with a balanced reel, fly line and leader, this rod is good to go as soon as it arrives on your doorstep. A 5-weight, perfect for trout, panfish and small bass fishing can be ordered in either a 8’6” length, best for windy conditions, or a foot length; ideal for nymph fishing and typical fishing conditions.

Trout Flies

I have a large range of New Zealand Trout Flies for sale, below arethe main fly categories set out by types of fly; Dry Flies, Emergers, Trout Nymphs, Lures, Streamers or Wet Flies. There are also New Zealand regional selections to help plan your trip.Our trout flies are mix of mainly Premium Quality Flies from Feather Merchants and our own brand of Guides Choice Flies. FM have long had a reputation for superior quality flies, with many patterns coming from top guides from around the country. Our trout flies are selected for their quality tying and for their fish catching ability

Where to try your luck

As breath-taking and alluring as the back country of the South Island is, it’s actually the smaller North Island streams that hold the most promise for a beginner.  “Because the hatches in the north are so spasmodic over the whole year the trout don’t get zoned into one type of food.  The north island fish aren’t that fussy, if you put a fly in front of their face they’ll eat it.  Whereas in the South Island they can just go onto a willow grub and if you don’t have anything matching then you won’t catch a thing,” explains Pete.

In terms of where you’re likely to catch a trout in the north, Pete offers a few pointers: “The spring creeks in the Waikato – like the Waihau or Waimakerere are lovely streams with lots of fish,” whispers Pete.  “People complain about them because of the number of small fish.  And there is a lot of small fish, but catching a small fish is all you need to get started,” he adds. “The likes of the Punu, Mangatutu or Waipa in the King Country are all good streams too – pretty simple with fairly easy access.  Or there’s the Tukituki river in the Hawkes Bay.  The Coromandel can also be good, either early or late in the season,”

For Aucklander’s Pete says the Waitapara is the closest wilderness stream (about an hour from the big smoke) or there’s another stream in Clevedon, just up from the Clevedon Hotel.

Like any form of fishing local knowledge is your best weapon.  When buying you licence you can pick up a free Fish and Game brochure with handy info on access points and where to fish enclosed.  Pete also recommends getting hold of a copy of either the North Island Guide or South Island Guide by John Kent for further enlightenment. 

Basic gear needed

Tapered leader – attaches to your fly line and gets thinner towards the trailing end so your fly rolls over and the line lays flat (rather than coiling up into a nasty birds nest)

Tippet – connects the tapered leader to your fly, the weight and size of which can be varied to fool unsuspecting trout into thinking that fly’s not connected to the end of your rod

Flies – a selection of flies to suit the season and location

Gehres Gink Fly Floatant – keeps your dry flies “dry” and floating

Polarised glasses – not just to see the fish but to also see where you’re going when wading too.  Sunnie’s protect your eyes from wayward flies too

Hat – A hat with a good brim helps you see better and stop the flies sticking in the back of your head

Wading boots – to protect your ankles – don’t wear your gumboots for obvious reasons

Wading stick and tungsten boot studs – for navigating rocky streams

Scissors – as biting fluorocarbon can become very expensive at your next dental check-up

Landing net- handy for landing the evidence and fishing from river banks

Dry bag – to protect your phone and keep your spare clothes dry.

Fishing licence – check out fishandgame.org.nz, doc.govt.nz or your local tackle shop

Net bag

This is the second determining factor when considering a net. Note: your dad’s or grandpa’s old net probably won’t do the trick. Why? Because nets and their bags have been upgraded during the past couple decades, with some now offering a rubber coating over nylon or string, or altogether pure rubber mesh. These are cool looking and help protect fish when they are in the net, as rubber is much less abrasive than string or nylon. A fish’s slime is their protection from diseases, so a net bag that is rough, like the old-school green, nylon knotted ones you see for a couple bucks at a general store, can remove this protective layer from fish and potentially harm them. I would steer you away from these nylon nets if you practice catch-and-release. Rubber nets have a drawback as well—rubber net bags are pretty heavy depending on how deep the net is. A deeper bag holds larger fish so you’ll have to consider where you plan to fish and what you plant to fish for when making your decision. If you are after small stream trout, a lightweight, shallow bag should suffice. However, if you are fishing the big tailwaters for big trout, or doubling up on steelhead, salmon and stillwater trout, you may need a deeper bag. Some net bags have built-in measuring tapes, so you can actually tell the truth for once. Some come with a zipper built into the top, so when it comes time to replace the bag, it merely zips off and you zip on a replacement. Pretty handy.

A fish in a net is much easier to work on—i.e. removing hooks—than one that is being held or resting in the shallows near shore. A synthetic frame net with a rubber bag, like Fishpond’s Nomad (shown here), minimizes damage.

Man, there are some amazing hand-built nets out there, made by some incredible craftsmen and craftswomen. They are constructed from all kinds of exotic woods with laminated inlays of different materials. I have one, and it gets on the water with me here and there. But I am always leery about beating it up, so I usually take one of my other nets. I prefer a lightweight frame when walking, wading, and backpacking. However, in the boat I keep a net that is pretty rugged, a bit heavier and more durable. I don’t mind that it is heavier because I’m in my boat and not carrying it. But, as a general rule I think the lighter the better when it comes to choosing a net. Why? Well, when you actually net a fish, the speed with which you can push the net into the water can be determined by the physical weight of the net frame and bag. I spent high school summers in Southeast, Alaska as a deckhand on a charter boat, fishing for halibut and salmon. For the salmon, we had really big long-handled nets. These were problematic because the large net bag would slow the speed we could plunge the net into the water. So my skipper showed me a cool trick to help with this. He tied a piece of parachute cord to the back of the net bag, which was long enough to reach the handle. So you would use the string to pull back the net bag making it much easier to jab into the water. As soon as you got your fish into the net, you released the cord to allow the net bag to come to full size. The mostly solved the problem but again, lighter is better when choosing a net. Another option is a collapsible net that fits into a tube for easy transport through the woods.

Vice construction

The vice should be solid and of good build quality. Material used varies from cheaper cast or mild steel and composite plastics through to quality stainless steel and machine cut alloy. Stainless steel is best for the main body of the vice.

Trim bag

Off cuts of fur, feather, thread, wire and tinsel can quickly accumulate on your work top, or drop on the carpet where they’ll stubbornly remain despite your best efforts with a vacuum cleaner. Attach a trim bag to your vice stem and deposit all the rubbish into this before emptying into the bin at the end of the day.



Fly tying materials a short review on what to buy at the beginning…

At the very beginning we’re always facing a dilemma of buying proper fly tying materials. One can be easily discouraged and lost among the vast range of different products; especially when lacking experience. I often get messages from people who simply don’t know which materials should they choose.

Fly hooks

We should start from choosing appropriate hooks. As most of you already know, there are divided into two types: barbed and barbless.

If we are going to fish on fisheries, fishing districts or take part in competitions where barbless hooks are required then I suggest to buy them. When you get familiar with towing fish not too loosely there is almost no difference in the number of loosing fish off the hook. Such hooks have one very important virtue – both for me and the fish – namely, getting the fish off the hook is quick and it doesn’t damage the fish as in the case of the barbed hooks. When we have a small fish hooked, we simply loose the fishing set and this is often enough for the fish to get off the hook by itself. This way is even more pleasant for the fish, since we don’t have to take it from water; it’s as simple as grabbing the hook and turning it without even touching the fish. if you have a bigger budget, it is good to buy 8/0 olive, grey and white (or at least equally bright colour) for dry flies and extremely small flies (not only dry) UNI Trico 17/0 and the

Hackle materials

Definitely most of the fly-tiers use two types of feathers to tie hackles; these are: for dry flies – cock capes and for wet flies, nymphs and streamers – hen capes. However there are also many feathers from different bird parts that many people omit.

Dry flies

The differences are significant. Cock/rooster feathers are stiffer and not lined with down what makes them resistant to soaking and allows them to stay on surface for longer. Of course they also imitate legs of the fly.

Here I recommend using neck capes (wider variety of feather sizes – including even the smallest ones used for tying midge dry flies) and saddle capes (lesser variety of sizes but very efficient). Such feathers are much longer and consist of more regular barbs than their cheap Indian equivalents.

A grizzly colour cock from Howard Hackle genetic bird farm – the photo provided by John Howard

As a comparison; we can tie only one hackle from one Indian cape (to make the hackle along the whole body – a so-called palmer – we often have to use more than one feather), however using a feather from genetic cock’s saddle we can make even ten hackles/palmers (the length of such a feather is at least 20 cm or even more).

Obviously the caps’ and feathers’ quality depends on the price.


We simply buy dubbing – when needed – and in time it may change into a collection. Each time I’m buying dubbing I choose something new, since there are differences between particular kinds of dubbing. As the variety of products is huge I suggest buying:* rabbit, hare dubbing (it’s good to buy hare in it’s natural colours: grey, olive, brown, etc.) and squirrel * several colours of some glossy synthetic, for example Hareline Ice Dub or other synthetic to tie colourful accents near the head of a nymph (thorax). * It’s also good to have a few dubbing colours for tying scuds. Obviously you can tie these imitations using most kinds of dubbings, however from my own experience I can recommend the dubbings, which are specially mixed since they guarantee the best results. are used for various fly patterns, in particular for nymphs. In principle, they are divided into three types: made of brass filled with lead, made of tungsten (almost twice heavier and more expensive – often, however, indispensable) and light, made of plastic used for under surface imitations.

Eyes can be divided into two types: the ones which can be tied and the ones which can be sticked.

The first type is used mainly for tying small sized streamers or for larger nymphs larvae, for example stoneflies. Here, we can distinguish these which are moulded, for example Twin Eyes (heavy) and eyes in the form of an empty, metal chain – Bead Chain Eyes (light), which need to be cut down in pairs using clippers/pliers and then tied. Personally, since many years, I have preferred the light ones and I’ve used them for most of the streamer patterns. It doesn’t mean however that I don’t use the heavy ones at all. They cause the fly to sink faster while fishing on the vast waters in spring.

The second type of eyes look very realistic and may be used for tying all types of streamers – for fresh and salt waters. These eyes are sold in small sheets and even though they have glue attached to their inner side, it is very weak and they need to be sticked with additional amount of quick-drying glue, epoxy or transparent varnish in order to strengthen them up.

A few years ago these were mainly

Body Stretches and different home-made materials. Recently we may choose various shiny foils (including pearl foils) – which I advice not to omit – braided materials of shining properties and many more. Every nymph-tier should have them in his or her arsenal, since nymphs tied from these materials are very efficient.

In the beginning, I recommend buying the traditional Body Stretch in a few basic colours and the pearl foil, which can be cut down to any size; next, I encourage to try with some other materials since these are also effective.


We can use these materials to tie whole wings, tails and also their additives. It mainly applies to tying streamers, however flashes are also used to tie ribs in smaller flies: dry, wet and nymphs.

In the beginning I recommend buying Krystal Flash and Flashabou, pearl colour for first.

Artificial tails for dry flies – in my opinion these are excellent materials in comparison to traditionally tied tails consisting of feather barbs.

Flies tied with floating foams are very popular in America, however if you’d like to have a few imitations of beetles, grasshoppers, ants and other similar bugs (excellent lures for chubs, ides, trouts). I recommend buying several sheets in a few basic colours, beginning with black, green, yellow.

Tinsels and wires

Tinsels are another basic and interesting fly tying material, which in many patterns can make the difference. Components or even whole elements – such as bodies – significantly increase effectiveness of the tied flies.

Particularly in the last several years, many interesting tinsels has appeared varying in colours (pearl and mylar are especially worth-checking – UNI Mylar is also available in two-colour version so when buying one we actually have two) and sizes so that they can be used for bigger streamers and small wet flies or nymphs.

Of course, gold and silver are the standard tinsel colours and I recommend buying them in the first place.

Wires belong to the next group of materials, which – in my opinion – is even more important than tinsels. If we’re going to tie nymphs, we should use a lead wire as the base for most of the patterns – we begin by winding it around the hook. The lead wire makes our fly heavier and in order to achieve the proper weight we need tho have several types of wires in our inventory – each of different thickness. From 0,4mm to 0,8mm; of course there are also thicker types, however this range should be enough to deal with most of the cases.

Except of lead wires we also have traditional wires in different colours and diameters. They are used to strengthen and segment the bodies of different kinds of flies, attaching fur stripes to zonkers’ back or even whole bodies of nymphs and wet flies. The three basic colours are: gold, silver and copper – it’s good to have them in the beginning. In time there will be infinite room to manoeuvre with additional colours.

How to Choose a Fly Rod

For the beginning fly fisherman, especially those looking to catch trout, that rod will likely be a 9-foot, 5-weight, medium-flex rod. This is a universal size, and I have caught everything from wild trout to carp out of a drainage ditch. That being said, if you already own a rod or two and are looking for something for your first trip to Alaska or the Keys, getting outfitted with the correct, specialized rod will make a trip a lifetime that much better.

Fly rods are rated by weight. The weight indicates the size of fishing line that matches the rod. Generally you can line up or down by one size, which is why a 5wt is the best universal size for a trout rod. Most people think about fish species when it comes to choosing a weight and while that works just fine, I would also encourage you to think about the size of fly you are going to be throwing, and the intended use of the rod. Even though trout on the Provo River run a little small, I use a 5wt rod to help turn over the strike indicator, split shot, and multiple flies I’m often using. If I am headed north to Idaho to throw small dry flies at large, selective trout, I will have my 4wt in hand. As a general rule on rod weights:

6-8:  bass, carp, light steelhead, salmon. and saltwater

Rod Features

There are other features to a rod that might make it the best choice for you.

Number of pieces: These days most rods come in two or four pieces. Four-piece rods are becoming the standard as they are easy to pack and travel with.

Materials: If you are a saltwater angler you will want to make sure you are looking at a rod with guides and reel seats that will not corrode in the saltwater environment. Many rod makers offer saltwater-specific rods featuring anodized aluminum or other salt-water-friendly materials. Most rods these days are composed of a graphite compound, although fiberglass has been making a comeback in recent years. Fiberglass is very soft and well suited for light delicate presentations, small streams, and smaller fish.

Day One

While the Upper Delaware is well known for its excellent dry-fly fishing, my first day on the river was not a dry-fly day. Windy weather, snow squalls and unseasonably cold temperatures kept the bugs down, but made the fish receptive to larger offerings, like the weighted saltwater-sized streamers Demalderis had tied on the end of my leader as we packed up the boat.

Along with the rich insect life in the Upper Delaware, there is also a buffet of baitfish species. According to DeMalderis, shiners, alewives, small eels and gizzard shad are all on the menu of the Upper Delaware trout. To imitate these baitfish, he goes with Zonkers and Wooly Buggers in white, black and root beer. Though the trout are quick to disprove any theories of which colors work best in which conditions, a general rule is that in stained water, dark colors work best, while in bright conditions, light colors draw more strikes.

We launched the driftboat on the main stem of the Delaware under thick cloud cover. Though it was nearly May, I wore two layers under my neoprene jacket and could still feel the chill. I took the forward casting position on the driftboat, while my friend Joe Cermele casted from the back of the boat. Demalderis manned the oars, slowing our drift downriver and sliding the boat into prime casting positions near some of the river’s fishiest runs.

Day Two

The following day, the clouds broke and the bugs were dancing by the time Cermele and I launched his Outcast Fish Cat, a two-man pontoon, on the East Branch. The emerging bugs had brought out the swallows, and the small, iridescent birds flitted just over the river, pointing to the densest concentrations of insects like gulls point to a bluefish blitz.

The wild Delaware river brown trout are a striking combination of gold, blue, brown and black.

I had never fished dry flies before, at least not for more than a few experimental casts, and was about to be introduced to the challenges of catching trout on the surface. First, casting accuracy is essential. In the faster-moving water, trout would rise in the same spot over and over again, leaving a ring on the surface that would function as the casting target. “Matching the hatch” is also of great importance. While a streamer-charging brown trout isn’t going to scrutinize a big baitfish imitation being stripped along the bottom, a surface-sipping trout is going to look long and hard at a dry fly before eating — especially if there are lots of real flies on the water. DeMalderis stresses the importance of matching the size and silhouette of the hatching flies. Equally important is maintaining a natural, drag-free drift as the fly moves downriver.

Challenges aside, watching a trout rise to your fly is the height of trout fishing—by some accounts, all of fishing — and there is no river in the Northeast with trout, especially large trout, as willing to come to the surface as those in the Upper Delaware.

Despite all the bug activity, it was nearly noon before we found rising trout. The fish were likely shaking off the previous day’s cold snap, and as the weather warmed, the trout began to eat, heavily. What started as a handful of rises at midday turned into a full-on feed by the time we reached our take-out at the slow-water section known as Lake Lenore.

A mixture of blue wing olives, caddis flies and march browns filled the air around us as we drifted downriver. When the trout have a variety of flies to choose from, DeMalderis has noticed the darker-colored ones are the first to be eaten, presumably because they are easier for the trout to see. Therefore, when selecting a pattern, DeMalderis opts to match the darker flies.

Cermele and I switched between large and small patterns, mimicking the larger march browns and the smaller blue wing olives. Cermele connected first, dropping his pattern into the feeding lane of an 18-inch brown that, after a spirited struggle, absconded with the barbless fly. Joe would hook up twice more before I had my first take.

Upper Delaware brown trout average about 1inches long, with plenty of 20-plus-inchers in the mix. Fish in excess of 2inches are a definite possibility, even on dry flies.

I’d been watching one trout for a few minutes while Cermele got the raft into position. This fish was coming up every 30 seconds or so, swiping one of the small fluttering insects from the surface. My first few casts came up short, but once I smoothed out my casting stroke, I got the distance necessary to put the fly in front of the fish. I flipped a small mend into the line, and as I watched the fly drift, I knew the fish would eat.

When the fly moved into the trout’s established feeding zone, there was no deliberate take as I’d seen with Cermele’s fish. There was a flash and the water exploded as the trout took the fly and darted back to the cover. I set the hook with zeal and immediately parted the leader.

That was my only chance of the day, but as we approached the take out, a brown trout as long as my forearm gave my fly a painfully long look before rejecting it. The fish was so close to the fly that the elk hair of the caddis imitation must have been tickling its nose.

Hackle and Feathers

For wooly buggers, they require a slightly different long hackle. Luckily, Whiting makes a wooly bugger hackle pack. I’d recommend black to start, and grizzly olive to start. Along with these, get yourself some black or olive marabou feathers which make up the bushy and fluffy tail of the fly (they are used to make those feather boa’s).

Hungarian partridge feathers are a useful and cheap feather to use for everything. Make collars on nymphs and emergers, to use for tails and wings on dries. Once you master using them, you can do quite a lot.


Chenille remind me of the garland you put on a Christmas tree. They are a very useful material to make bodies and eggs with and beef up a fly. Buy a set in black and olive color for your wooly’s and expand from there. If you plan to fish for salmon or steelies, buy a red, orange, or peach color to tie eggs (very easy pattern).





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Dry Flies wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Dry Flies



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