The Road to Being a Successful Fly Fisher

Catfishers have their favorite stink bait, crappie fishers swear by their favorite-colored jigs, bass fishers have tackle boxes loaded with every conceivable lure.

Fly fishers, well that’s a whole different world, match the hatch, balance the rod, perfect the cast, and don’t break the bank. As with all fishing, success is about comfort, confidence, failure, and most of all, time on the water.


Fly fishing equipment that is mismatched to the fisher and or the fishing can make a day on the water frustrating and miserable. The correct setup will be heavy enough or light enough to match the fly and handle the fish whether large or small. You don’t want to use a 9’- 9 wt rod to fish for bream in a creek or a 7’6”-4 wt rod to fish for large fish such as bass or carp in the open water. What action rod should you use, fast, moderate, or slow and why? Floating or sinking line, the proper size leader and tippet material? These are great questions to ask an experienced fly fisher when getting started.


Second guessing your technique or fly pattern is usually a lack of confidence and is always connected to the success you’re having with it. We all question our choices when the fish aren’t biting so it’s easy to lose focus. One way I deal with this is to learn about the fish and the fishery before I ever start my trip. What are they eating, does my fly match the size and profile of the natural bait? Am I fishing the right depth as it relates to water temp and fish activity? Is my cadence, right? Am I stripping the line in a manner that maximizes the movement of the fly? These are all small things that can be adjusted on the spot. A little bit of confidence goes a long way. Confidence = success.


Failure is the best teacher life has to offer, it broadens our view and presents us with the opportunity to improve. Fly fishing is a constant test of our mental and physical endurance, when it’s good it’s great, when we fail, we learn. Don’t be frustrated when the fish don’t bite and enjoy the act of the presentation. Failure +confidence = success.

Practice makes perfect!

Spend as much time as possible on the water, this is how you learn and stay sharp. Athletes practice every day, musicians are never satisfied with the 1st cut, and fishers experience a new set of conditions every time they get on the water. Most of all don’t forget how privileged and fortunate we are for God’s bounty. Practice + failure + confidence = success.

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Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

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Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jul. 17)

GOOD. Water Stained; 81 degrees; 0.09 feet above pool. Bass are fairly slow in the mornings, but there is a shaky head bite with yum dingers in both sizes on timber in 5-7 feet on breaklines. Best bite is Carolina rigs offshore in 15-25 feet on humps, road beds, points, all are producing. Big worms like blue fleck, tequila sunrise and plum seem to be best 10-12 inches. Crankbaits are still good over channel catfish bends deep humps and road beds. Shad patterns and chart blue back XD 6 - XD 8 are best, Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Guide Service. Black bass are chasing topwater patterns early in the day and later in the day when it is dark. Check out the brush piles as big bass are using them to feed on crappie. Bream are excellent in the shallows on wooly buggers and small poppers. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. Lake Fork crappie fishing is in full time summer pattern. Huge numbers of black crappie are loading up at the base of trees, on main lake points and lay downs. There are still good numbers of white crappie on brush piles and in trees. Focus on areas in 14-22 feet for the most fish. The bite has been finicky when fishing for schools of fish. Minnows on very small gold Aberdeen hooks and 6-8 pound test fluorocarbon line has been the go to set up. Small hand tied jigs in natural colors are also working if you swim them over and get those fish to chase and grab. Even if you see a hundred fish in a group just catch the few more aggressive fish and move on if you want to catch numbers. Larger soft plastics should still work on bigger white crappies that are solo on timber. The catfish bite is still red hot. You can load the boat fast in roosting areas that have overnight birds in the trees. We are also seeing big numbers of catfish on main lake points in 14-28 feet around timber. If you find an area with lots of bait the catfish will be close by. Bait an area with cattle cubes or sour grain to group those fish up. Then use your pre

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