They show it in movies all the time: a single person standing in the river–solitary and at one with nature. It seems like a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, thigh-deep in gently-flowing water fishing for trout, but many first-time fly fishermen might be scared off. If you’ve ever experienced the allure of a good lure and think that fly fishing might be good for you, check out our “reel” good fly fishing tips below.

Find a Good Instructor

If you don’t have a good friend or family member who doubles as a good teacher, book a session with a guide or coach to get you started. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chat with other fly fishing enthusiasts, share advice and ideas, or join message boards and follow fly fishing blogs. Fly fishing isn’t a hobby you want to try and teach yourself!

To begin, practice your casts on land to get the feel for how the line and your flies move. Try using a fly with the point nipped off to avoid catching trees and obstacles. Then, graduate to still waters like ponds and shallow lakes. A fast-moving river (like the Mississippi) can be intimidating for a beginner. 

Learn the Rules

Unlike typical fishing regulations, fly fishing rules and regulations can sometimes differ, especially when you fish for different species, like trout. Fisheries and stocked lakes are great places to hone your fly-fishing skills, but they also have their own set of rules. (In most cases, for example, you will also have to pay a day or season ticket from the fishery owner or local club.) Check these rules carefully.

Learn the Basics

Many fishermen love fly fishing over traditional fishing because of the intricacies involved. There are tons of flies you can create, casts to learn, knots, etc. get familiar with the basic knots (like the half-blood knot and the overhand loop knot) and casting methods 

Get the Right Gear

Die-hard fishermen can spend a pretty penny on their gear. As you first start, go for a reliable beginner’s outfit and work your way up. says that all a beginner needs to get started are a reliable rod, reel, and fly line.  

It’s also a good idea to invest in a quality pair of sunglasses. Not only will this protect your eyes, but it also reduces the glare of the water, making it easier to spot fish.

Traveler’s Country Club on the Mississippi is home to some fantastic fishing spots. Learn more about what you can catch from our stretch of the river on our blog.