Fly fishing is a specialized sport that combines well with those who love exploring remote lakes, rivers and streams. Because fish are attracted to the surface of the water, successful fly fishermen and women can snag sizeable catches even in relatively shallow streams. To find the best fishing spots, a little hiking is worth the effort since remote lakes, brooks and creeks can be delightful places for a peaceful and secluded fishing trip.
How To Fly Fish In the Backcountry
Figuring out how to fish in the backcountry takes some practice, and it’s best to go with a companion whenever straying off the beaten path—but this type of fishing is especially rewarding since the territory you find becomes your own private fishing hole or, more likely, peaceful break from the hustle and bustle. We’ve got some tips to keep you safe on your angler adventure.
1. Prepare, plan and communicate.
In any hike into the backcountry, always take necessary survival gear—especially if going alone. This includes sufficient water, even if you are hiking to a known water source. A topographical map and compass are both necessary. Think through how long it will take to reach the river or stream you’ve identified on your topo map, and the likely water levels based on climate conditions and winter run-off. The web is full of lists about what gear to take when trekking into the wilderness, but always tell someone where you plan to go (or at least where you plan to park) and your timeframe for returning. Discovering how to fish in the backcountry means perfecting the art of getting lost, at times. Even if you are planning on driving and hiking the last few hundred feet, always tell someone where you are heading
2. Start small.
Choose territory in your comfort zone while you are still practicing how to fish in the backcountry. You may not need to hike long distances into rough wilderness to find that perfect stream. As you become more comfortable with fly fishing as well as the gear and the conditions necessary for success, your confidence in long hikes and seeking out less crowded areas will increase. In other words, a little backcountry goes a long way.
3. Take necessary, and extra, fishing gear.
Once you’ve determined where to go and made a plan about how to get there, you’ll need to bring a variety of flies that are right for the conditions. Since you are carrying everything, and can’t always predict the exact fly you’ll need, take a variety. In streams and brooks dry flies are a must, but if your destination is a remote lake you will want to carry both wet and dry flies. Take extra fly lines, leaders and essential gear so you don’t find yourself lacking in the basics.
When you reach your stream or lake your first goal is to observe how and where the fish are feeding. Take some time to figure out the best spot to set up— even if it means a little more hiking. Learning how to fish in the backcountry requires adapting to fresh territory. Look for river banks, runs toward pools of water, boulders and other large obstructions like trees, and breaks or seams in the current. These are the places fish are often hiding.
5. Mark your spot.
If you have a successful day, make a note on your topo map of the location and take notes on the day, season, conditions, and what you caught. If you love fly fishing, you are likely to visit dozens of spots and you’ll want to recall the areas where you found success.