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We Couldn’t stop at just flies. now carrying everything but the fish!

Trout Flies for Fly Fishing

With the vast array of trout flies for fly fishing, how does one know where to begin?  The easiest

thing to do is to simplify things and make them simple.  Spare the Latin names of bugs for the

entomologists of the world, here is simple guide to various trout flies for fly fishing, broken down into

five trout fly categories.  That's how we like to do it at The Fly Stop, lots of options but keep it simple.

Let’s start where the bugs begin, nymphs.  Nymphs are simply the subsurface form of aquatic

insects.  Technically some species such as caddis do not have nymphs, they have larva and pupa, but

let’s keep is simple.  When you are fishing any sort of nymph from stonefly to mayfly you are fishing the

pattern below the surface.  As nymphs mature in age and prepare to hatch we transition into the next


The next stage in the life cycle are where your emerger and wet fly patterns come into play as  

trout flies for fly fishing.  These patterns represent the transition stage of a nymph hatching into a dry fly

or dun.  As this happens the nymphs raise up in the water column, to the water’s surface where they

split their nymphal shuck and emerge.  The emerger and wet fly patterns represent this transitional

stage where flies are rising in the water column from the bottom as the nymph to the top as a dun.

Next up is the dun or dry fly.  This is what we all think about when we think of fly fishing.  This is

where you visions of sipping trout come into play.  When fishing dry fly patterns you are fishing the

adult stage of the insect.  Duns emerge from their nymphal shuck and float on the surface of the water

waiting for their wings to dry.   As soon as capable of flight the dun will fly to the bank, seeking safety

away from the trout.

After emerging the duns became spinners and are sexual mature.  Their lives are short lived, and

within a few days they mate, deposit their eggs, and lie “spent” or dead on the water’s surface after the

mating ritual is over.  The spinner is similar to the dry as the fish are once again targeting the easy meal.  

This is a second chance at a dry fly opportunity.  

Another group of trout flies for fly fishing are streamers.  Streamers are designed to represent

Baitfish, Crayfish, Leeches, etc.   Moving away from the bug imitation of things, streamer patterns are

often tied very big to target larger and more mature trout.  This is not always the case, as streamers can

catch a trout of any size, especially in smaller sizes, but often the biggest trout in the river are caught on

streamer patterns.

Clearly there are many more fly patterns categories, and even categories within those

categories, this is just a general outline.  One example would be terrestrials which would consist of land

based insects like grasshoppers, ants, and beetles. The more involved you get into this sport, and that

will happen, the farther your understanding and analysis can go.  The purpose of this article was to make

things simple, and to generalize what often confuses many new anglers to the sport of fly fishing and to trout flies.

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