Fly Fishing for Trout? You Should Try Fly Fishing For Bass.

Fly Fishing for Trout? You Should Try Fly Fishing For Bass.

Fly fishing for trout? You should try fly fishing for bass. If you are already fly fishing for trout then you probably have most of the things you will need. When you fly fish for bass you might have to make some adjustments to the weight of your rod, reel, and lines.

If you have been fly fishing for trout for some time it will depend on the type of fishing that you do.

Fly Fishing Small Creeks and Streams:

If you do mostly dry fly fishing on small creeks and streams. Then you probably have a lightweight rod and reel with weight forward floating lines.

The fish that are usually in the smaller creek and streams are.

Brook Trout:

Brook Trout
Brook Trout

Brook trout are one of the most beautiful freshwater fish that swims. They display levels of natural artistry, camouflage, colors-within-colors that are utterly astounding. But that’s just their skin.

Underneath the gorgeous exterior of these magnificent game fish lives an angry, violent animal. That’s why we anglers love to catch them so much.

Brook trout are found in most of the Northern United States and Canada. Brook trout can inhabit a wide range of waters from large lakes to tiny mountain streams.

But they require cold, clean water, and they are sensitive to poor oxygenation and acidity. The size, longevity, and feeding habits of the trout are dependent on such factors as elevation, available forage, and water temperature.

They are very good eating if you happen to be one of the people that eats them. I normally practice catch and release but there are sometimes when I like to eat some.

Rainbow Trout:

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are only native to the rivers and lakes of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains. It is known as a hard-fighting game fish and a very tasty meal. This has led to its introduction throughout the world.

The Rainbow trout is also called a Redband trout. They are a gorgeous fish, with coloring and patterns that vary widely depending on habitat, age, and spawning condition.

They are shaped like a torpedo and are generally blue-green or yellow-green in color. They have a pink streak along their sides, a white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins.

These fish are stocked in many rivers, streams, reservoirs, and lakes. I know where I live they plant them so some people will have an opportunity to catch some fish. You will find lots of people bring their kids out to let them try to catch some fish.

Bull Trout:

Bull Trout
Bull Trout

All populations of the bull trout were listed as Endangered in 1998 and reclassified as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the year 1999.

Bull trout need cold, clean water to survive and are typically found in the colder rivers. Spawning occurs in the fall when water temperatures drop below 50F.

While their coloration can be variable, bull trout are generally gray infused with green.

The body is covered with small white or pale yellow spots. Some spots along the side may be deep orange to red. The leading edges of the fins along their bellies are white.

Bull trout, despite the common name, is not actually a trout but a member of the closely related char group.

So remember if you catch a Bull Trout you must release it unharmed immediately.

Fly Fishing Bigger Rivers:

Big Rivers
Big Rivers

So if you fish some of the bigger water. Then you probably have a larger medium weight rod and reel. Most people will have weight forward floating line and a floating sink tip line.

There are some people that use dry flies on the bigger rivers and streams but most use nymphs and streamers.

Big rivers are not only home to larger fish they are also home to swift currents. This allows for lots and lots of room for the fish to run.

I would recommend stouter than normal rods but they are not required. For trout I use at least a 6 weight rod, reel and weight forward lines I use a floating sinking tip.

There are a lot of fly fishermen that fish the bigger rivers and streams from a drift boat or rubber raft.

There are lots of guide services that will take you out and do a float fishing trip with you.

If you have never done this it can be a very rewarding fishing trip for you so give it a try.

The bigger waters have some of the same fish that were mentioned in the above section.

In the bigger water, there are Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Carp, Suckers, Catfish and Brown Trout.

The Brown Trout:

Brown Trout
Brown Trout

Today there are brown trout in almost every state in the Continental US. Every single one of them can trace its roots across the Atlantic Ocean.

Brown trout were originally native in parts of Europe and western Asia. Europeans began farming brown trout for food in the 1800s, and to support recreational fishing.

The availability of the brown trout eggs and fry led to the introduction of brown trout in areas around the world. This was so that the Europeans living there would have some familiar recreation and food sources to enjoy.

It was in this time period that brown trout were introduced to the United States, as well as Australia, New Zealand, India, Patagonia, and parts of Africa.

Today they are a very sought after fish for the fly fishermen to go after. They are a very aggressive and ferocious fighter.

I was talking with a friend about fly fishing for browns and here is what he said.

When fishing for Browns fish them under a float at a depth just above the bottom. Then you want to let them drift them along in areas that might hold browns.

A long rod comes in handy for drift-fishing, as does a reel with a smooth drag to compensate for light 5- to 6-pound-test leaders. These are necessary to fool wary brown trout topping the 20-pound range.

Fly Fishing Lakes and Reservoirs:

Thompson Lakes
Thompson Lakes

If you fly fish lakes and reservoirs then you probably already use a 5 or 6 weight rod, reel and weight forward sinking tip or plain sinking line.

The fish in lakes and reservoirs are pretty much the same as the bigger rivers. They have rainbows, brookies, brown trout, and all different kinds of panfish, bass, and smallies.

Most fly fishermen don’t do much dry fly fishing on lakes and reservoirs the use more Nymphs, emergers, and streamers.

There are a lot of fly fishermen that use float tubes, pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes, and other floating devices.

I have been fly fishing for many years, and now I am confined to fly fishing from my boat. I used to love to fly fish from the bank or my float tube but due to health conditions, I can’t. Today I am on oxygen 24 seven and it is hard to carry oxygen tanks on your back when fishing.

But where there is a will there is a way, I have a battery operated oxygen machine. We added a couple more batteries so we can fish all day and I won’t have to quit early.

Enough about me you are reading this to find out more about fly fishing both for trout and bass.

Fly Fishing For Bass:

Fly fishing for bass is very similar to fly fishing for trout you would use the same kinds of equipment. The only difference is in the equipment it takes a larger rod, reel and line weight sizes.

Here are some alternatives, instead of trying to use a small 3 weight rod, reel, and line. You can use a 5-weight trout rod for bass fishing, but it’s not the best tool.

Most bass flies are large and wind-resistant, so heavier 6- and 7-weight rods with a medium action are best for bass. The rod should load deeply into the mid and butt section to launch bushy bass poppers in and around thick cover.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass prefers quiet, calm, and warm water but they are very adaptable to other conditions. They are found in rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and steams.

But they are mostly found in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. They are also known by a variety of regional names, such as the wide mouth bass, bigmouth bass, black bass, and bucket mouth.

Largemouth bass prefers to feed on smaller fish like perch, sunfish, and minnows. But, they have been known to eat crayfish, insects, frogs, and even some small aquatic birds

They will also take the same types of flies that you use for trout. They will take dry flies, nymphs and streamers.

Dry Flies:

When you dry fly for a trout you want it to land lightly so that you don’t scare the fish. But with a bass you want it to land with a bib plop because this will attract the bass.

What you want to remember is that trout will rise to some extremely small food items. Most bass will have a tendency to ignore small aquatic insects like midges and small mayflies. So, remember to bring bigger dry flies like a Parachute Adams (#8-14) and other larger dry flies.

Poppers or Popping Bugs:

One main thing about bass is their attraction to surface flies like poppers, sliders, and gurglers. These surface flies resemble things like frogs, swimming mice, or ducklings.

But the biggest thing they do is attract, excite and entice bass with their sounds and movement. The Dahlberg Diver, Clouser’s Floating Minnow, the Umpqua Swimming Frog, Whitlock’s Deerhair Bass Bug, and the Blados Crease Fly. These are just a few examples of some effective popping bugs.

Surface flies for bass should be big like (#2/0-#4) to attract aggressive bass. This will help to keep away smaller panfish that may try to peck at smaller flies. Monofilament weed guards can help you in weed-choked areas that hold the biggest bass.


These are some of the favorite nymphs for bass fishing. The Clouser Deep Minnow, Dahlberg Diver Frog, Fathead Diver, Soft Shell Crayfish, Woolly Bugger, Gartside Gurgler, Deer Hair Bass Bug, and the Bunny Bass Leech.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass does well in both lakes/ponds and rivers/streams. They prefer structure and a bit of current.

Smallmouth bass is somewhat smaller than the largemouth bass. They may reach 23-inches and exceed 7 pounds.

Smallmouth bass is also known as smallies so throughout this article when you see smallies you will know what I am referring to.

Here Is A Good Knot To Learn.

Bass Non Slip Knot
Bass Non Slip Knot

The Purpose: The Non-Slip Mono Loop Knot makes a very strong fixed loop at the end of the fishing line. Because the loop doesn’t grip the lure, it makes a flexible attachment and allows a more natural action. It is known as Lefty Kreh’s knot. Lefty is known as a fly fishing legend.

Unlike largemouth bass fishing there are lots of anglers that bank fish for smallies. This is because there are so many streams that have great smallie fishing.

So there are more people that wade fish for smallmouth than for largemouth bass.

Smallmouth bass has adapted to flowing water and does well in warm streams with deep holes and rocky ledges. They also prefer lakes and reservoirs with rocky shorelines and limited vegetation. Adult smallmouth feeds mostly on fish and crayfish.

Water Temperature:

Like the largemouth, the smallmouth bass is less active and much harder to catch when the water temperature is below 50°F.

Smallmouths are more likely to be found where cover consists of rock rather than vegetation or sunken wood. The best places to look for them are near rocky points, boulders, ledges, or drop-offs.

In the spring they move inshore in lakes and reservoirs and into the shallows of streams as the water warms. Spawning activity begins when water temperatures reach about 58°F.

As with largemouth, the male aggressively guards the nest and fry, making them easier to catch at this time. Other behaviors similar to that of largemouth bass, are the angling techniques used to catch them.

But because smallmouths are generally smaller, the flies used are also often smaller. Plastic grubs, crankbaits, and spinners are all effective.

I think that a 5 or 6-weight rod is about as light as you would want to go for smallies. But a 7 or 8-weight can be used if you are going to throw bigger poppers.

If you throw some small flies, then you can bring your lighter rod. But remember big flies, obviously, need a bigger stick.

Dean Jensen

I started fly fishing in 1972 and I have learned quite a bit about this wonderful sport called fly fishing and I want to share some of the things that I have learned.

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