The Most Popular Type of Fly Fishing: A Ranking of Techniques

Choose the type you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 19, 2024 07:41
Discover the world of fly fishing in a whole new light with our latest ranking on StrawPoll: "What is the most popular type of fly fishing?" Dive into the exhilarating experience of casting your vote among thousands of fellow enthusiasts and make your favorite technique stand out. Whether you're a master at nymphing or a dry fly aficionado, your opinion matters. Don't see your preferred style on the list? Don't worry - we've got you covered! Simply suggest a missing option, and share your unique expertise with the fly fishing community. So, gear up and join us on this thrilling adventure to uncover the ultimate fan-favorite fly fishing technique. Cast your vote now and reel in the excitement!

What Is the Most Popular Type of Fly Fishing?

  1. 1
    Dry Fly Fishing
    Mike Cline · Public domain

    Dry Fly Fishing

    Izaak Walton
    This is probably the most popular type of fly fishing because it is the most visible and exciting. Fish rise to the surface to take a dry fly, and anglers can watch the action unfold.
    Dry fly fishing is a popular type of fly fishing that involves casting a fly that closely imitates an adult insect floating on the water's surface. The goal is to entice fish, particularly trout, to rise to the surface and take the artificial fly. This form of fly fishing requires precision and finesse, as the flies must be presented delicately and in a lifelike manner.
    • Technique: Casting a fly that imitates an adult insect on the water's surface.
    • Fly Design: Patterns include mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, and other terrestrial insects.
    • Casting Distance: Usually involves shorter casts, targeting specific areas where fish are rising.
    • Fly Presentation: Flies are presented lightly and gently, floating on the water surface.
    • Targeted Fish Species: Mainly used for targeting trout, but can also be effective for other species like grayling and panfish.
  2. 2

    Nymph Fishing

    Frank Sawyer
    This is a very effective method of fly fishing, and it's popular because it allows anglers to catch fish even when they're not rising to the surface.
    Nymph fishing is a popular type of fly fishing technique that involves imitating the underwater insect larvae, known as nymphs, to attract fish. Rather than imitating adult insects that are floating on the water's surface, nymph fishing primarily focuses on imitating the insects in their immature stage, which are a significant food source for fish.
    • Technique: Nymph fishing relies on using weighted flies and sinking lines to imitate nymphs at different depths in the water.
    • Fly Patterns: There are a wide variety of nymph fly patterns available, designed to imitate different species of nymphs.
    • Presentation: Nymphs are presented by drifting them naturally along the bottom of the water or in mid-water column.
    • Strike Indicators: Strike indicators or bobbers are often used to detect subtle takes since nymph fishing relies on fishing at depths where visual detection is challenging.
    • Weighted Flies: Nymph flies are typically tied with added weights or bead heads to help them sink to the desired depth.
  3. 3
    This is a fun and exciting way to catch big fish, and it's popular because it allows anglers to use big, flashy flies that imitate baitfish.
    Streamer fishing is a popular type of fly fishing that involves using fly patterns called streamers to imitate small baitfish, leeches, or other aquatic prey. Unlike some other types of fly fishing where the goal is to imitate insects on the water's surface, streamer fishing involves casting the fly into deeper water and retrieving it in a way that mimics the movement of prey. This method is considered highly effective for targeting larger predatory fish, such as trout, bass, pike, and salmon.
    • Target Species: Trout, bass, pike, salmon, and other predatory fish
    • Fly Patterns: Streamers imitating small baitfish, leeches, or other aquatic prey
    • Casting: Casting into deeper water or near underwater structures
    • Retrieval: Retrieving the fly in a way that imitates the movement of prey
    • Equipment: Typically involves using heavier rods, sinking lines, and leaders
  4. 4

    Euro Nymphing

    Czech fly fisherman
    This is a newer technique that has gained popularity in recent years. It involves fishing with a long, light rod and heavy nymphs that are fished close to the bottom.
    Euro Nymphing is a highly effective fly fishing technique that originated in Europe. It is a specialized method of nymph fishing that involves using a longer and lighter fly rod, typically between 9 to 11 feet in length, with a longer leader and a thin diameter fly line. The technique primarily relies on the weight of the flies and the use of a tight line or direct contact with the flies to detect strikes. Euro Nymphing is known for its sensitivity and precision, allowing anglers to effectively fish for trout in fast-moving currents and shallow water.
    • Rod Length: 9 to 11 feet
    • Fly Line Diameter: Thin
    • Leader Length: Extra-long
    • Weighted Flies: Used to provide weight
    • Strike Detection: Relies on tight line or direct contact
  5. 5
    This is a Japanese style of fly fishing that has become popular in the US in recent years. It involves fishing with a long, telescoping rod and a simple line, and it's popular because it's easy to learn and very effective.
    Tenkara Fishing is a traditional Japanese method of fly fishing that originated in the mountainous regions of Japan. It is characterized by the use of a long, telescopic rod with a fixed length of line attached to the tip and a single fly tied to the end of the line. Unlike traditional fly fishing, Tenkara Fishing does not use a reel. Instead, the angler relies on skillful casting technique and precise rod control to manipulate the line and present the fly to the fish.
    • Rod Length: 10 to 15 feet
    • Line Length: 10 to 20 feet
    • Main Line Material: Nylon or Fluorocarbon
    • Tippet Material: Monofilament
    • Fly Size: Typically 12 to 16, but can vary based on target species and conditions
  6. 6
    This is a technique that's popular for fishing for salmon and steelhead in large rivers. It involves using a long, two-handed rod and casting with a "spey" cast.
    Spey fishing is a specialized technique used in fly fishing that originated in Scotland. It involves the use of longer two-handed fly rods and casting techniques designed to make longer, more efficient casts. The technique is primarily used for salmon and steelhead fishing in large rivers where traditional casting methods are often hindered by obstacles or limited space.
    • Rod Length: 10 to 15 feet
    • Two-handed Rod: Requires the use of both hands to cast effectively
    • Longer Casting Stroke: Utilizes long, sweeping casting motions
    • Spey Casts: Specialized casts such as the Single Spey, Double Spey, and Snake Roll
    • Line Weight: Heavier lines are commonly used to load the rods effectively
  7. 7
    This is a type of fly fishing that's popular for targeting species like bonefish, tarpon, and permit. It requires specialized gear and techniques, but it's very rewarding when you hook into a big fish.
    Saltwater fly fishing is a type of fly fishing that specifically targets fish species found in saltwater environments such as oceans, seas, and saltwater marshes. It involves the use of specialized fly fishing techniques, equipment, and flies to attract and catch saltwater game fish.
    • Target species: Saltwater game fish such as tarpon, bonefish, permit, redfish, snook, striped bass, and many others
    • Location: Saltwater environments including oceans, seas, saltwater flats, mangroves, and estuaries
    • Flies: Specially designed saltwater flies imitate various prey items like small baitfish, shrimp, crabs, and other invertebrates
    • Tackle: Heavier rods and reels capable of handling larger fish and casting in windy conditions
    • Casting techniques: Various casting techniques are used, including double hauling, roll casting, and dealing with strong winds
  8. 8
    This is a type of fly fishing that's gaining popularity, as anglers realize that carp can be caught on the fly. Carp are strong fighters, and they can be found in many different bodies of water.
    Carp Fly Fishing is a popular type of fly fishing that specifically targets carp, a freshwater fish known for its size and strength. It involves using artificial flies made to imitate various carp food sources, such as insects, crustaceans, and small fish. The technique requires patience, finesse, and an understanding of carp behavior and feeding patterns.
    • Fly patterns: Carp flies are often tied to imitate crayfish, worms, insects, and even small fish.
    • Tackle: Heavyweight fly rods (usually 8-10 weight) and sturdy reels are commonly used to handle the power and size of carp.
    • Leaders: Long leaders (9-12 feet) made from strong monofilament or fluorocarbon material are used for subtle presentations.
    • Flies: Carp flies typically feature realistic details, such as lifelike movement, colors, and textures, to entice carp into biting.
    • Techniques: Carp fly fishing techniques often involve sight casting to individual fish, presenting flies near feeding areas, or sight-fishing in shallow water.
  9. 9

    Bass Fly Fishing

    Ted Trueblood
    This is a popular type of fly fishing for anglers who like to target largemouth and smallmouth bass. Bass are aggressive fish that will readily take a fly, and they're found in many different types of water.
    Bass Fly Fishing is a popular type of fly fishing specifically targeting bass species, such as largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. It involves using specially designed flies to imitate the prey of these fish and enticing them to strike.
    • Fly Rod: Typically a heavier weight rod, around 6 to 9 weight
    • Fly Line: Weight forward floating line, suitable for bass fishing
    • Leader/Tippet: Heavy-duty leader and tippet material to handle aggressive strikes and strong fish
    • Flies: Wide range of imitative and attractor patterns including poppers, streamers, and crawfish imitations
    • Techniques: Topwater presentations, streamer stripping, and nymphing techniques
  10. 10
    This is a type of fly fishing that's popular in northern latitudes, where pike are found in many different bodies of water. Pike are aggressive predators that will readily take a fly, and they're known for putting up a strong fight.
    Pike Fly Fishing is a popular type of fly fishing that specifically targets pike, a predatory freshwater fish known for its aggressive behavior and strong fighting abilities. Anglers use specially designed flies to imitate the prey of pike and entice them to strike.
    • Fly Line: Weight forward or shooting head lines are commonly used for pike fly fishing as they offer better turnover and casting performance.
    • Fly Rod: A fast-action fly rod with a length between 9 and 10 feet is preferred for pike fly fishing to handle the weight of larger flies and provide adequate casting distance and control.
    • Leaders: A heavy fluorocarbon or wire leader is necessary to withstand pike's sharp teeth and prevent bite-offs. Leaders usually range from 40 to 60 lbs in strength.
    • Flies: Pike flies are typically large and feature long, flowing materials that imitate baitfish or other prey. Common patterns include streamers, poppers, and divers.
    • Retrieval Techniques: Successful pike fly fishing often involves using aggressive retrieves such as fast-stripping, jerking, or pausing motions to trigger strikes from these predatory fish.

Missing your favorite type?


About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular type of fly fishing. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or type is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 189 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each type once every 24 hours. The rank of each type is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular type of fly fishing

Fly fishing is a popular angling method that has been around for centuries. It involves using artificial flies made of feathers, fur, and other materials to lure fish to bite. However, there are various types of fly fishing, including dry fly fishing, nymph fishing, and streamer fishing, each with its own unique characteristics and techniques. Dry fly fishing involves casting a fly on the surface of the water to imitate an insect or other prey, while nymph fishing involves using a weighted fly to mimic a larva or pupa underwater. Streamer fishing, on the other hand, involves using a fly that imitates a baitfish or other small prey, and is often used to catch larger fish. With so many types of fly fishing to choose from, it's no wonder that it's a popular pastime for anglers of all skill levels.

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