Learning when to use wet flies and when to use dry flies is a basic skill in fly fishing. A wet fly is used to imitate the underwater life stages of insects, while dry flies imitate the adult, above water stages of insect life. Understanding which type of fly to use is integral to successful fly fishing. These tips will help you decide what sorts of flies to use for fishing.
Choosing the Right Fly
1. Know what insects are hatching at the time of year and time of day that you are fishing.
2. Sit down along the bank for a moment and observe the surface of the water to determine if the fish are feeding on the surface or underwater. Having basic knowledge of entomology, the study of insects, will help.
3. Select a wet fly if you don't see any fish feeding at the surface. Most likely they are feeding on nymphs underwater. In the first stage of life, the insects stay in the gravel or vegetation along the river or lakes bottom. Some insects are active swimmers, while others just drift with the current.
4. Choose a dry fly if you observe activity on the surface or lots of insects flying in the air.
5. Try fishing with wet and dry flies simultaneously when fish are feeding on both the surface and sub-surface.
Using a Wet Fly
1. Look through your fly box and choose a wet fly, usually dark in color, sparse and simple, which resembles the nymph stage.
2. Add additional weight on the leader to help sink the fly to the bottom of the river or lake where the nymphs most likely are living.
3. Cast the fly with a slow retrieve to make the fly swim, or it can be fished by drifting it as a natural insect would float if caught in the current.
4. Use a strike indicator, which is a small bobber, with this technique to help detect subtle takes of the fly.
Using a Dry Fly
1. Select a dry fly to mimic the adult stage of an insect. The fly should look like a delicate, winged creature that is lightly colored.
2. Apply a small amount of silicone floatant gel to the fly. It will keep the fly floating on the surface and prevent it from becoming waterlogged.
3. Cast upstream and let the current drift the fly downstream. This is called a dead drift, meaning that the fly is floating at the exact same speed as the water, which looks most natural to the fish.
Using a Wet Fly and Dry Fly Simultaneously
1. Tie a dry fly on your leader and then attach 12-18 inches of leader material to the hook bend of the dry fly.
2. Attach a wet fly to the other end of this extra leader and allow the wet fly to sink below the dry fly.
3. Use the dry fly as a strike indicator. If it sinks under like a bobber would, set the hook.
Warnings: Many rivers prohibit the use of weights that contain lead.