Fly Fishing for Beginners – Part 3 – What Kind of Fish Can you Catch with Fly Fishing?

Welcome to episode #3 of the Fly Fishing for Beginners blog and video series. In episode #1, I answered the question, “What is fly fishing,” as there are many misconceptions. In episode #2 we looked at the fascinating history of fly fishing, and in this third installment, I’ll answer the question, “What kind of fish can you catch with fly fishing?” You may be surprised! If you watched parts one and two of this video series, you may be saying, “HHmmm, that fly fishing looks really fun and interesting, but what all kinds of fish can I catch?” While fly fishing is commonly associated with species such as trout, salmon, bass, and saltwater fish such as tarpon and bonefish, the truth is that you can fly fish for almost every major species of freshwater fish…both warm and cold water species, as well as many different saltwater fish. In fact, you can catch almost any species of fish in the world with fly fishing gear…with the exception of those that live hundreds of feet down in the most inaccessible areas of the vast, deep ocean. However, even some of those big ocean-going fish, such as halibut, can be caught on fly fishing tackle when they move into shallower water and the fisherman uses specialized gear such as sinking fly line. I’ve personally seen halibut caught on fly rods many times while working as a guide on Kodiak Island, Alaska. And along with halibut, other big saltwater fish such as sailfish, marlin, and sharks can be caught with a fly rod.

No matter where you live, if there’s water nearby that has fish in it, no matter if it’s a tiny pond, a lake, a beautiful mountain stream, a big muddy river, or an ocean, there’s a very good chance that you can go after those fish and successfully catch them with fly fishing gear. In the video below, I share a list of just some of the most common fish you can catch with a fly rod.  Keep in mind though, that while you can catch almost any kind of fish out there with fly fishing gear, you’ll most likely have to use different techniques and different flies to do so…even for fish within their own species, although that’s not always the case, as I demonstrated in my Deadly White Jig  Fly Fishing Challenge video series from last year. But for example, the flies and techniques that fishermen commonly use for catching silver salmon are generally quite different for the ones used for sockeye salmon. But this is where so much of the fun, excitement, and the challenge of fly fishing comes into play. In order to be successful at catching a certain species of fish, you may have to do some research on that fish, study its preferred foods, habitat, and behaviors, experiment with tying different flies for that fish, and then get out there and try it all out. And, if you don’t get the results you were after, you may have to go back to the drawing board and try some different flies or some different techniques until you come up with a winning strategy.


Yes indeed, the fly rod is not just a tool for catching fish, but rather, it’s a catalyst for gaining knowledge, learning new skills, exploring new places, having a heck of a lot of fun, and making memories that will last a lifetime! So don’t be bashful or embarrassed about going after whatever fish live near you…no matter how big or small, or how beautiful or ugly! Some of those not so fashionable, not so popular fish can actually be some of the most intelligent and most difficult of all to catch! So again, throw all those preconceived notions you may have out the window, go get your fly rod, get out there, and catch some fish!

In the next episode in this fly fishing for beginners series, you’ll learn how to find the best places near you to fly fish…many of which I’d be willing to bet that you had no idea even existed!

Check out the video below to see more…