Most beginners don’t get to go fly fishing in Patagonia. Most beginner fly fishers get their start at a local lake or stream. Beginner fly fishers sometimes have to take whatever fly fishing destinations they can get. But what if a beginner could go anywhere?
We wanted to know what are the best fly fishing trips for beginners. So we reached out to the fly fishing experts at RodAndNet.com to see what they thought about some of these fly fishing destinations.
Best Fly Fishing Trips for Beginners
- Firehole River
- Yellowstone Lake
- Gardner River
- Beaverkill River
- East Branch of the Delaware River
- Willowemoc River
- Nushagak River
- Naknek River
- Alagnak River
Take A Beginner Fly Fishing Trip
If you are just starting with fly fishing, a fly fishing trip selected explicitly for beginners is a great way to learn the sport. It gives you an excellent reason to choose a destination that will help you get the most out of your time o the water.
You’ll want to select a location with:
- Easy to get to
- Plenty of fish
- Minimal casting obstacles
- Low wind
- Fly fishing guides are available
Bearing all this in mind, let’s now have a look at some of the best fly fishing trips for beginners.
Yellowstone National Park
Located in Wyoming, near Montana and Idaho (which all have excellent trout fishing), Yellowstone National Park is fantastic for beginners to learn. The sheer scope of the fishing available within the park’s 2.2 million acres is incredible. There are plenty of spots for beginners to begin learning their trade.
There are plenty of guides available that specialize in trips for beginners as well. In the park itself, you can fish for seven different types of gamefish:
- Lake Trout
- Brook Trout
- Rainbow Trout
- Brown Trout
- Mountain Whitefish
- Cutthroat Trout
This sheer variety of fish to aim for means that on most days, something will be biting. Of course, the landscape itself is magical, and this can be as much of a draw as the fishing itself. Many anglers take up the sport to get out of the cities and be part of a landscape.
If you plan a trip to Yellowstone, the season runs from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to the first Sunday in November. Fishing in this period is available to the public every day from sunset to sunrise.
For the best time to fish in the park, most anglers will tell you that Spring and Fall are the best seasons. However, that doesn’t mean that the fishing is poor in the summer. August can be one of the more productive months!
Early in the season, most rivers, except for the Firehole, will be snowed up. Beginners are probably better to avoid this time of year as the fishing options can be limited.
As mentioned, the sheer variety of fishing that is available here makes it ideal for beginners. In Yellowstone, they can get to try out a wide variety of techniques under many different circumstances. It is impossible to list all the best fishing spots in the park, but below is just a taste of some of the best rivers.
If you visit early in the season, this will be one of your only options. It tends to lose the snow earlier than all the other rivers due to its southerly location, and it is geysers fed.
This makes it an excellent early season river, but the fishing isn’t as good as you move into summer and the water becomes warmer. This would be a starting point for a beginner making that early trip and wanting to try for brown and rainbow trout.
Many novice fly fishers learned their craft on still waters before progressing to rivers. So there is no hesitation in recommending Lake fishing as a starting point for beginners, especially Yellowstone Lake.
Yellowstone Lake is vigorously stocked with native cutthroat trout to restore nature’s balance after stocked browns and rainbows began to overrun the native populations.
Easy to reach and large enough to find a quiet spot to practice, perfect for beginners.
The Gardner River is one of the smaller rivers in the park. It is also one of the best rivers to fish in the park for its sheer quantity and quality of trout. These two factors make it a fantastic spot for beginners to hone their skills.
The Gardner River has resident populations of rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout, usually obliging enough to keep beginners interested.
There is plenty more fishing available in the park, and that is why it has made it into the list of top fly fishing trips for beginners.
New York state lays claim to being the fly fishing cradle for the United States, and if you want to learn to fly fish, then Roscoe may be the destination for you. Roscoe is dubbed ‘Trout Town USA,’ and that label isn’t inappropriate.
From a base in Roscoe, the amount of great fishing that can be found within a few miles is staggering. And is all situated in some of the most beautiful landscapes this nation has to offer.
In the Roscoe area, beginners will be able to fish for rainbow, brown, and brook trout, as well as some non-game species such as walleye and bass, to name a couple.
The fishing season in the Roscoe area runs from 1st April through to 15th October. For beginners looking to visit the area, late spring into early summer and in the fall is the optimum time to visit.
In the spring, the fish are hungry (and careless!) after the winter months, and they are looking to fatten themselves up for the coming winter towards the fall.
If you are a beginner, some guides offer special courses and trips just for novices.
As with Yellowstone, the sheer variety of fishing here and the abundance of fish waiting to be caught make this an ideal location for beginners. Some of the highlights are below.
The Beaverkill is one of the most famous trout rivers in the US. It is famed for its larger insect hatches that occur throughout the year. These hatches make it such an exciting place to fish, and for the beginner, it means that there are always plenty of feeding fish to cast at.
The prevalent species on the river are wild brook, rainbow, and a healthy annual stocking of brown trout.
Although the river fishes well all year, July and August can be tricky if there hasn’t been any rainfall.
East Branch of the Delaware River
This is one of the two main tributaries that eventually form the Delaware River. The construction of the Pepacton Reservoir helped this river. Since it opened in 1955, the cold water it releases into the river has increased insect and trout life.
Many areas on the river have plenty of space for beginners to get used to casting without worrying about snagging their line on the back cast. There is also a variety of habitats to target, from deep, slow-moving pools to faster runs.
This river fishes well all year round thanks to the run-off from the reservoir. However, to see this river at its best, then the Fall is best. Not only do the fish feed well at this time of year, but the Autumn foliage is spectacular.
This might be the ideal river for beginners. Although the fish are generally smaller (not a bad thing for beginners), they make up for it in quantity and beauty. The Willowemoc is mostly brook trout that thrive in the conditions, and these will typically be in the 6 to 10-inch size range. Access for the angler is easy, and there are plenty of bank fishing areas and gentle wading sections.
The best times to fish this river are largely dependent on rainfall, so as a rule of thumb, avoid summer height when water levels are likely to be low. Fall is when many anglers will say it is the optimum time to fish the Willowemoc River.
It is impossible to recommend any fishing trip, whether it is for the beginner or experienced angler alike, without mentioning Alaska. This state has to epitomize what fly fishing is all about—Wild, rugged landscapes threaded with too numerous rivers to count and lakes that boil with fish. Once you add the sheer grandeur and beauty of the landscape and the diversity and the majesty of the wildlife that surrounds you, then this has got to be an entire lifetime’s worth of fishing experience tied up in one bundle.
Of course, Alaska is massive, and planning a fishing trip here has many options. But for an area with a diverse range of fishing and suitable for beginners, a definite consideration should be the Bristol Bay area.
Salmon fishing is prevalent throughout the region, and if you want to get an angler hooked, then a fight with one of these beasts will do just that. Salmon fishing is the pinnacle of fly fishing. It is what the sport was invented for.
Alaska is a fly angler’s paradise, and there is barely a beginner going to leave Alaska without a tale that a veteran angler won’t be in awe of.
Within easy distance of the Bristol Bay area, you have access to fishing for all five pacific salmon species, including coho, chinook, and king salmon. There are also steelheads and rainbow trout, dolly varden, and lake trout.
Talking about lakes, did you know that in Alaska, lakes number over 3 million!
There are plenty of guides available in the Bristol Bay area to help the novice angler have that trip of a lifetime. Below is a list of some of the highlights you could expect on a trip to Bristol Bay.
King salmon are the main target on this river. The Nushagak River is often described as the best King Salmon River in the world. While these beasts may be the primary attraction to this river, they are by no means the only ones. For beginners wanting to start on a gentler footing (and for Alaska, this is a relative term), plenty of trout fishing is available.
With easy access and plenty of room to make your mistakes, this river is a fishing experience most rookies can only dream about.
If you are a beginner looking for the ultimate trout experience, then the Naknek River is going to be right up your street. This river is renowned for its trophy-sized rainbow trout fishery.
If that wasn’t enough, if you’re lucky enough to be here in late June/July, then you will get to experience one of nature’s great migrations as over 2-million sockeye salmon begin their migration run.
We have saved the best for last. The Alagnak is the ultimate beginner’s river. For that short period where fishing in Alaska is in its prime, there is barely a river in the world that could consider itself as being in the same league as the Alagnak.
It has runs of steelheads and salmon and trophy trout that make the river boil with activity. It has plenty of open areas and fishable banks for the beginner to help them concentrate on nothing but fishing!
These are fishing trips for beginners, but let’s be honest, for most beginners, their first experience will be down the local reservoir or river. But it doesn’t have to be!
And even though these locations may be expensive to travel to, fly fishing doesn’t need to be expensive.
Fly fishing is an art. It’s a brotherhood and sisterhood of like-minded people. It doesn’t matter where you learn your trade. What matters is the companionship, the appreciation of nature, and the enjoyment of your surroundings.