Fly fishing is a skill that will last a lifetime. it can connect you with the outdoors in ways few other activities can.
Most people feel hesitant before they step foot into the river for the first time. Fly fishing is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have and well worth any difficulty you may feel when trying something for the first time.
When it comes to equipment, there is much to consider. However here are ways to begin fly fishing with just a few essential items, outlined below. We encourage anyone starting out to find out what works for them, as many elements of fishing and gear are personal preference.
GETTING STARTED KITS:
Check out our Starter Kits– These kits include all the stream-side tools you need for fly fishing the river. Available now online and in the shop!
- 4X AND 5X Tipper
- 9ft 5x Leader
- Line Nippers
- Scissor/Hemostat Combo
The Reno Fly Shop staff are always excited to introduce new anglers to the sport.
Come by the shop, ask questions, and use our extensive knowledge to your benefit. We look forward to helping in any way we can. Let’s get started.
R O D A N D R E E L
Rods today are predominantly constructed of carbon graphite and range from 8 1/2′ to 10 1/2′ long. Rods are described in weights (wt) and will range from a 2 wt to 12 wt. The weight of the rod will vary based on the body of water to be fished, with small waterbodies and smaller fish (2wt), to larger waterbodies and very large fish (12wt).
Reels are constructed of either machined aluminum or a cast composite material. The reel size will be selected to match the weight of the rod.
Rods and reels prices will range widely based on material and more. Keep it simple and rely on us to help make the best choice based upon where you believe you will use the rod/reel the most.
We recommend a 9ft 4 wt, 5 wt or 6wt rod. These are common sizes when fly fishing for trout and allows the angler to fish the majority of rivers, streams and lakes in our area.
The Echo Carbon XL fly rod or the Echo Base rod are great rods, with a fantastic lifetime warranties.
The Echo ION 4/5 reel with its durability, strong drag and warranty program is a great option.
F L I E S
When choosing your flies you should grab a few in each of your chosen pattern (you will lose some to bushes and hungry fish). Quality flies should range in price from $1.75 to $3.00. If properly cared for and stored they should be ready to fish for quite some time.
Our Truckee River Dozen is an up to date fly selection chosen by our staff. This selection is updated about once a month. This collection of 14 flies comes either with a fly box, or without, and is filled with the patterns most successful on the Truckee at the time of purchase.
Flies can be unique to a specific body of water, moving or still and vary by time of year (season). Our staff spend a lot of time on the water and are ready to help you make a selection based on where and when you plan to fish.
F L Y L I N E
There are multiple types of fly lines. Some fly lines are designed to float on the surface of the water, and others are designed to sink. Floating fly lines are intended to present dry flies, sub surface flies and nymphs. Sinking fly lines are used to present streamers, heavy flies that represent bait fish, or for still water fishing situations such as Pyramid Lake or sometimes in the the ocean surf zone.
For most of your local fishing, a floating fly line is the best option. Fly lines will be selected based on the size of your rod and reel. When selected correctly, all of these components work together to create a balanced fly fishing set-up. For example a 9ft 5 wt rod, will have a 4/5 reel, and a WF5F fly line. The WF stands for weight forward, and the 5F signifies it will be paired with a 5 weight fly rod.
Our recommendation when purchasing a floating fly line is to invest in a higher performance fly line. This can drastically improve your casting. A high performance fly rod will make any rod casts with more ease, and aid in fly presentation.
We recommend the Amplitude Infinity WF5F fly line, with its tapered head and welded loop for an easy change between leaders.
T I P P E T A N D L E A D E R S
There are three portions of material coming from your reel that will be crucial in fly fishing. You have your fly line, usually colored and thick, with a welded or closed loop at one end. This welded loop is where you will attach a leader, the second portion.
A leader is most often tapered, meaning it starts thicker, and ends at a specific diameter at the end. The size at the end is how leaders are labeled, and you will notice on the leader packaging, a 4x, 5x, 6x, etc. This size range is unit-less and simply describes a specified diameter of the finished end. The lower the number (1X, 2X, etc) the larger the diameter. The smaller the number (5X, 6X, etc.) the thinner the diameter. Ask our staff for our recommendations on what size you should be using, as fishing location and season will change the recommended size.
Tippet, the third portion and final component, is a spool of monofilament line with the same diameter throughout. The size is labeled on the outside, similar to leaders, and starts at 1X, running all the way down to 6X, larger to smaller respectively. You can place the same size or thinner onto your leader, but never place portion of tippet to a leader that is thicker than the leader end. As this could negatively impact presentation and performance. Tippet can be used to extended your leader, fish more than one fly, and extend the life of your tapered leader.
To connect your leader to your tippet, follow this helpful video tutorial, or come by the shop for a quick demo.
All together, your fly line will connect to your leader, which will connect to your tippet. Flies will be tied onto your tippet, and/or directly to your leader.
We recommend getting started with Rio’s Powerflex Plus brand for leader and tippet materials, or for the highest quality in tippet in our opinion, the Cortland Top Secret Tippet is hard to beat.
Check out our Starter Kit for a collection of tippet, leader, tools and more!
N I P P E R S A N D H E M O S T A T S
Other tools to consider are a net, a pair of hemostats and a good nippers.
A net is key part of effective a catch and release approach. The basket or webbing of the net should be rubber, or rubberized nylon, as cotton or bare nylon can scar or remove the slime fish need to stay healthy. By quickly getting the fish into the net , and keeping the net in water with the fish facing upstream, you can prevent fish from drowning or suffocating.
We recommend the RFS Carbon net, or the RFS Catch and Release net.
Hemostats are small metal pliers that aid in removing hooks from the mouth of the fish. They can be attached to your pack with a retractor. They can also be used to smash down barbs on hooks. Barbless hooks are the best hook to use for catch and release, as they are more easily removed from the mouth.
We suggest the Adams Built Hemostats, a perfect price point for this simple but important tool.
Nippers can be used to cut leaders and tippet (spare your teeth) and are also usually attached to your pack or waders via a retractor.
We recommend the Rising Nippers or the Tie Fast Line Clippers, and Fishpond Arrowhead retractor, or the Loon Rogue retractor.
W A D E R S A N D B O O T S
Waders are intended to keep the water off of your legs and feet and to allow you to stay warm and dry. While important, they are not critical to fish in all months of the year. Because they are intended to keep you warm and dry you might not need them in the summer when the weather is warm and the cool water is welcome.
Boots on the other hand are important. Specifically designed wading boots paired with your waders will go a long way in improving your day on the water. Rocks and river bottoms can be slippery and or sharp. Wading boots will have special bottoms that will allow you to walk with security and confidence. Boots come soled in either felt or rubber. Felt bottoms are a great choice for the river and streams in our area. Some states and areas do not allow the use of felt bottomed boots, and this should be considered when purchasing. The Truckee river allows the use of felt boots. Rubber boots excel in situations where the bottom is naturally slick, slime covered rocks or fine grained sand or clay bottoms of rivers or lakes.
We recommend the Simms Tributary or Freestone wading boot, and the Simms Freestone wader. Swing by the shop to try on a pair of waders or boots.
All of our recommended products are available for purchase through the Reno Fly Shop.
A D D I T I O N A L R E S O U R C E S
YouTube.com is a great resource to gain some insight on techniques, some beautiful places and inspiring videos about fly fishing.
The Reno Fly Shop Youtube page hosts our On the Water videos. These reports share the current status of the Truckee River and other local watersheds. It also hosts our Fly Tying Kit Tutorials, step-by-step fly tying videos that accompany our Fly Tying Kits, each month offering the chance to tie a new fly.