How To Get A Free Fly Fishing Lesson

So do you want to get a free fly fishing lesson? I’ll be glad to tell you how to do that if you stick with me. But first, let me tell you all the reasons why no one is gonna wanna teach you how to fly fish for free. And I’m sure all of you experienced fly fishermen out there will be able to relate to this, as well. Moreover, you’ll definitely want to stay with me, even if you’re a more experienced fly fisherman. Because, trust me, the more advanced tips, lessons, and gear recommendations are coming for all. And yes, it’s ALL for FREE. Sort of. So here we go.

Okay, so the first reason why no one is gonna want to give you a free fly fishing lesson is because there are already plenty of free resources online that are available to you. So you can teach yourself to fly fish on your own.

Case in point, I wrote this article about How to Get Started Fly Fishing. But you haven’t read it yet, have you? That’s cause you’re not really serious about becoming a fly fisherman. Instead you just wanna flap your jaw, like a beached catfish. Moreover, if you really wanted to learn to fly fish, you’d be busy looking up all this free information, learning something, and not pestering me, or other fly fishermen, about your desire to get a $600 / day fly fishing lesson for FREE from us. Yeah, you PAY a fly fishing instructor top dollar for a lesson. You can be sure of that.

Another reason no one is gonna wanna give you a free fly fishing lesson is that line management is the Achilles heel of learning to fly fish.

In other words, you’re gonna have A LOT of trouble controlling your fly line, as a beginner, particularly your leader and tippet. Consequently, you’re gonna get your line tangled up all day long in bird’s nests and wind knots. This is a fact. Don’t believe me? That just shows how much you don’t know about fly fishing. Because, trust me, even experienced fly fishermen spend a lot of time untangling their line. And pulling it out of nearby trees and shrubbery. So figure that no one on this earth feels like dealing with a beginner’s tangled up mess.

And the final reason why no one’s gonna wanna give you a free fly fishing lesson is that you don’t even have the prerequisite fly fishing gear to start fishing on the river.

And no, most fly fishermen that I know don’t have enough backup gear to get you going. So, if you’re actually serious about learning to fly fish, well, you’re gonna have to shell out a few bucks to buy the necessary fly fishing gear. However, as a total beginner, you probably don’t even know what gear and equipment that you’ll actually need to get started fly fishing.

Well, here, you’re in luck. As I’ve prepared a list below, revealing much of the gear and apparel that I fly fish with. And it includes ALL of my recommended fly fishing essentials, along with some tips, to get you started fly fishing on the river.

But herein, lies your first free fly fishing lesson.

One, fly fishing is going to cost you. There is no free lunch. And two, before you get started along this path of learning to fly fish. You should be aware that you might be better off in just going down to the river and dumping some of your hard-earned cash into the swift currents. Because that’s where some of your money is going. Straight down the drain. Never to be seen again.

And now, before I reveal my recommended list of fly fishing gear, almost all of which you’ll need to get started fly fishing. I’m going to tell you, as promised, how to get a free lesson in fly fishing.

So first, you buy just enough items from my recommended fly fishing gear list below so that you’re actually equipped and prepared to fly fish. Next, you show up at a river where there are A LOT of or just a few fishermen. Then, you find yourself a spot to fish that’s NOT TOO CLOSE to the other fishermen. And finally, you start fly fishing on your own. And, most likely, you’re going to get skunked. No doubt, you’ll also be tangled up to the point of no return…

Meanwhile, you’ll watch in envy as the more experienced and seasoned fly fisherman, who’s downstream of you, literally slays the trout. Without ever actually even keeping a single one. And you should wait patiently, saying nothing to him at all until you see a HUGE smile appear on that particular fly fisherman’s face. While you feel like jumping off a cliff. Then, and only then, should you try politely shouting over at him.

Fly fisherman smiles and holds wild brown trout in hand.
Fly fisherman finally cracks a smile after catching some fish, including this wild brown trout.

Saying, “Excuse me, [mister, sir, or: kind and generous fly fisherman], I’m a total beginner at fly fishing. Do you have any advice for me? Cause I’m not catching anything.”

And, if you’re lucky, he’ll wave you over and proceed to give you a few free fly fishing lessons and tips, based on years of experience, such as this:

Your tippet is too thick. 4x? What a joke! Try 6x. Or even 7x.
Also, your leader is too short. Try 14’, or 16′, instead of 9 feet. This should reduce the micro drag on the fly.
And, by the way, that monstrosity of an Adams fly you’ve got tied on, at size12, isn’t gonna catch a lot of fish here.

So try something smaller, as in size 18 to 26 midges, or dries. Maybe a zebra, or even a stripper midge. Oh, but you pathetically continue to b#$%* and whine, like a total woman, that you just can’t see good enough to tie those tiny flies on the end of your line. And how are those big ole trout gonna see such microscopic flies, anyway? Well, it just so happens, that I’ve got a whole article on how to fly fish with small flies. Moreover, for starters, you’ll want to buy a pair of 3x magnifying glasses.

Continuing on with the free fly fishing lessons and advice.

At least from my point of view, probably the best place to get advice and tips from other fly fishermen would be when they’re in the parking lot. If you’re polite and sincere, not a total nuisance, a lot of guys, especially the older ones, will be glad to share some of their fishing tips, advice, and lessons with you.

Also, I don’t know about other fly fishermen on the river. But the closer you encroach on my fishing hole is directly proportional to how little sound fishing advice I’m willing to share with you.

In other words, if you try casting to the same fish that I’m casting to. Well, you might just get yelled at. Or told to have some courtesy on the river. But I can assure you that no one is gonna wanna help you after that.

Case in point, one day on the South Holston last summer, I was seriously slaying the fish. One after another. Probably landed 25 to 30 trout in two hours. Meanwhile, this guy upstream wades downstream until he was nearly right on top of me, literally casting to the same fish. Then, informs me that he has to see the fly I’m fishing with.

Yeah, in your dreams…

And no, he wasn’t catching anything. Nada. Nothing. And no, I never showed him my fly, neither. Also, the really funny thing is, the hole where he’d been fishing was the exact spot, where I’d hooked and fought a 22-inch wild brown trout. One of the most incredible fish fights of my life.

So that’s the last of my free fly fishing lessons for now. Oh, except for this.

Probably the best way to start fly fishing is to just go off by yourself in a remote wilderness area. And there, you’ll learn by trial and error. Moreover, one of the easiest techniques to catch fish is to simply tie a single bead head nymph to your leader. Like a size 14 to 20 Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail, or something similar. Then, just drift this fly through the swifter waters at the start of every pool you come to. You can catch a lot of trout this way. And incidentally, most of a fish’s diet is subsurface invertebrates, not dries on the surface. So you’ll usually have way more luck fishing nymphs than dry flies. And yes, that’s how I fish most of the time.

And now, without further ado, at long last, I’m going to reveal my list of recommended fly fishing gear, along with a few comments and tips. This is the bare minimum list of fishing gear that I’d recommend to get started fly fishing, so you can get to the river. Have some fun fly fishing, and surely earn some free tips and lessons from some of the more experienced fly fishermen.

But just don’t ever forget the most important free lesson of them all, which goes something like this:

No, fly fishing isn’t really about catching as many fish as you can, slaying the fish all day long, or even catching just one or two of them. Nope. It’s about getting outside in the great outdoors, finding the fish at long last, casting a dry to them, and then feeling the lightening strike inside your heart when that trout inevitably rises to your mystery fly. Then, you set the hook, swiftly, just right.

But, in the end, it’s you who’s hooked on fly fishing…

Fly fisherman gets hooked to the art of fly fishing when landing a fine brown trout.
WARNING: Fly fishermen often get hooked to the art of fly fishing after landing their first trout. In other words, it’s an addiction.

That said, here’s my recommended list of essential fly fishing gear and apparel that you’ll need to equip yourself with for your first fly fishing experience. Or that might even enhance some of your arsenal of standard fly fishing gear, if you’re a more advanced fly fisherman, or woman.



I put Olay moisturizer on my face prior to fly fishing to prevent sun damage. I use Olay because the formula does NOT sting my eyes, like a lot of other SPF 15 moisturizer products. Some guys might say that it’s “g*#” to use this brand. But they’ll be the ones with a sun-damaged face, like mine already is.


Put your Chacos on before, during, and after you fly fish. You can also hike and wet wade in them in the warmer months. Talk about versatile. Durable and comfortable sandals. I know this, cause I was once a whitewater raft guide.


Smartwool base layers can be used for your backpack camping needs, as well. The merino wool does NOT itch the skin, and is comfortable, dry (wicks great), and warm.


I’ve enjoyed fly fishing with my Costa Del Mar Sunglasses. I own two pairs! The polarized lenses really do reduce surface glare on the water, enabling one to see the trout beneath the water’s surface. My lenses are yellow for low-light conditions. But most people will prefer gray, copper, brown, or turquoise lenses.


I recommend either Simms waders or Patagonia. Both are excellent. For wade boots, I usually buy an economical brand, as all wade boots will fall apart and fail over time. The fishpond wade belt, wade staff holster, etc. are badass, for sure.

Also, don’t forget to bring water with you to rehydrate on the river. For that, I totally recommend the Katadyn BeFree 0.6L Water Filter. It has a fast flow rate, is lightweight and very convenient with a wide mouth. In other words, it’s the best water filter for a remote hike-in fly fishing adventure, which is what I primarily use it for.


I recommend either buying an Orvis or Simms fly fishing vest. So you should visit those fly shops. I’ve ONLY owned two fly fishing vests in my life. Both were Orvis brand. Last year, I patched my Orvis fly fishing vest, rather than replace it, as the threads were tearing apart on the right shoulder. My previous fly fishing vest lasted over 10 years. I plan to part with my current Orvis Fly Fishing Vest when they pry it out of my cold dead hands.


For a low-cost, high quality fly rod, I’m recommending the Fenwick Aetos Fly Fishing Rod. It’s probably the best affordable fly rod for the price, which also performs better than many high-end rods, according to fly casting experts, which I’m not. However, if you have more bucks than me, then I’d recommend this 5 weight fly rod:
G Loomis NRX+ LP 590-4 Fly Rod : New for 2020
I personally own a G Loomis Switch Rod. And it casts and fights the steelies like a dream.



Thank you for reading my post about How To Get A Free Fly Fishing Lesson. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, please subscribe so that I can send you notices about my future posts. Subscribing is FREE and I don’t spam or share your email. Also, please share this post with your friends, family members, and co-workers on the usual social networks. This will help support this blog and grow my audience.


Please note, as well, that this post contains affiliate links, meaning, I recommended products and services I’ve used or know well and I may receive a commission if you purchase them too (at no additional cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Featured Image:

The featured image introducing this article is a Photo by Henry Fraczek on Unsplash.

After a long career in the publishing industry, Gary Alan left his corporate job to pursue his next adventures in life as a blogger, writer, investor, fly fisherman, hiker, and traveler. He is the author of the adventure fiction book, 'Big Thunder-Hearted River'.

2 thoughts on “How To Get A Free Fly Fishing Lesson”

  1. I hope this article was satire. Otherwise it was very condescending and reeked of hubris. It over complicated the process of fly fishing and reinforced many negative stereotypes. Fly fishing doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it have to be difficult to learn. You can buy an inexpensive beginner combo (rod, reel, line and flies) and as long as you find some eager fish you will find success. I would never tell a person on the river what fly I am using because I always have extras to give out to them. Love people, catch fish.

    • Well, I’m glad you stopped by. Hopefully, Scott, we’ll meet on the river sometime. And I’ll look forward to it. Perhaps, you’ll have a few patterns I can try? Tight lines!

Comments are closed.