Fly Fishing: Social Distancing in its Purest Form

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you know about the COVID-19 pandemic that the world is experiencing. Fly shops are closing, restaurants are offering curbside pickup, and many areas are issuing stay at home orders for their residents. With these orders in place, the tasks of everyday life are currently on hold, which makes this a perfect time to get into fly fishing.

Life Has Slowed Down

Social distancing at a local Maryland Trout stream.
Photo by Rob Morgan

With life moving at a slower pace, many people are looking for new activities to try. This is an excellent time to get someone on the water who otherwise wouldn’t. The beauty in fly fishing is that there is so much more to it than the fishing itself. It serves as an excellent way to spend time with a family member, and appreciate the outdoors.

What Should I Do If the Fishing is Slow?

Pack the car full of snacks and beverages for a first time fishing trip
Photo by Owen Rossi

The quality of fishing is one thing that cannot be controlled. That being said, it is important to have some other activities planned to keep your first timer’s experience positive. We recommend bringing a cooler full of their favorite snacks and beverages. This way you can always say, “At least we have food!”

Pick the Fishing Day Wisely

Pick a nice day for a first time fly fishing trip, like this one!
Photo by Owen Rossi

Picking your fishing day wisely is perhaps the most important rule to keep in mind. Since you are introducing someone to the sport, it is your job to make sure they have the best possible first experience. That means checking the weather! The last thing you want is your first timer’s experience to be a cold, wet, and fishless one!

Get Them on Some Fish

A Wild Brown Trout being released back into the stream
Photo by Owen Rossi

We understand that this is much easier said than done, but you should really do your best to get your first-timer on some fish. Although this is not a guarantee, there are some useful methods to increase a newbies chance at catching a fish. This means nymphing! Although nymphing is not nearly as glorious as fishing drys, it is a lot easier and at times more effective. Nymphing is also an easier concept to understand. “Just watch the bobber, and when it goes under, lift!”

Document the Trip

A happy angler on her first fish on the fly!
Photo by Owen Rossi

Make sure you bring some kind of camera on your trip. Catching your first fish on a fly is a very special moment that deserves to be documented. To the extent your newbie becomes increasingly interested in fly fishing after their first experience, they’ll want to be able to look back at their first fish years down the road. It’s also a great time to make fun of the way they used to hold fish!

Article and photos by content team member, Owen Rossi. See some of his past work @nativerelease on Instagram!

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