The essential fly fishing equipment: fly rod, fly reel, fly line, and flies on a wooden table | Fly Fishing Outfitters

Trying To get Started in Flyfishing? What Fly Fishing Gear Do You Need Before Heading Out?

Like getting started in any new gear intensive activity, the feeling of being overwhelmed at the amount of gear, gadgets and even clothing can cause some apprehension.  Flyfishing is no different, in fact it might be one of the most intimidating sports there is.  Figuring out what equipment to invest in can be a complex set of decisions.  In this article we will try to take some of the guess work out of what it takes to get out on the water without breaking the bank.

Yes, polarized glasses, hats, and vests are great and make you feel comfortable, but we suggest you start with some essential fishing equipment. After you spend some time honing your skills, you will have a better understanding of what you need and can invest in more equipment to make your hobby easier and more enjoyable.

If you join Fly Fishing Outfitters for a guided fly-fishing trip, we will provide all the essential gear—not to mention the priceless tips you can get from our professional, Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing guides.

For now, though, let’s focus on the indispensable gear you will need.

Essential Fly-Fishing Gear

You need a fly-fishing rod, which is slightly different from other fishing rods. What sets fly fishing apart is that the bait, in this case, the fly, can be almost weightless. The weight of the line carries the fly and helps it land in the water. In Flyfishing you are casting the line not the fly.

Your basic equipment includes a fly rod, fly reel, fly line, and flies.

Fly Rod

The best way to get started with a Fly rod/reel/line is to invest in a outfit or kit.  These are all inclusive set ups where everything is made to work together.  Also there are several introductory outfits/kits that are much less expensive.

There are a few things to consider before jumping into a new rod/reel/line outfit. You need to ask yourself a couple basic questions first.

  1. Where am I going to be doing my flyfishing?
  2. What species of fish am I going to be targeting?
  3. Does the rod come with a warranty?

The answers to these questions will steer you towards the right  fly-fishing Outfit/kit.  Plan on spending somewhere between just under $200.00 to about $400.00 for a entry level rod/reel/line combo that comes with a manufactures warranty.


There is no fly fishing without flies. Flies mimic the natural environment where fish live and trick them into thinking they are terrestrial or aquatic insects.

You will find hundreds of flies to choose from. Some are perfect for saltwater fishing while others are ideal for fresh water fishing. Some flies imitate terrestrial insects while others pretend to be aquatic ones.

Depending on where you will be fishing the most, you should get the flies that resemble the surrounding environment.

There are three main fly types to choose from:

  • Dry flies look like flying insects that just landed on the water. Dry flies float on the surface of the water.
  • Nymphs imitate aquatic insects that float or are just below the surface of the water.
  • Streamers are flies that sink below the surface of the water to simulate leeches and other aquatic animals.

The choice of flies depends on many variables—even the time of day: you will find different insects at dawn and before sunset, so you should change flies depending on the time to present those that accurately represent the natural surroundings.

Likewise, different insects live in spring and fall. In addition, the same insect is at a different life stage in spring and summer. That is why there are so many different types of flies to choose from.

The best thing to do is to ask a local fly-fishing guide for tips on the type of flies that fish will go for in a particular setting.

A Few Basic Gadgets

In order to make you time on the water more efficient and hassle free you will need to accumulate a few necessary, inexpensive tools of the trade.  Leaders, Tippets, Indicators and some splitshot weights are going to be needed.  All of these items are less then about $10.00 a piece.  A pair of line cutters (nippers) and a forceps will go along way to helping you too. And if the Fishing Gods are smiling down on you a landing net is a very important tool. A net will save you in lost flies and having to remove hooks from you own hand (Trust me).

Waders and Boots

If you are planning on perusing a Trout/Salmon or other species that inhabit cold water them at some point you will want to invest in some  Waders and Boots.

As you become more confident in you Flyfishing abilities and want to begin to branch out you’ll at least have the basics covered at this point.  It’s also important to find a local flyshop that you feel comfortable going in and asking questions or getting some help.

Learn from the Experts

Once you have your essential gear, you will probably look forward to trying it out. The fastest way to learn is with the help of a guide. Our Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing guides have been fishing around Vail, Colorado for their whole life. They know which streams are best throughout the year, depending on the weather, sunlight, time of day, and time of year. They will also help you with your casting techniques.

The beauty of fly fishing is that it doesn’t require any particular physical skills—just plenty of practice. You need to work on your casting techniques with your wrists, arms, and overall body posture. The aim is to help your line fly far and land naturally in the water. The fish are then tricked into thinking that an insect just landed on the water and will likely take the bait.

Your fly-fishing guides will show you the most common overhead cast. Once you have tackled it, they can guide you with more casting techniques for shorter, longer, or more complicated situations.

And when you need some extra gear, our shop carries a wide range such as fishing rods, reels, fly-fishing apparel, fishing bags and packs, and accessories. We would be happy to guide you when you make your purchases.

Call us at (970) 845-8090 or visit our retail store at 1060 W Beaver Creek Blvd, Avon, CO 81620 to pick up your fly-fishing gear and discover the thrill of fly fishing!

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