What Size Flies for Trout

What Size Flies for Trout?

For effective trout fishing, you need to have the correct fly size. You do not want to miss your catch and keep asking yourself, what size flies for trout? Well, the answer is that it shall depend on a number of factors and situations as we shall discuss in this article. 

By the time we’re done, you shall be knowledgeable and confident enough to get the right fly size and subsequently your first catch. For beginners, you can start from the basics while experts can skip to the factors.

What Size Flies for Trout?   

Trout is a kind of oily fish found in fresh-water lakes and rivers. However, some species of trout partly live in the sea and thereafter migrate to lakes and rivers. Their body color patterns differ according to their habitat with the colors and partners matching their surroundings.

Trout differ in size. Their size is heavily influenced by their habitat. Small to medium size trout fish shall be found in streams and rivers. Lake trout are medium to large sizes. The fly size you shall use when fishing at a stream shall differ from that you use in a lake, ice, or fish pond. Additionally, a dry fly might be a different size than a wet fly.

What Is Fly Fishing?   

Different from traditional fishing, fly fishing comes with a different approach. Instead of providing a worm or insect, you use a fly to lure the fish into taking your hook. A fly is made to resemble the expected prey of your fish. 

Traditional fishing lines are made to be light with the hook end designed with more weight. This is what makes the bait sink to where the fish are. However, with fly fishing, the fly is the light part while the line is what carries the weight to immerse the attached artificial fly to the fish location.

So, What Determines the Fly Size? 

Fly for catching trout comes in different sizes. These sizes are suitable for different instances of fishing. We shall first explain the size to help our beginners understand. For easy identification, the smaller the figure of the size, the larger the actual size of the fly. 

What Determines the Fly Size

For instance, fly size #4 is large compared to size #18 which is small. There are lots of sizes between the largest and smallest flies which shall enable you to find the most appropriate by considering the below factors:

The season 

Seasons determine the size and behavior of fish. As we said earlier, a fly is an artificial bait. Therefore, you shall be trying to trick the fish to think that your fly is actually an insect, worm, or any other kind of trout prey. 

During winter, trout swim shallow on the waters since they are cold-water fish types. By swimming shallow, we expect their prey to be largely shallow swimming small fish, worms, and also insects. Likewise, winter isn’t the best time to hatch for most insects. Therefore, we expect a larger population of smaller insects compared to large ones. 

If you are planning on fly fishing trout that feed on such insects, your fly shall be smaller in size. Fly sizes of less than 18 shall work best.

On the other hand, winter makes trout sink deeper in a sort of cold water. Since trout don’t like warm waters, more chances are that they shall not be around or interested in chasing prey during the day. Considering that most insects set to patrol in the evening and during the night, the best time shall be during the night and evening. 

Summer is the time for buzzing insect hatches, therefore, we expect a lot of large insects like grasshoppers and such. The fly size during summer shall be larger to the extent of available insects. The same shall apply to spring.

The easiest method is hiking around the waters you plan to fly fish in and check the kind of insects and other prey available. Take note of the size and pick a fly that is average the size of insects you observed.

Choosing according to the insect or prey type 

Choosing Size Flies by Insect or Prey Type

What size flies for trout? Insects and worms of different kinds make up the prey of trout. For this reason, your fly size needs to match the available insects. As previously mentioned, insects differ according to the seasons. 

The geographical location of your fishing area also determines the insects available. As you can expect, different insects come in different sizes. The stage of an insect shall also affect the size.

To help you choose the correct fly size, again, take a walk around the place you plan to fly fish. Discover the different kinds of insects and their sizes. Also, check hidden areas for worms and other kinds of insects. Mark the sizes of available insects and choose similar fly sizes. 

Note that you shall have to consider a number of sizes and colors now that you do not expect the insects to match sizes and colors. You shall also have to try out different sizes, but at least, try the sizes the same as the available insect sizes.

Deciding on the fly size by assessing the fish

As we mentioned earlier, the size and preference of trout fish that you expect in different waters and positions differ. Sometimes, you might use larger fly sizes only to catch nothing while some other time a smaller fly does better. Therefore, it is important that you assess the preferences of the available fish.

I assume that you already have a collection of large to small fly sizes. Assuming that you got the color right, start by testing with your largest fly to the smallest. You shall find a size with consistent results while other sizes shall not work. Use the fly size or sizes that respond better with the trout.

Considering the hook size

The hook size shall largely affect the size of the fly you are going to use. Generally, the smaller the hook gets, the larger the fly you shall use. However, you should not compromise other factors such as the prey size and season with the hook size.

Choosing your fly size according to your intention 

Your only intention is not to catch the trout. Sometimes, you want to experiment on their trends. You might, for instance, use a larger fly to catch the attention of trout before setting to catch them with a smaller fly size.

You might also sink a small or large fly to test for the trout fish concentration area before you embark on intuitive correct sizes for a catch. Therefore, the purpose and intentions you have are a major determinant of the fly size you are going to use.

Finding help

When going trout fishing in a foreign area, it advisable that you seek help. You do not want to spend days testing for the right size without a catch. Although it sounds or might be adventurous, you might lose morale before the actual thing.

It is therefore advisable that you find a guide or maybe a local who’s knowledgeable and ready to help you around. 

Most at times, they have been in that area and understand all the variables that shall influence fly size selection. If you’re an enthusiast of learning from others instead of experiencing it yourself, this is the way to go. You might have to spend some extra buck but most at times, you never get to regret it.

So, Does Fly Size Really Matter When Fly Fishing?

As seen in the above factors, the size automatically qualifies as one of the central reasons trout shall fall for your trap or not. A fly is an imitation of an insect. Fish do not get the time and pull resources to study the correct fly size to fall for. They swim around looking for their normal prey. We are the ones trying to provide immigration of this prey. 

Therefore, we have to intuitively match the size of the expected prey if we are going to get a catch. With the wrong size, fish shall swim past since it isn’t the prey it’s looking for. The question is, is your fly a prey or not?

A Final Word  

Whether you are starting a trout fishing sports activity or are out to catch the largest trout ever, you notice that the fly size shall be one of the major determinants of success. Different geographical areas have differently adapted trout fish. As we discover, different types of insects inhabit different positions and shall largely affect the effectiveness of the size of fly you shall use. 

Therefore, consider your intentions, check for the type of insects, and never forget about the season. For effective fly fishing, you shall notice that you got to consider a number of aspects other than size. We believe the question on what size flies for trout is answered, now do additional research on the color and other aspects to make the best fly fisher of this time.