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Beginner’s Guide To Fly Fishing

Up here in the rugged wilderness of Northern Manitoba, there’s a lot of good fishing to be had. One of our favourite things to do on a warm summer’s day is to get out on the water and fly fish for Arctic Grayling.

Don’t know how to fly fish? Don’t worry—this guide will teach you everything you need to know.

What Is Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is a style of fishing that uses a kind of bait known as flies. These aren’t fruit flies—they’re extremely lightweight artificial lures designed to resemble small bugs. A thick fishing line, known as a fly line, is used to compensate for the low weight of the lure.

Different techniques and equipment are used for fly fishing—let’s get started by talking about the gear you’ll need to purchase.

Equipment You’ll Need for Fly Fishing

We recommend getting quality equipment for your first-time fly fishing—it’ll keep you in the sport longer. You don’t have to break the bank, either—you can find a decent fly fishing starter kit for about $200. Here’s what you’ll need to start fishing:

  • A fly rod

  • A fly reel

  • Fly line, including backing, leader, and tippet

  • Flies

  • Other fishing equipment (sunglasses, a hat, a tackle box, a net, a fishing vest, waders, etc.)

The miscellaneous equipment isn’t strictly necessary (though it’s very helpful)—what you really need is a rod, reel, line, and flies.

You’ll notice that fly line is quite a bit heavier and thicker than regular fishing line—that’s to add some weight to your cast because the lures are so light.

Backing is typically quite colourful—it’s mostly kept in your reel, but it helps you fight fish that are swimming far away.

The leader and tippet both serve to disguise your line, making it look like your flies are floating alone on top of (or slightly below) the water’s surface.

One of the reasons we recommend fly fishing starter kits is that they come with equipment that’s entirely compatible—that makes it easy to find rods, reels, and lines that all work together.

Choosing Your Flies

There are three different types of flies we recommend when you’re trying to catch Arctic Grayling with us—dry flies, nymphs, and wet flies. There are hundreds of different styles of flies to choose from—for beginners, we highly recommend the Elk Hair Caddis dry fly.

Preparing Your Rod, Reel, Line, and Fly

You’ve got your equipment—let’s put it all together. You’re going to have to learn to tie some knots—here’s a knot-tying guide to teach you every knot you’ll need to know to fly fish.

The basics are as follows:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the reel to the rod.

  • Tie your backing to your fly line using an Albright knot.

  • Spool your backing and fly line.

  • Using an Arbor knot, tie your backing to your reel.

  • Make a loop at the end of your fly line using a braid knot.

  • Attach the leader to the fly line using a Loop to Loop knot.

  • Attach the tippet to the leader using a Double Surgeon’s knot.

  • Attach the fly to the tippet using an improved Clinch knot.

You’re ready to fly fish!

Learning To Cast

Casting is probably the most complicated part of fly fishing—it’s an art form, and there are a number of different ways of casting.

Remember—the goal here is to use the weight of the line to create momentum—there’s no lure to propel the line forward once cast.

In our experience, the best way to learn casting is by watching—this YouTube video by Capt. Chris Myers can teach you better than if we were to write down the instructions.


We hope this guide has encouraged you to start fly fishing. It’s one of the most rewarding ways to fish—when you catch your first Arctic Grayling after mastering the mesmerizing basic fly fishing cast, we promise you’ll be as hooked as the fish you caught.

Here at Munroe Lake Lodge, we offer several fishing retreats; there are tons of fish in the nearby lakes and rivers. There are lots of different species to catch, too. Plan a trip to visit us today!

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