Top 5 Places in the World to Fly Fish! – 2019 Edition

Colorado waters

If you could go anywhere in the world to fly fish, where would you go? It’s every fly anglers dream to not only fly fish, but to travel the world doing so.

By no means are these in any order at all, these are simply the top 5 places for fly fishing in 2019. 

The rankings are based off what fly anglers look for when travelling. For instance, types of fish and their size. This is the biggest factor. 

Other things that are taken into consideration are: season length, number of fish-able waters, excursions and our personal favorite, cost.

Fly fishing in New Zealand!

You need to make New Zealand a fly fishing destination for three reasons: quiet solitude, beautiful scenery, and trouts.

New Zealand is separated by two land masses: the North Island and the South Island, with a combined population of ~4.9 million (2018).  New Zealand is known for its long stretches of rivers. These offer any fly angler that ‘escape’ from crowded areas where the only thing between you and the trout is your fly rod.

New Zealand offers many streams, rivers, and lakes. It offers over 10 rivers that are over 100 kilometres long with many more that are under that length.

The North Island rivers are known for its rainbow trout catches while the South Island is known for its brown trout catches. Although these two species dominate these waters, there are still many more different species to catch.

Regardless of which waters you visit, you’ll see trout swim to the surface water hunting their nymphs.

Many tourists that have caught large trout have been accompanied by local fly fishing guides. Hiring a local guide who knows the areas and the waters is imperative. They can guide you to certain ‘hotspots’ and show you what flies work best.  Non-local flies might not work as they aren’t a part of the New Zealand trouts diet.

It’s not recommended to cheap out on hiring a local fly fishing guide for only one day. Although they will guide you in the right direction to catch trout, you might be out of luck as far as the weather goes. By booking a guide for a few days, you’ll be sure to have a higher chance of finding optimal weather conditions for catching trout.

Last thing you want is to book a fly fishing trip to a new country and return without any trout pictures!

 

Fly fishing in Iceland – Land of monster trout!

Don’t worry, despite its name, Iceland isn’t covered in ice and snow. You’ll be fine with fly fishing and won’t actually need your ice fishing gear.

Although you see ice and snow, it has quite the diverse landscapes ranging from green lands, ice lands, volcanoes and bodies of water. To top this fly fishing trip, you also have the chance to see the Northern Lights.

If this was an infomercial, right about now you’d hear “but wait there’s more”. You also have the opportunity to fly fish in Glacier waters!

Something to note about travelling with your used fly fishing gear is that when you arrive in Iceland, they will need to sterilize your equipment. This is strictly so they don’t get any invasive species in their waters.

This can be time consuming at the airport, so you can either bring new fly line, backing and flies or you can choose to sterilize your equipment yourself ahead of time. Note that in some cases, even if you sterilize your equipment yourself ahead of time, they still might do it themselves as a precaution.

Is there good fishing in Iceland?

There absolutely is! Iceland is a dream of a trip for any fly angler.

Iceland offers hundreds of private salmon fishing rivers. Salmon fishing is open for 90 days per season, starting in June and ending in mid September. The hottest time for catching these salmon is in mid July. During this time you will catch them heading upstream to spawn.

Many rivers also offer big browns. Unlike salmon fishing, the brown trout season opens up in May and ends same time as Salmon season, mid September. With the optimal time being in the later months of the season for catching big browns.

What fish can you catch in Iceland?

Iceland waters are known to be filled with salmon, brown trouts and arctic char. Since these fish are on the larger scale, it’s advised to bring larger classed fishing equipment. Check out our recommendations for fly rods, fly reels, and fly line

Do you need a fishing license in Iceland?

In short, YES you need a fishing permit/license to fish in Iceland. All rivers in Iceland, as noted above, as private. To make this more a bit more complicated, you need different permits daily.

Each river and species require their own permits. There are different permits for salmon, trout and char.

As a recommendation, it’s advised to look at getting a permit ahead of time and not the day of.

Fly fishing in Alaska!

Alaska is known for its scenery and wildlife. It is home to Grizzlies and many more massive sized fish.

Does it end here? No, Alaska has much more to offer to its visitors:

  • Glaciers
  • Whale Watching
  • Cruises
  • Northern Lights

Having a destination that offers more than just fishing is an ideal destination. This is important as in most cases you’ll only fly fish for the earlier part of the day. Having other excursions to pass the time is essential.

Alaska fishing season

So you read this article up to here, or you already had made up your mind to go to Alaska for your next fly fishing trip. When do you decide to go? If your purpose for the trip is for fly fishing, then it’ll be helpful to know Alaska’s fishing seasons.

May – Trophy sized Kings.

June – Trophy sized Kings.

July – Salmon month. Sockeye Salmon. Big Kings. Rainbow Trouts. Arctic Graylings. 

August – Sockeye Salmon. Kings. Rainbow Trouts. Steelheads. Silver Salmon.

September –  Sockeye Salmon. Kings. Rainbow Trouts. Steelheads.

Looking to Fly Fish Alaskan Salmon?

You’re in luck. Salmon fishing starts in May and lasts up until September. During this time you have a few different choices of the types of salmon you want to catch (if you’re trying to be picky of course).

The initial two months will give you the opportunity to catch trophy sized Kings. During this time, your patience will be tested as these large fish aren’t great in numbers. If you have a choice to pick between the two months, pick the latter month as this is when their numbers and eating habits start to increase.

July is the hottest month for Salmon fishing. Not only can you get trophy sized fish, you also have a greater chance of catching them because of their increase in numbers. This is the hottest month for fly anglers to travel to Alaska.

If the previous stated months don’t work, then rest assured as August and September are both fantastic months for Salmon fishing. This is usually when they’re laying their spawn. As they do this, Rainbow Trouts also make an appearance as they rush to eat these. So as you’re fishing for Salmon, you’ll get the random bonus Rainbow trout on the end of your line!

What month is the best to visit Alaska?

No matter what you’re fishing for, the best months are late July and August. During this time you have Salmon laying their spawn, with Trouts trying to eat these. Both of which result in aggressive fish, one protecting territory/ spawn and the other aggressively trying to eat.

Having a good presentation here can have drastic results in catching these fish.

Alaska fishing lodges

Staying at a fishing lodge is a great for any experience leveled fly angler. Regardless if you’re a beginner or a ‘pro’, you’re guaranteed that you’ll learn something.

Not only will you have a place to stay, but you’ll also have a local guide that will take you fly fishing for the day. You’ll be taken on scenic routes, and be shown fishing spots that won’t disappoint.

Having your own gear at a fishing lodge is also optional. Most times, you’ll be given temporary fly fishing equipment – even including waders, to fish for the day.

Depending on your stay, each day will consist of different routes. This means that you have greater chance of catching different species of fish.

Do I need a fly fishing license/permit to fish in Alaska?

Yes, you will need a fishing license to fish in Alaska. The only time this is not true is if, you’re under the age of 16 or older than 60 years old.

To add to this, if you’re fishing for King Salmon, it’s also required that you purchase a stamp. Without this, you can’t fish this species.

Here are the prices for a Sports License:

14 days: $105.00

7 days:  $70.00

3 days: $45.00

1 day: $25.00

Below are the prices for King Salmon Stamps:

14 days: $75.00

7 days:  $45.00

3 days: $30.00

1 day: $15.00

Kind reminder that the above listed prices are in USD.

 

 

Colorado Fly fishing!

If you’ve never heard of the Gold Medal Waters in Colorado, then you’re in the right spot!

The waters with this classification are the highest ranking waters. This ranking is based on the waters having at least 60 pounds of trout per acre. To make things better, at least 12 of these trouts must measure over 14 inches long.

In short, per acre of water you fish in, your chances are increased for catching trouts that are over 14 inches long!

These waters are monitored on regular basis to ensure you have a quality fly fishing experience. This continuous state of regulations often upgrades rivers into this classification, and at times, delists others.

Here is a list of the Gold Medal Ranking rivers (2019 version):

  1. Animas River
  2. Arkansas River
  3. Blue River
  4. Colorado River
  5. Fryingpan River
  6. Gore Creek
  7. Gunnison River
  8. North Platte River
  9. Rio Grande
  10. Roaring Fork River
  11. South Platte River

Here is a list of the Gold Medal Ranking lakes (2019 version):

  1. North Delaney Butte Lake
  2. Spinney Mountain Reservoir
  3. Steamboat Lake

Where can I fish in Colorado?

Fly fishing, especially in a new destination is often the hardest.

Luckily you don’t have to worry about finding a new spot as the State of Colorado already ranks it’s waters with the Gold Medal Waters badge.

All you have to do is just pick a river or lake you want to fish on with a Gold Medal ranking.

Often times I recommend hiring a local fishing guide, but in the rare occasion such as this, it’s definitely not needed.

What kind of fish can you catch in Colorado?

When you fish in Colorado, the majority of the fish you catch will be trouts. The waters offer many different species of trouts; Brook trouts, Brown trouts, Rainbow trouts, and Cutthroat trouts.

Is there good fishing in Colorado?

Yes, Colorado has over 322 miles of waters that are rated high for the large sized trout per acre.  This means that per acre of water, you will be surrounded by trouts.

Since there are many different species, it’s highly recommended that you’re prepared to bring different flies. If one isn’t working, quickly switch your presentation and stay persistent!

Do I need a Fishing License or a Habitat Stamp to fish in Colorado (non-resident vs resident)?

You probably already guessed it but YES you do. Below are the listed charges/ fees for when you go fly fishing (or just regular fishing) in Colorado!

Licenses for Residents:

Adult annual: $26

Senior annual: $1 (yes, $1)

Licenses for Non-Residents:

Annual: $56

5-day: $21

Habitat Stamps:

Habitat stamp: $10

Lifetime Habitat stamp : $300.25

Additional Fees (Applies to both residents & non-residents):

Second rod stamp: $5

1-day fishing: $9

Additional day fishing: $5 (if you purchased a temporary fishing license and want to add single days)

How long is my Fishing License active?

Annual fishing licenses in Colorado are April 1 until March 31.

 

 

Fly Fishing in Ireland!

Why fly fish in Ireland? Ireland is one of the hidden gems that is often overlooked. When you first arrive in Ireland, you’ll see exactly why it’s one of the top places to fly fish in the world.

You’ll see many glittering lakes, rivers that meet with green fields, and many spring-fed streams from high in the mountains.

Ireland offers many breweries that welcome millions of tourist every year. So if you enjoy fly fishing and beers, Ireland is for you!

Ireland offers a ton of other excursions which include breathtaking scenery. It’s worldly renowned for its stunning scenery and unspoiled areas.

There are often many festivals that you can also visit to meet locals or other travelers.

What is the fishing season like in Ireland?

Ireland is famous for its brown trouts. There’s different trout fisheries with different opening season dates. All these fisheries range between February 15th and March 17th.

The season comes to an end on the dates between September 15th and October 12, with the majority closing on September 30th.

What time of year is best for fly fishing in Ireland?

If you’re planning on making Ireland your next fly fishing trip, make sure to travel at the beginning of the season. The reason for this is that trouts will be more aggressive for food to recuperate energy lost from spawning and limited winter food supply.

If you’re used to using Mayflies, then April to July are the months for you. Ireland is oddly known for its mayfly hatches during this time.

Do you need a fishing license in Ireland?

Yes you need a fishing license. In Ireland it is legally required to have a fishing license when fishing for Salmon or trout.

Although despite having the fishing license, it still doesn’t mean you can fish. The reason being is there’s a permit from fisheries owners that is additionally required.

These permits range in cost from 20 to 50 Euros per day. These permits are sold separately. Depending on where you’re fishing, some of the more exclusive fisheries tend to cost more than this.

Here are the costs for Salmon Licenses:

  • Every region fishing (annual): 100 Euros
  • Under 18 years of age – every Region fishing (annual): 10 Euros
  • One region fishing (annual) : 56 Euros
  • All regions fishing (21 days): 40 Euros
  • All regions fishing (1 day): 20 Euros

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