Well it is to me anyway. But variety is so easily achieved in so many ways. Different species, different types of waters in different parts of the UK and the world, different techniques, different seasons and weather conditions and different water conditions and fly hatches, just to mention some.I seem to easily get bored if I do too much of the same thing but it’s very rare I get bored enjoying this wonderful sport of ours. The idea of this blog is to give you a few ideas to try out for yourself.

To me it is very enjoyable to try for different species. Whilst being a professional fly fishing guide and instructor and fishing a lot on my local River Wharfe, I regularly travel further afield to enjoy my fishing – within Yorkshire, to other parts of the north of England and other parts of the UK and to other parts of the world – particularly North America.

I have always kept accurate records of my fish catches and I was surprised to find out from those records that since 2010, without specifically trying to, I have caught 15 different species of WILD game fish on the fly.

Alaska Bears 2

Here’s the list:

  • Trouts – Brown, Rainbow, Sea, Cutthroat, Cutbow
  • Chars – Dolly Varden, Brook Trout
  • Salmon – Atlantic, Coho, Chum, Sockeye, Pink
  • Grayling – European, Arctic
  • Whitefish – Mountain

And that doesn’t include non-game fish such as Pike. The Pike that I catch on fly in Loch Lomond are VERY game. I’ll be there next week trying that again.

Loch Lomond Pike

My records tell me that since I caught my very first one in 1971 I have caught 5,269 Brown Trout. And my best ever fly caught game fish was a 25.75 inch wild Brownie from Malham Tarn in 2014. Not weighed but certainly well over 6lbs and probably approaching 7lbs – check it out for yourself.

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Having caught so many I often wonder why do I still want to go and catch more Brown Trout…but I do. Just this last few days I’ve had some great sport with them on different stretches of my local River Wharfe and River Aire. I guess to most of us fly fishing here in the UK it’s either stocked fish or wild Brownies or Salmon that we are most likely to encounter.   I do fish for Salmon but usually not very successfully, so it’s mainly Browns that I go for. I am mainly a river fly fisher and I much prefer dry fly fishing to nymphing although I do like to fish duo/’klink & dink’ when there are not many fish rising.

But, although I don’t, it would be very easy to just limit yourself to fishing for Brown Trout and have great variety of fly fishing both here in the UK and overseas.

And even after my 40+ years of fly fishing variety there are still a number of aspects of this great sport that I’d like to try and fish I’d like to catch. I’ve never caught an Arctic Char on fly or a Lake Trout, a Steelhead Trout or a Chinook Salmon. I mean to try to add some of those to my list. If you know of a water here in the UK where I might catch an Arctic Char on fly please do let me know.

And although I have been lucky to fish in many amazing places there are more on my list that I want to experience. New Zealand is top of my list – hopefully for a big Brown or two on south island and big Rainbows on north island. Chile sounds amazing but whether I ever get there we’ll see. I keep getting drawn back to Alaska. My three favourite places in the world – to visit and to fly fish – are the Yorkshire Dales, Scotland and Alaska. My wife and I have had four fantastic trips to Alaska and visited many different areas of the state. Last year I specifically chose to go to the Lake Clark area to search for top class Grayling fly fishing and my results way exceeded my expectations. I landed over 100 upto nearly 3lbs with many 2lb+ fishing coming to a single dry fly fished on a 9’ 5-weight set-up. I’m itching to get back so hopefully I will next year or the year after.

2lb 14oz Arctic Grayling

2lb 14oz Arctic Grayling

Montana and Yellowstone is another favourite fly fishing destination of mine that I hope to return to. The main native species are Cutthroat Trout (of which there a number of separate sub-species) and Mountain Whitefish. I’ve had very enjoyable dry fly sport with those two species while huge Bison and Elk roamed nearby. But one of my most memorable catches was a 4oz Brook Trout caught in Rock Creek near Missoula, Montana. It is the only Brookie that I’ve ever caught. I knew they lived there and I had a chance of catching one but when I did I was very very happy. Very distinctive with its colouration, shape and long jaw. I wish I’d had a photo of it but as there were fish rising I decided to pop it quickly back.

Whilst I have grown to dislike catching stocked fish I can see that there is very enjoyable fishing to be had on stocked Trout lakes. My favourite lakes for wild Browns are Ullswater in the Lake District and Malham Tarn here in Yorkshire – the former for lots of perfect small fish and the latter for the chance of an occasional very large fish.

So I hope that’s given you a few ideas. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.