In fly fishing, the flies are generally divided into imitation flies and attractor flies. The flies can also be broken up further into groups or categories. In this article we will cover, “What are the different types of flies for fly fishing?”
What are imitation flies?
Imitation flies copy or imitate an insect like a terrestrial bug, aquatic insect or specific baitfish, etc. As it resembles closely to a type of food. This fly can be used to “match the hatch,” when the fish are actively feeding on one food source.
If the fly fisherman knows the fish are feeding on a certain food, like a mayfly, then the angler would fish an imitation mayfly pattern.
Or another example is beetles getting blown onto the water and the trout feeding on them. The fly pattern might be the same size, color and profile as the actual beetle.
What are attractor flies?
Attractor flies on the other hand are more of a generic fly and attracts attention.
These flies might be a bigger or flashier fly. They could suggest a type of movement or feature, but not exactly copying the food. As an example, the fly could suggest a leech, baitfish or crawfish bait all in one, but not an exact match.
An attractor pattern might be used as a searching pattern. That is when there are no active insects or food that you can see are about, so you use a fly that can stand out and hopefully attract attention and a bite.
Different types of flies.
The flies can be further be divided up, however some of flies can cross into each other. Such as wet flies and streamers. Some anglers might classify one as another depending on their country and fly fishing terminology. Emergers can also be included. The basic different types of flies are:
- Dry flies
- Wet flies
- Saltwater flies
What are dry flies?
Dry flies sit on the top of the water. They imitate insects sitting on the surface like mayflies, midges, caddis flies, beetles, grasshoppers, ants, spiders and spinners to name a few types.
Dry flies can also be called dries for short. They can be fished still, drifting with the current or wind, or fished with small twitches or rapid pulls.
Using dry flies can be an exciting experience, as you can see the fish strike the fly.Fishing with Polarized sunglasses in clear waters, where you can see the fish cruise about is exhilarating.
Dries are used seasonally in lakes and rivers and are generally effective when fish are actively feeding on insects on top of the water.
Dry flies are normally made of light buoyant materials or are tied with hackles that help the fly sit on the water surface. A floatant spray or gel is applied to the dry fly to make it buoyant. A couple of false casts will also help dry it.
Some examples of dry flies are: Royal Wulff, Adams, Griffiths Gnat, Red Tag, March Brown, Blue Dun, Black Gnat, Royal Coachman, Black Bi-Visible and Elk Caddis to name a few.
What are wet flies?
Wet flies as the name suggests are flies fished in the water, either close to the bottom, mid water or underneath the water’s surface.
The flies can imitate small baitfish, leeches, frogs, tadpoles, crawdads, and swimming aquatic insects and beetles. Or insects that have fallen into the water and are sinking.
Wets can be fished just under the surface with dead drifts, slow twitches up to fast retrieves. Some times a take will occur as the fly is sinking.
For getting wet flies deep down, weighted or bead heads are effective, especially when combined with intermediate or sinkingfly lines.
Types of wet flies are: Grizzly King, Woolly Bugger, Muddler Minnow, Professor, Alexandra, Mallard and Claret, Butcher, Walker’s Killer, Mrs. Simpson and the Rabbit Fly.
What are nymphs?
Nymphs are a common worldwide food source in rivers and lakes.A good portion of a trout’s diet consists of nymphs in most seasons and waters.
Nymphs can be fished on the drop, drifting, and slow to medium retrieves, either just under the surface or deep down. They imitate the underwater stage of the insect’s life, like mayfly nymphs, stoneflies and damselfly nymphs.
A long leader and tippet is effective for nymphing, especially in clear or over fished waters. Fly fishing nymphs can be unweighted, weighted, or have bead heads.
Some examples of fly fishing nymph patterns are: Czech Nymph, Prince Nymph, Hares Ear Nymph, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Teeny Nymph and Baetis Nymph.
What are fly fishing streamers?
Artificial streamers can be colorful and have a mixture of assorted fly tying materials. Some streamers are also called bucktails, hairwing flies and tube flies. Depending on the angler or region, they might also be classified as a wet fly, or salmon fly.
Fishing streamers are bigger wet flies that can imitate baitfish like minnows, sculpins, fry and bigger appetizing food.
Streamers usually work best near the bottom or midwater and are generally quickly retrieved for salmon, bigger trout and also for saltwater fish.
Bigger flies like streamers, may also result in a bigger catch, although don’t be surprised when your four inch streamer lands a smaller twelve inch trout.
Types of fly fishing streamers are: Black Ghost, Olive Matuka, Thunder and Lightning, Alaskabou, Blue Doctor, Jock Scott, Silver Grey, Booby Fly, Black and White Bucktail, Black Demon and Mickey Finn.
What are saltwater flies?
Saltwater flies come in a wide range of assorted flies. From flies that imitate crab species, shrimp to bigger baitfish patterns, saltwater flies are the new frontier for fly tying, as the sport is relatively young.
The flies are designed to target a big variety of fish species like: bonefish, permit, striped bass, tarpon, salmon, trevally, tuna and even shark and sailfish.
Saltwater flies can be fished slowly on the bottom, or quickly retrieved midwater or on the surface, depending on the type and intended use.
Some saltwater flies are: Crazy Charlie, White Deceiver, Clouser Minnow, Dahlberg Diver, Surf Candy, Bonefish Gotcha and Lefty’s Deceiver.
Other categories of flies.
Some anglers also include emergers and fishing poppers into the different types of flies. There would be seven types then, depending on how you categorize the flies. As mentioned this would depend on the anglers view, countries terminology, etc. 1. Dry flies, 2. Wet flies, 3. Nymphs, 4. Streamers, 5. Saltwater flies, 6. Emergers, 7. Poppers.
What are emergers in fly fishing?
Emergers are insects hatching from a nymph stage to an adult stage. They struggle out of their shucks normally on the water’s surface film and emerge into an adult. The emerger might be a hatching mayfly, caddis, or midge.
For the emerger fly pattern, it can sit partially underneath the surface, or just in the waters surface film. Some emergers look like a cross between a nymph pattern and dry fly.
You can also fish an emerger pattern mid water.
Some types of emerger fly patterns are: CDC Midge Pupa, Pale Morning Dun, CDC Adams Emerger, Para Hackle Emerger and Caddis Emerger.
What are fishing poppers?
Popper flies are designed to make a lot of movement on the water’s surface with its cupped nose. Fishing poppers are a popular fly for bass.
Popper flies can also be used for saltwater as well.
Fly fishing fly tips.
(Try saying that ten times quickly.)
Dry flies, wets, nymphs and streamers are all effective in the right environment.
The secret to getting the most out your fishing is to use different techniques and test all the time. If the fishing is slow, don’t be afraid to try different types of flies and patterns. Try a slow retrieve or a quick long retrieve with an attractor pattern.
If the fish are not actively feeding close to the top, try fishing deeper down. Fish around structures like weed beds, rocks and submerged trees, deep pools, undercuts, dam walls, piers, drop-offs and channels.
Try inlets and outlets, where streams and rivers run into each other or enter a lake or pond. These place are worth fishing, especially if the weather is hot as oxygen levels in the water might be low.
Try fishing at dusk or dawn, or during the night when a lot of fish species are active. Click on Night Fishing for more information.
For learning how to cast for beginners, visit How To Fly Fish.
FAQ. (Frequently Asked Questions.)
Are nymphs, wet or dry flies?
Nymphs are generally fished under water so they called be called a wet fly. But generally they are classified as a nymph in its separate classification.
What are terrestrial insects?
Terrestrial insects live on the land. For fly fishing, a terrestrial insect could be beetle, ants, grasshoppers and crickets that have blown onto the water.
What are aquatic insects?
Aquatic insects live in the water, or live a portion of their life in the water. They could be a water beetle, or a semi-aquatic insect like a dragonfly nymph, stonefly nymph, caddis larvae and damselfly nymph.
Conclusion – What are the different types of flies for fly fishing?
Flies can be divided into imitation patterns and attractor patterns.
The flies can also be categorized into dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers and saltwater flies. There are no real strict guidelines for classifying the flies and depending on the country, tradition and terminology, some anglers may also classify emerges and popper flies as another category of flies.
Regardless of how you classify your flies, just make sure you have different types of flies to cover different fly fishing conditions and techniques.
Good luck and good fishing.
What are the most common type of flies? ›
House flies are the most commonly encountered fly. House flies can be identified by four length-wise stripes on the middle part of their body behind the head. Blow flies are sometimes called bottle flies because of their shiny, metallic looking abdomens.What are the 7 classifications of a housefly? ›
- Scientific Name: Musca domestica.
- Kingdom: Animalia,
- Class: Insecta,
- Phylum: Athropoda,
- Family: Muscidae,
- Order: Diptera,
- Genus: Musca.
- Section: Schizophora.
- Eggs. Like most other insects, flies start their life as eggs. ...
- Larvae (Maggots) After hatching, these larvae (also known as maggots) turn into legless, white insects that feed at the site in which they hatched for three to five days. ...
- Pupae. ...
- Adult Fly.
A Guide to Identifying and Preventing Various Fly Species
Flies are a common pest around the world – with more than 120,000 kinds of flies found globally, and 18,000 of those found throughout North America.
Large flies, also known as filth flies, include houseflies, bottle/blow flies and flesh flies. Understanding the biology and behavior of these common types of large flies can help with fly prevention in your facility.What is the most harmful fly? ›
The Tsetse Fly, found in tropical Africa, causes the deadly sleeping sickness. These very odd and dangerous insects which feed their larvae with milk and give birth to them in that order are found in tropical Africa. The tsetse fly is responsible for one of the most devastating human diseases, sleeping sickness.What is the name of the common fly? ›
The housefly (Musca domestica) is a fly of the suborder Cyclorrhapha. It is believed to have evolved in the Cenozoic Era, possibly in the Middle East, and has spread all over the world as a commensal of humans. It is the most common fly species found in houses.What are the 4 stages of the fly life cycle? ›
Life cycle of a Fly. The order Diptera follows complete metamorphosis (holometabolous). That is their life cycle comprises four stages namely, egg, larva, pupa and adult. After fertilization, the female adult flies, lay their eggs in clusters.What are the four stages of a fly? ›
There are four stages of growth -egg, larva (or maggot), pupa, and adult. Depending upon the type of fly, it may take about one to four weeks for the cycle to be completed.What is a yellow fly called? ›
Diachlorus ferrugatus, commonly known as the yellow fly in the United States or doctor fly in Belize, is a species of highly aggressive biting horse-fly of the family Tabanidae native to North and Central America to Costa Rica.
What is the fly life cycle? ›
Houseflies pass through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The life expectancy of a housefly is generally 15 to 30 days and depends upon temperature and living conditions. Flies dwelling in warm homes and laboratories develop faster and live longer than their counterparts in the wild.What is the first stage of a fly? ›
Beginning as eggs, flies undergo larval and pupal stages before emerging as adults. The fly's life cycle begins when a fertilized female finds a suitable location for laying her eggs. The ideal egg site is material that the larvae will eat when they hatch from the egg.What is the fly process? ›
Their life cycle includes four stages - egg, larva, pupae and adult fly. Flies live between 15-30 days and multiply in great numbers. One female fly can lay over 500 eggs in her lifetime.What size are flies? ›
Adult house flies are about 1/8-1/4” (4 to 7.5 mm) long. They have slightly hairy bodies, a single pair of wings and compound red eyes, which contain thousands of individual lenses that allow them to have wider vision. Female house flies are usually larger than males.What are the three different types of fly patterns? ›
While there are many different fly tying patterns for trout, some are much easier to tie than others. There are three main types of trout fly tying patterns – dry flies, nymphs, and streamers.Why is a fly called a fly? ›
"Fly," derived from the Old English "flowan" (to flow), has acquired many meanings over the centuries, e.g., a winged insect, a baseball hit high into the air, the space above a theater stage and a late-1960s word for "cool."How many types of flies are there for fishing? ›
Nymphing, throwing streamers and floating dry flies are the three main types of fly fishing.What are the different types of fishing? ›
The five basic methods of angling are bait fishing, fly-fishing, bait casting, spinning, and trolling. All are used in both freshwater and saltwater angling. Bait fishing, also called still fishing or bottom fishing, is certainly the oldest and most universally used method.What is a rainbow fly? ›
Opaluma rupaul is characterized by its iridescent colors. Bryan Lessard/CSIRO. The RuPaul fly is just one of 150 new species to be named by CSIRO recently – and it isn't the only one to be named after a pop culture figure.What color is a fly? ›
Adult house flies are ash gray to black in color. The pests search for food waste or pet feces as sites to lay their eggs.
What is smaller than fairy fly? ›
The females of the species, however, are typical fairyflies, and are much larger. The smallest flying insect is also a mymarid, Kikiki huna from Hawaii, which is 0.15 mm (0.0059 in) long.Can fly eggs hurt you? ›
Nothing will happen to you if you eat a fly egg. The fly egg will die.Is fly poop harmful? ›
From poop to plate
Among this waste can be a range of pathogens and parasites. House flies don't bite. Unlike mosquitoes that transmit pathogens of human health importance in their saliva, house flies transmit pathogens on their feet and body.
The largest crane flies are sometimes called “daddy-long-legs”, “gully nippers”, or “mosquito hawks”. They do not bite people and they do not eat mosquitoes. Some species of crane flies emerge from aquatic sources and others from terrestrial or decaying vegetation sources.What is the name of a small fly? ›
Small Flies-Fruit Fly, Phorid Fly, Moth Fly, Sphaerocerid Fly, Fungus Gnats and Cheese Skippers. Many small flies(1/4") are found in food prep areas and may carry disease-causing organisms. The six fly species listed below are the most common of small flies.How many types of animals fly? ›
Which animals can fly? Flight is a trait that can be found in three types of animals: birds, insects, and bats.How is a fly born? ›
House Fly (Musca domestica)
House flies typically lay eggs on animal feces and garbage. White, legless maggots (the larval stage) hatch from the eggs and grow to about ½ inch. When fully grown, maggots crawl away from their food source to undergo the pupal stage.
Every animal's life goes through the same cycle: birth, growth, maturity, reproduction, and finally, death.What insect has a 4 stage life cycle? ›
Some insects (like butterflies, but also beetles, flies, and bees) develop by complete metamorphosis with 4 life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.What are the three types of life cycle in insects? ›
The life cycles of most insects fall into one of three general types: simple (or gradual) metamorphosis, intermediate metamorphosis, and complete metamorphosis (Gillot, 2005).
How do flies breathe? ›
Like all insects, fruit flies don't have lungs and their blood doesn't carry oxygen to their tissues. Instead they "breathe" through tiny openings along their bodies called spiracles.What is a female maggot called? ›
1 Answer. They are simply called a maggot.What are fly eggs called? ›
House Fly Larvae
House fly eggs look like small grains of rice. Eggs hatch within 24 hours, and house fly larvae emerge. House fly larvae, or maggots, appear similar to pale worms. Their sole purpose is to eat and store energy for their upcoming pupation.
Slender Orange Bush Fly - Dichaetomyia norrisi. Home. Flies Acalyptratae Calyptratae. Anthomyiidae Muscidae.What is a pumpkin fly? ›
Pumpkin flies have a wingspan of 12-14 mm. These brown flies resemble wasps and have bright yellow markings on its body. The maggots that develop inside the fruit are 8-10 mm long, white to cream coloured and have one pointed (head) and one blunt (rear) end. Fully grown larvae exit the fruit to pupate in the soil.What is a fly that is turquoise? ›
Turquoise colored fly - Hedychrum - BugGuide.Net.What food do flies eat? ›
Feeding habits of flies
Adult flies feed and harvest their larvae on organic decaying material. This includes, fruit, vegetables, meat, animal, plant secretions and human feces. Both male and female flies suck nectar from flowers as well.
Egg: The white egg, about 1.2 mm in length, is laid singly but eggs are piled in small groups. Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs in several batches of 75 to 150 eggs over a three to four day period.Where do flies sleep? ›
Some favourite places are on the undersides of leaves, twigs, and branches, or even in tall grass or under rocks. They need a comfortable place to sleep that will shelter them from the cold, rain and wind. Flies need good grip because they often sleep upside down.What kills fly maggots? ›
Using lime or lemon juice will kill maggots. Sprinkling a large amount of salt over them also does the trick. Strong vinegar or boiling water will kill them as well.
How long do flies sleep for? ›
In an initial study monitoring average sleep duration of flies, the team found some individuals that naturally slept for as little as 5-15 minutes per day, compared to a normal range of several hours a day.Are flies born? ›
Life Cycle of House Flies
House fly eggs resemble individual grains of rice. Within a day, house fly eggs hatch into larvae, also known as maggots. Maggots are legless, white insects that feed from the egg-laying site for three to five days. During this time, maggots molt several times.
Flight in insects is gained by muscles, not attached directly to the wings, that move the wings indirectly by changing the shape of the thorax.Is a maggot a fly? ›
Maggots are fly larvae, usually of the common housefly and also the bluebottle. Flies are attracted to food and other rubbish; they lay their eggs on the rubbish; later the eggs hatch into maggots. You will only have a problem with maggots if flies can get to your waste.Is a fly a bug? ›
By the technical, or taxonomic, definition, a large group of insects are not bugs, even though we call them bugs. Beetles, ants, moths, cockroaches, bees, flies, and mosquitoes are not considered true bugs since they are not found in order Hemiptera. Instead, these creepy crawlies are found in order Hymenoptera.How do I know what kind of flies I have? ›
Shape: Body shape can range from compact gnats to the gangly, mosquito-like look of crane flies. Hair: Some varieties, like shiny bottle flies, appear to have little hair, while fuzzy drain flies have a moth-like look. Eyes: Forward-facing, goggle-shaped eyes are a hallmark of house flies.What are all these little flies in my house? ›
Fungus Gnats: If the flies are small, black, and flying around windows or potted plants; then they are probably fungus gnats. These flies are the most common small fly in houses. They are small, delicate black flies that are weak flyers and often collect at windows.What is a large black fly? ›
Cluster flies, or attic flies, are large black flies and similar in size, shape and behavior to the blowfly. Larger and slower than house flies cluster flies can be a nuisance around homes, often getting inside and laying eggs.Can a fly hurt you? ›
Flies, including stable flies and mosquitoes (which are also classified as flies, or Diptera), can inflict painful bites while feeding on the blood of humans and other animals, and some species transmit disease. The habits of filth flies favor the spread of bacteria and other disease-causing organisms.What fungus flies look like? ›
Fungus gnats are a very small, frail species of fly. They have a very mosquito-like appearance with a small body and long legs. Adults grow to be about 1/8th of an inch in length. Their bodies are black or grayish in color and they have a unique Y-shaped pattern on their wings; their wings are smoky in color.
What is a tiny black fly? ›
Black flies, known also as "buffalo gnats" and "turkey gnats," are very small, robust flies that are annoying biting pests of wildlife, livestock, poultry, and humans. Their blood-sucking habits also raise concerns about possible transmission of disease agents.Why are there 20 flies in my house? ›
Therefore, if you find that you suddenly have a lot of flies in your house, chances are there's decaying matter somewhere. No matter how clean you keep your house, you probably have something rotting somewhere. For example, garbage cans and garbage disposals. These spots are prime breeding sites for flies.Where are the small flies in my house coming from? ›
Typically, gnats will enter your house from the outdoors through cracks or holes in your foundation, walls, windows, or doors. Gnats often infest trash cans, rotten fruit, and other moist places where decomposing organic matter exists.What are thunder flies? ›
Thrips, also known as thunder flies and thunder bugs, are very small insects, and although they look innocuous, they can cause a lot of damage to plants. The name thrips is both singular and plural: there is no such word as 'thrip'!What kills fly in the house? ›
- Pyrethrin-based insecticide. When you have a large housefly infestation, insecticides can be effective because they work quickly. ...
- Light trap. Light traps are boxes with a light in the back that attracts flies. ...
- Sticky traps.