NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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62 NEBRASKAland • JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017 Wading In By Ryan Sparks Learning to Fly fi sh in Nebraska Fly fi shing presents a unique set of challenges, one of which is the stereotype that it's only for trout. Nebraska has a plethora of fl y fi shing opportunities that are only limited by your imagination and ingenuity. Every fi sh in your local waters can be caught with a fl y rod. Here's how to get started. W hen most people think of fly fishing, they imagine an angler wading in a blue-ribbon trout stream, fussing over which fly most accurately resembles the insects hovering in the air. While there is nothing wrong with this mental image, it is unfortunate that most people never experience fly fishing because of complicated jargon or the belief that fly fishing is only for trout and takes place in locations far from home. Those who are willing to break away from these misconceptions will find that Nebraska has a number of wonderful fly fishing opportunities. Gearing Up A common reason many people never fly fish is because they are intimidated by the equipment. I remember my first attempt to purchase a fly rod. The salesperson bombarded me with terminology about rod weight and length, line types, leader taper, tippet material and casting techniques. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and resigned myself to going home and doing my own research. I eventually ordered a beginners fly fishing kit, and over 10 years later I can frankly say that fly fishing is much simpler than it is often made out to be. To get started fly fishing in Nebraska, keep things simple. Start with either a 5 or 6 weight rod, a good middle-of-the-road rod that can be used for anything from bluegill to northern pike. The "weight" of a rod does not mean how much it weighs, but rather, it corresponds to the weight of the line it is designed to cast. Unlike conventional fishing where the angler catapults a heavily weighted lure, fly anglers use the weight of the line to cast their flies. Fly lines come in line weights ranging from 1-14, which correspond to both the size of the fly you intend to use and the size of the fish you are targeting. For example, a 5 weight rod would be paired with a 5 weight line and so on. Trout anglers often agonize over which size leader to use. A leader is the nearly invisible transition of line connecting the fly to the fly line. Luckily, for the vast majority of fish in Nebraska, tapered leaders and tippet are not necessary. If you use 10-pound test for the bass at your local fishing hole, use 10-pound test as your leader material. Seven feet will usually suffice. Not only do you not need to worry about what leader to use, but you will find that the monofilament line spooled on your bass reel is much PHOTOS BY DOUG STEINKE PHOTO BY DOUG STEINKE When most people think of fly fishing, they imagine anglers trout fishing in places like Colorado, Montana and Alaska. Yet great fly fishing can occur right here in Nebraska.

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