How To Fish Flies With Spinning Gear: 2 Best Methods

Fish Flies With Spinning Gear

It is possible to fish flies with spinning gear and as a river guide that does this all the time for trout, steelhead, and salmon I will tell you the 2 most effective ways to fish flies with spinning gear.

To fish flies with spinning gear, you will need at least a 7-foot rod, a spinning reel with good line, and a proper leader setup. The most important thing when you fish flies with spinning gear is the presentation. I use float fishing and bottom bouncing methods when I fish flies with spinning gear.

Flies are a great bait for trout and steelhead but there are 4 key things you will need to know and you will need to do well if you want to catch trout and steelhead consistently when you fish flies with spinning gear.

The Best Flies For Trout

Picking and using good flies is really important when you fish flies with spinning gear.

Flies are imitations of aquatic insects and insects found along the banks of the river. I fly could also be a bee, a beetle, or an ant. Trout will eat just about anything that falls into the river and floats past them.

Big Tout Eat Small Flies
I catch a lot a large trout with very small flies. This trout was caught using a size 18 fly. Size is about the width of your pinky fingernail.

Almost all trout and steelhead living in rivers will eat flies, and for many river trout, these small aquatic insects are their primary food source.

This makes flies a good choice for trout anglers.

Despite what some other websites will tell you, even large trout will eat small flies especially if there are enough small flies to fill them up.

I even catch lots of big steelhead and salmon on flies which shows that big fish will eat small things like flies.

Flies for trout and steelhead can be small or large. Flies can imitate small aquatic insects but they can also imitate fish eggs, minnows, leeches, crayfish, frogs, and even mice.

A real nymph and one of my favorite nymph flies
A real mayfly nymph and one of my favorite nymph flies. Even though this fly has a bead and doesn’t look exactly like the real fly it still works great.

The best flies to fish with spinning gear are called nymphs which are subsurface insects.

Nymphs live below the rocks and are very abundant in many rivers and both trout and steelhead recognize them as food.

Nymphs can come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Brown and black imitation flies are always a good choice.

To some anglers, a nymph can also be a worm pattern, an egg pattern, or even a sunken beetle, or just about anything that might fall into the river and then drift along under the surface.

To fish a nymph effectively you will need to either float fish with them or bottom bounce with them which I will discuss below.

My most used nymphs for trout are size 14 and size 16 and for steelhead or salmon, I will use size 8 through size 12.

My nymph fly patterns
Nymph flies can come in many different sizes, shapes and colors. These are from my fly box.

I use a lot of nymphs with bead heads when fishing for trout and steelhead because they seem to attract the fish more.

If I had to choose between a non-bead head nymph or a bead head nymph I would choose the one with the bead most of the time. The bead also helps get the fly into the strike zone which really improves your catch rate.

My favorite nymph flies for trout and steelhead are these ones below – if you click the link you can see or buy them at Bass Pro Shops:

  • Pheasant tail nymph – One of the best nymphs ever invented.
  • Stonefly nymph – Good for trout and steelhead
  • Mayfly Nymph – Most rivers have mayflies so a good mayfly pattern is a must
  • Caddis Larva – Some rivers have a lot of Caddis and these are good to have.
  • Hares Ear Nymph – One of my all-time favorite general-purpose nymph flies.
  • Prince nymph – An attractor pattern every trout and steelhead angler should have.
  • Czech Nymphs – A caddis imitation type fly – Czech nymphs are a heavier fly that gets down fast.
  • Worm Pattern – My favorite colors are pink, brown, and red.
  • Egg Fly Pattern – All trout and steelhead eat eggs and eggs can the most effective bait at certain times of the year.

You can get this great nymph assortment pack from Bass Pro Shops which has some great nymphs that should work on any trout river and it would be a good starter pack if you want to try to fish flies with spinning gear.

Fish Flies With Spinning Gear Using A Float

Float Fishing With Flies
Float fishing is one of the best ways to fish flies with spinning gear or with a Centerpin reel.

Using a float, which is also known to some people as a bobber, is the best method when fishing spots over 3 feet deep, and using the float fishing method is likely the best way to fish flies with spinning gear.

If the river is less than 3 feet deep the best method is the bottom bounce method.

I use floats all the time when I fish for steelhead and salmon as well as when fishing for trout. If you use the right floats combined with my float fishing leader set-up and then get a great presentation you will start catching more trout and steelhead.

Using the right leader strength and setting it up properly is really important if you want to catch more trout and steelhead. I also discuss this on my best leaders page.

Float fishing in rivers with flies is no different than float fishing with other baits. If you are interested in how I float fish as well as how I set up my leader, what size leaders and hooks I use go to my page How To Float Fish For Trout.

Using the right float can make a big difference and since some other websites will tell you to use the wrong floats, you are wise to get your advice from a pro. So for information on the best floats check out my page on the 5 Best Floats For 2021

Fish Flies With Spinning Gear Using Bottom Bouncing

Bottom Bouncing In shallow water
Bottom bouncing is extremely effective to fish flies with spinning gear, centerpin rods and even when fly fishing.

Bottom bouncing is the best way to fish flies with spinning gear in shallow and faster water. You can also bottom bounce in all types of water up to 20 feet. I bottom bounce with Spinning rods, Centerpin Rods, Fly rods.

Bottom bouncing can be equally effective for trout, steelhead, and salmon in rivers but only if you know how to do it well.

Bottom bounce can be extremely effective and if you use my advanced bottom bouncing method it will allow you to easily fish 12 inches of or 8 feet of water without needed to make any adjustments. Check out my page Bottom Bouncing – 5 Proven Guide Tips For More Fish

Best Spinning Rods To Use For Trout.

Long rods help you
Long rods designed for river fishing will help you fish flies with spinning gear better than shorter rods will.

While you could fish flies for trout with a general-purpose 6 or 7-foot fishing rod, a longer rod that is designed for river fishing is often better because the longer rod provides extra height off the water which allows you to keep your line up and off the water during a drift and that allows you to control your presentation better.

The longer rod also acts as a better shock absorber when fishing for trout on light leaders.

I might use a 7-foot rod in very small creeks that are less than 6 feet wide but for most rivers and creeks over 6 feet wide, I prefer a rod over 8 feet long. My go-to rod size on trout rivers over 20 feet is a 12-foot rod but a 9 to 11-foot rod will work too.

I have an entire page on the best float rods with a chart that will help you choose the best rods for the type of river and type of fish you will be fishing. I will have a page dedicated to the Best Trout Rods – Coming Soon

If you are interested in all the best gear for river fishing check out this page called The Best River Fishing Products

Got A Question About This Fish Flies With Spinning Gear Article

That concludes my post and I hope it helps you fish flies with spinning gear better. If you have any questions about fishing flies with spinning gear or you have any ideas or tips about fishing with flies with spinning gear just leave them in the comments section below.

Tight Lines


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