Artificial flies are specially designed fishing lures meant to imitate natural food sources during the sport of fly fishing. When fishing with artificial flies, anglers present bait to target freshwater or saltwater fish species by casting a near-weightless fly into the open water. Common names of fishing flies include nymphs, streamers, bead heads, emergers and dry or wet flies.

Additionally, artificial flies feature various patterns and colors that resemble insects, crayfish, crab or other popular types of live bait. Numerous fishing artificial flies patterns are available to choose from through popular retailers such as Cabela’s, Walmart or DICK’s Sporting Goods. When fishing with an artificial fly, anglers must use a lure designed for their specific fishing environments, such as saltwater or freshwater. To learn more about fishing with an artificial fly, and to discover the benefits of doing so, review the information below.

What are the characteristics and features of artificial flies?

Various artificial fly fishing patterns are available to choose from, depending on the lure type. However, all artificial fly fishing lures are meant to imitate the size, color and look of popular live bait. They are made from materials such as yarn, beads, feathers and string tied to a hook.

When fishing with artificial flies, you can choose from a variety of different styles, patterns and colors, depending on the fish species you wish to target. The names and features include:

  • Dry flies, which imitate flying insects during the adult stage of their lives. These lightweight artificial flies are meant to float near the surface of water.
  • Nymphs, wet flies and emergers, which imitate the early and middle stages of an insect’s life. These artificial fly lures sit below the surface of water.
  • Muddlers and streamers, which are larger fly lures designed to imitate crayfish, leeches, baitfish and other various water creatures.
  • Worms, scuds and sowbugs, which imitate worms and bugs that fall from overhanging trees into the water.
  • Poppers, which are designed to imitate large bugs, mice and frogs splashing or swimming near the surface of water.
  • Terrestrials, which mimic ants, grasshoppers and crickets that fall from the grass and into the water.
  • Crabs and crayfish, which are wet fly fishing lures that imitate crab-like crayfish found in ponds, rivers and streams.
  • Eggs, which are used to attract salmon and trout, as these lures imitate a single egg or clusters of eggs.
  • Skaters, which are designed to skip and glide across the surface of water, making them similar to dry flies.
  • Articulated flies, which are meant to attract large, predatory fish. These large artificial fly lures feature multiple segments that are designed to create movement in the water.

What kind of fishing can artificial flies be used for?

An artificial fly is used primarily during the practice of fly fishing. It can sometimes be used to spin fish as well, depending on the specific situation. For this reason, many anglers keep fly lures in their tackle boxes, even if they do not plan to go fly fishing. Additionally,fishing with artificial flies is suitable for saltwater or freshwater environments.

What types of fish can I catch with artificial flies?

When fishing with artificial flies, you can catch a variety of freshwater or saltwater fish species. You can catch the following fish:

  • Bass
  • Pike
  • Steelhead
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Sunfish

How do I use an artificial fly?

When fishing with artificial flies, you must first rig your rod and reel. To rig artificial flies, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Choose a floating line and tapered leader,depending on your specific fly.
  2. Attach your leader through the leader loops on the fly line.
  3. Use an Improved Clinch Knot to attach your fly to the line.

While artificial flies are specially-designed to be used with fly fishing rods, you can use a spincast or a spinning pole with a clear bobber (or bubble) if you do not have a fly fishing rod. If using an artificial fly lure with a spinning or a spincast rod, the bobber must be positioned four to five feet above the fly.

What are the advantages of using an artificial fly?

When fishing with artificial flies, the lure is meant to imitate a fish’s local food sources. As such, the use of artificial fliesis often seen as a purer way to catch fish. While fishing with this lure is often more relaxing and peaceful than spin fishing, flies are also less expensive than most lures. Manyfishing artificial flies patterns are available to choose from, depending on the type of fish you plan to target.

What are the cons of using an artificial fly?

Fishing with artificial flies is often more challenging and expensive than spin fishing. While artificial flies are less expensive than lures, many other types of fly fishing equipment are costlier. And, casting an artificial fly lure is more complex than most spin casting techniques.

Who should consider using an artificial fly?

Artificial flies are best used by experienced fishermen, as fly fishing is more difficult to learn. And, it is often more expensive and time-consuming than spin fishing.

How much do artificial flies cost?

The cost of artificial fly lures varies by brand name and fly type. For instance, a Lively Legz artificial fly starts at $2.49 for a two-pack of Prince Nymphs, while a two-pack of the FishUSA Bead Head Electric Prince starts at $2.99. Dry artificial flies from FishUSA range from $2.79 to $3.49, while Umpqua flies range from $4.49 to $5.29. Poppers made by Gaines range from $3.49 to $4.29, while crayfish or crabs range from $4.99 to $13.99 for a two-pack of FishUSA or Umpqua lures.

Where can I find artificial flies?

To fish with artificial flies, you may purchase lures from popular merchants such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Cabela’s and DICK’s Sporting Goods. Popular types on Amazon include the following: