Preparing for Fly Fishing Season

For many of us, the promise of a new fly fishing season is right at our doorstep.  The weather is warming up and the fish are ready to be caught (well, hopefully). There are many things to get yourself ready before the season starts. It never fails that the first couple times on the water each year you seem to forget something or realize that you needed to fix something.  Here's a list of things to do to get you better prepared for your season.

1. Wader Repair

One of the gospel facts of fly fishing is, "All waders leak eventually." Do yourself a favor and check your waders before you hit the stream. Whether it was a small pin hole leak in a seam, a jagger bush (yeah I'm from Pittsburgh, look it up) hole, or maybe even a mouse made its home in your waders and you have some serious problems, here's a few tips on repair.

  1. Locate the hole by spraying rubbing alcohol in your waders, then flip them inside-out to see the leaks. You can also try turning your waders inside-out and filling them with water.
  2. Circle the leaks in permanent marker to remind yourself where the leaks are.
  3. For large holes or multiple holes in a small area, use a repair patch. Check that there's no iron on the patches or you'll cause more damage.
  4. If that doesn't work, use UV wader repair. There are several brands out there, including Loon, and it can fix entire gashes in your waders.


2. Reel Maintenance

Reel maintenance is one of those things that many people neglect.  Your reel has the most moving parts of your gear and needs to be maintained. Do the following things to make sure your reel is ready for the new season.

  • Take the spool off and simply clean it out with some soap and water.
  • Grease it back up every year or so. Some Neats Foot oil or many gun oils is a good option for lubricating the drag system as well.
  • If you are using cork, take extra time to restore it. Cork will dry out and degrade over time if not properly taken care of, just like the brake pads on your car.  Put some care into those reels and they will last much longer for you.

3. Clean and Repair Fly Lines

Fly lines are the area requiring the most repairs for most fly fishermen. You rarely, if ever, clean your line, and you should every couple times you fish. Additionally, you probably keep your gear in your hot car, which is a major error. When you go to check your line on your first outing, you realize its cracked and probably not working to its best ability. 

If it still looks okay, either use a fly line cleaner or simply strip the line out into a 5 gallon bucket of dish soap water and give it a good cleaning. This will help to keep your line casting efficiently. If your line is cracked then simply replace it and try to keep the new one in better shape.

4. Clean and Discard Flies

Ohh geez!  Have you looked at your boxes? You might find tons of flies that are torn apart, possibly rusted hooks, and wrong flies in the wrong boxes. Do yourself a favor and clean out all the nasty old flies you won't use again. If you tie, take a razor blade to them and you can reuse things like the hooks and beads if they're still in good shape.

Here's a tip for those dry flies that look rather sad. Put a pot of water on to boil and hang a mesh strainer over it. Drop those flies in the strainer for a nice steam. It will freshen up those dry flies for a few more rising fish.

5. Final Checks

There are a few final areas to check before you go out onto the water.

  • Check your floatants. Make sure they didn't dry up or spill and are empty.
  • Check your net. Make sure there isn't any holes that need repaired.
  • Check your cast. A little practice in the yard will do you good to brush off that rusty thing you call a cast.
  • Clean out your pack. We all shove flies, split shot, food wrappers, and more trash all through them. Clean it out and maybe even throw it in the wash. 

Now, you're ready for the new fly fishing season! I think that's a pretty good list, but what else am I missing?  Add a few of your own to the comment section.


Ramblings by:

Ryan Gouldsbarry

Owner of Risen Fly


P.S. If you catch it quickly, we kept our rod and reel sale in our DEALS section open for just a little bit longer.

1 comment

  • Jim Rauch

    Ryan, lots of good info, thanks.

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