Phillip Elden on Fly Fishing

Phillip EldenGrab your fishing gear, get your license, and pull up your wading pants as Phillip Elden shares information on one of Oregon’s greatest pastimes: fly fishing.

Q: How is fly fishing different from boat or bank fishing?

Phillip Elden: Fly fishing is usually done standing up with your body in the water. It’s a fast-action way to catch trout and other game fish throughout the state. Unlike catfishing or bass fishing, fly fishing requires constant movement of the arms, making it a great form of exercise.

Q: What is different about the equipment and strategy?

Phillip Elden: A traditional rod and reel combo uses a clear line. Fly fishing line is different in that it is heavily weighted. When you fish from a boat, you cast your line and let the bait or lure sink a bit – unless you’re using a topwater lure. When you fly fish, you cast about 20 feet, watch for the fly to hit the tip of the water and re-cast.

Q: How do I know where to cast?

Phillip Elden: You need to learn to read the water. If you’re on a river with pocket waters, the fish will behave differently than if you’re on a fast-moving, shallow river. One of the fundamentals (and half the fun) of fly fishing is getting to know the water and how the fish behave in each area and time of day.

Q: It has been said that fly fishing is one of the more frustrating of sports. Is that true?

Phillip Elden: It can be absolutely. But with practice and patience, it’s also a sport that gets easier with time. I always tell people just starting out to forget about the catch and just go for the experience. There is something peaceful about hearing a rushing mountain stream as it circles past your knees. More than a recreational opportunity, fishing is a chance to get back to nature.  

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