Some Tips For Pen Fly Fishing Success


Don’t let the name fool you. Pen fly fishing is not exclusive to the rich and famous. It’s an accessible, effective way to catch trout that anyone can enjoy. Pen fly fishing is also known as sight casting or still-fishing. It involves using a very small artificial fly with a longer leader and a lighter-weight tippet. The objective of this technique is to present the fly so naturally that it appears like a real insect or baitfish. It allows anglers to see where the fish are located and make subtle adjustments to get the fly into striking range undetected. We’ve compiled some of our best tips for pen-fly fishing success at your favorite local trout streams:

Go Light On The Tippet

The key to keeping the flies and leaders small is to use the lightest tippet possible. Most anglers will want a 5X tippet for most waters, but some streams are too heavily fished for this to be a sensible option. The light 6X and 7X tippets are great alternatives for catching trout. The lighter tippet will help you stay as stealthy as possible. If you do use a 5X tippet, make sure to fish a longer (9-13 foot) rod with slower action. This will help you stay in tune with the light tippet and be able to detect subtle takes and line movement.

Use A Shallow Hook Slip Or Float

A shallow hook slip or float is one of the best ways to keep the flies and leaders small. A smaller hook slip or float makes it easier to cast the tiny flies, and it still allows you to hook a fish without too much effort. The shank is a critical part of the hook, and it needs to be long enough to be effective. A shallow hook slip or float, with a shorter shank, is a great option for pen-fly fishing.

Try A Different Color Fly

The most important thing to remember when selecting a fly for pen fly fishing is that it needs to be small. A big fly is easy to spot, easy to avoid, and will rarely get a strike. A smaller fly is much more realistic, and it also makes it easier to cast. The color of the fly is also important. Keep in mind that trout are drawn to certain colors depending on the season. If you’re not sure what colors to use, pick up a copy of the Orvis Color Guide for Trout and Fly Fishing. This book has detailed information on what flies to choose depending on the time of year and the water conditions.

Pen-Fly Rig Setup

When using a longer leader and lighter tippet, it’s important to rig the fly correctly. This setup is very different from normal fly fishing. The length of the leader should be 2-3 times the length of the rod. The end of the leader should have an unweighted, dropper fly or no fly at all. This can be helpful in shallow water, where you don’t want your fly to touch the bottom. You can also use a lead core or a piece of tippet material as a dropper fly. The best knot for attaching the fly to the leader is a clinch, surgeon, or blood knot. Make sure that the fly is as close to the rod as possible. This will make it easier to cast the lighter leader and tippet and will increase your chances of landing the fish.

Don’t Rely On Sight Casting Alone

Pen fly fishing is all about being stealthy and accurate, but it’s never a good idea to rely on sight casting alone. A good line-counter reel can help you keep track of how many lines you have left, and a reel counter will help you keep track of how many times you’ve cast. Both of these can be extremely helpful in keeping the line tight and knowing when to reel in and cast again. Always keep your eye on the water. You never know when a fish might take your fly, and you don’t want to lose it because you weren’t paying attention.


When it comes to fishing, the pen-fly approach is a great choice for most anglers. The setup is simple, and the technique is easy to master. This setup requires a longer leader and lighter tippet, which helps you target specific feeding areas. When it comes to choosing the best flies for pen fly fishing, remember that smaller flies are easier to cast, easier to see, and more realistic for trout. The best pen fly fishing flies are small, unweighted, and easy to see.

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