Here is the onWater 2023 Fly Fishing Resolutions List for the New Year! We left out the most obvious one – to fish more – as few of us fish as much as we’d like. However, with new goals in mind, there’s never been a better time to get out and Explore Your Water.
Introduce a friend to the sport of fly fishing
More passionate anglers brought into the fly fishing community means more people dedicated to protecting the special places we fish. Angler education is essential to the continued well-being of fisheries and the properties around them. So take a friend to the river, or a Trout Unlimited meeting, and show them what they’re missing.
Learn to double haul
Ask an expert, watch an online video, or read a book. It doesn’t matter where you get the information, just dedicate time to learning this very useful skill. With the proper timing and touch, this technique unleashes the true capability of your fly line and rod. Double hauling will make you an accurate long-range caster, and, it looks pretty damn cool.
Watch your kid catch their first fish on the fly
Make a point to observe their techniques rather than staying wrapped up in your own fishing. Let them make mistakes and watch them savor the success of a bent rod and filled net afterwards. With our busy lives, this can be hard. Commit to it and schedule time, but allow yourself to be flexible – forcing a kid to fish is no fun for anyone.
Get into the salt game
Catch a bonefish or permit this year. For those who have done both, you know the rush. For those who haven’t, find someone who has and invite them for coffee or a beer. Book that trip, make priceless memories, and cross some of the most thrilling saltwater species off your list. Redfish, striper, and snook are also worth a trip to the ocean, so get out of the box, and go hit the beach.
Chase a new species in your backyard
You probably don’t even need to hop on a plane to land an exciting new species on the fly. America’s warmwater fisheries are frequently overlooked by fly anglers. In the heat of the summer, give the trout a rest and throw some big flies to carp, musky, and bass. Or go small and bust out the 1-weight at the local panfish pond. Regardless of what you choose, it’s always good to catch something new.
Clean your gear more frequently
Aquatic invasive species are a serious concern to anglers. When traveling from one river to another, be sure to inspect, clean, and dry your boots, waders, boats and trailers. Gear that stays clean will also serve you longer and perform better. Take care of your equipment, and it will take care of you.
Splurge a few times
Pay the rod fee for a day on a private spring creek. Pay for a guided trip with the obnoxious in-laws – they might be more fun on a trout stream. Treat yourself to the hot new rod or reel. Beyond the onWater app, there are tons of new and innovative angling products that will help you pursue your passion.
Take five minutes to observe before fishing
This will cue you into what’s hatching, and you may even see some wildlife you might have missed when sprinting from car to riffle. Take note of how a river’s features change at different flow rates. Subtle environmental shifts can completely change fish lies and feeding behavior. Just pause, take a moment to soak in your surroundings, and make your first cast a good one.
Support your local fly shop
They are your best source for local fishing reports and free information, plus they offer specials on closeout models and demos for all the new goodies. In some parts of the country, there are only one or two fly shops within a couple hundred miles. Each of these are important centers of fly fishing culture, and are dependent on passionate anglers like us.
Be friendlier on the river.
We fish for various reasons: to be in nature; to challenge ourselves; for exercise; for solitude; for camaraderie. Upon encountering other anglers, offer a polite “hello” or a “how’s the fishing?” You might meet a new angling buddy, or learn of an effective fly. Help dispel the negative stereotypes of fly anglers – it doesn’t cost anything to be nice.