19 Best Trout Flies for Beginners Learning How to Fly Fish

19 Best Trout Flies for Beginners Learning How to Fly Fish

There are thousands of different flies available to beginners, but which are going to perform the best regardless of where you go? Over the last 6 years, we’ve compiled a list of trout flies to answer that exact question, “what are the best flies for beginners?” In no particular order, here are the best 19 trout flies for fly fishing that catch fish anywhere.

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1. Stimulator

Size #10 – #14

Stimulators imitate stoneflies and even other large flying insects such as grasshoppers and large caddis species. Recommended for dry-dropper rigs. Cast this fly into and along the seam lines that bubbles are commonly funneled into. For more delicate casts, cast a few feet above the water and let the line drift down slowly onto the water.

2. BWO Parachute

Size #16 – #20

One of the largest hatches is the Blue Winged Olive hatch, which is most common during the warmest parts of the day during the spring, late summer, and fall. Use a light tippet / leader (5x – 7x) for a softer presentation. If fish are spooking to the presence of your line / fly in the water, add another foot or two of tippet. This will help create a softer landing on the surface and put more distance between your colored fly line and the fish. Use a long leader and 24″ – 36″ of 6x tippet to get a softer presentation. This is great for tail-end of pools and long flat runs. Lead rising trout several feet.

Indicator Parachute Adams

3. Adams Parachute

Size #12 – #18

Imitates a large variety of mayfly hatches throughout the season. Also, great for prospecting and as the dry fly in a dry-dropper rig. Fish this in a multi-fly rig with an emerger trailing below or with a midge dry fly or caddis imitation.

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4. Royal Wulff

Size #12 – #14

Attractor flies like these are a great choice for small streams and searching new water. Imitates large mayflies and other insects that fall in from above. Great for dry-dropper rigs tied in 12-24 inches below a dry fly of your choice. Use a section of 5x or 6x tippet attached by the eye of the hook rather than the bend of the hook.

Buy 40 of our favorite Trout Flies.

Click the button below to shop all 40 flies we recommend for newcomers and anglers restocking. We hand-selected our best performers from this article and assembled them into one assortment.

5. BWO Foam Emerger

Size #18 – #20

This blue-winged olive emerger pattern features a foam post to float this fly within the surface film. Trail this below a dry fly or fish by itself with a light leader. The majority of the time we pair dry flies with emerger patterns such as this trailing below by a 12-inch section of 5x tippet.

6. Neversink Caddis

Size #12 – #16

Fish late in the afternoon for best results, or prospect seams and runs. Try doubling up with a 2-dry fly tandem rig to fish two hatches at once. Imitates an adult caddis.

To make a 2-dry fly tandem rig, space this with another dry fly of your choice 12″ to 18″ apart by tying a new section of 5x or 6x tippet to the eye of the hook or from the bend. Target bubbly seams along rocks, roots, undercut banks, or anywhere else with great cover for ambush strikes.

7. Micro Chubby Chernobyl

Size #10 – #16

Imitate stoneflies, caddis, grasshoppers, crickets, and more. Good for faster water and dry-dropper rigs. Excellent in small mountain streams for wild trout.

To make a dry-dropper rig, add a section of 5x or 6x tippet by tying it to the eye of the hook or from the bend. The length of the added tippet section should be about 1.5 times the depth of the water; this does not need to be exact. Then add a second fly to that new section with another Clinch Knot. Choose a light weighted fly that won’t drag the Micro Chubby Chernobyl below the surface. Typically, midges and small nymphs work best.

8. Holo Midge

Size #16 – #20

A simple midge pattern that serves as a midge larva imitation. Tie this into your tandem rigs above a heavier nymph. Great for dry-dropper rigs tied in 12-24 inches below a dry fly of your choice. Use a section of 5x or 6x tippet attached by the eye of the hook rather than the bend of the hook.

9. Tungsten Rainbow Warrior

Size #16 – #20

Rainbow Warriors don’t imitate any specific insect in particular but turn heads because of its flash. Few hatches are as important as the midge hatch. These tiny insects hatch every day no matter the weather. Use a 5x – 7x tippet and search out slow water and slack pools.

10. Tungsten San Juan Worm

Size #12

Worms should be your first thought after a rainfall, snowmelt, or during a damn release on tailwaters. Tie this lightweight worm fly in a multiple fly rig and fish below obstructions such as boulders, fallen trees, roots, etc

11. Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear

Size #14 – #16

Soft Hackle flies are widely underused despite their effectiveness in imitating emergers and hatching insects from caddis to mayflies. Best used in tandem rigs as the upper-most fly to be dead drifted or swung across currents. Space 8 to 12-inches apart and using a non-slip loop is encouraged for move natural movement in the water.

12. Jigged Frenchie

Size #14 – #16

Tie this attractor nymph pattern in with your favorite nymphs. Ideal in faster moving water. Imitates a variety of aquatic larva and nymphs.

To make a multi-nymphing rig, space this with another nymph of your choice 12″ to 18″ apart by tying 4x or 5x tippet to the eye of the hook or from the bend.

13. Dirty Hipster Jig

Size #14 – #16

Dirty Hipster Jigs are ideal for fast water and deep runs. Fish these 12-inches below another fly of your choice. It’s an effective stonefly and mayfly imitation. Pair with heavier nymphs to target deep pools or use a small indicator (or tight-line style) to tumble this flashy attractor fly near the bottom.

14. Beaded Pink Egg

Size #10 – #12

Great after a rainfall, snowmelt, or during a damn release. Use in a multiple fly rig and fish below obstructions such as boulders, fallen trees, roots, etc. Eggs are an abundant food source in major streams and a highly productive pattern to fish.

15. Pink Tag Jig

Size #14 – #16

A mayfly and stonefly nymph imitation. Tie in a smaller nymph 12″ above with 5x tippet and get these near the bottom. Fish in a tandem rig with 2 or even 3 flies (based on local regulations). While insect activity will increase moving into the spring and summer, the overwhelming majority of a trout’s diet is consumed sub-surface.

16. Beaded Scud

Size #14 – #16

Scuds are freshwater crustaceans that provide a stable food source year-round. Fish low and target deep water. Best used under an indicator or in multi-fly nymphing rigs.

17. Conehead Muddler Minnow

Size #8 – #10

A great baitfish or sculpin pattern that gets down fast in heavy water. Increase the weight of your leader or tippet to 3x – 1x.

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18. Hare’s Ear Nymph

Size #12 – #16

An extremely versatile nymph for nearly all conditions. Imitates stonefly and mayfly nymphs. Great for tandem rigs, aka multi-fly nymphing rigs.

19. Beaded Woolly Bugger

Size #8

Woolly Bugger streamers imitate leeches and baitfish. It can be dead-drifted, swung, and stripped anywhere you go. Trout will hit these streamers hard so be sure to use at least 3x tippet.

Heavier tippet will also allow you to make more accurate casts and cut through wind. Cast downstream at an angle so that your line is taught while varying your stripping speed through deeper pools and bubbly seam-lines. Make it flee away from fish.

Buy all 19 of our favorite Trout Flies.

Click the button below to shop all 19 flies. We hand-selected our best performers from this article and assembled them into one assortment.

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