4 Ways to Unsnag Your Fly

4 Ways to Unsnag Your Fly

You’ve been practicing your flawless dead-drift for months now and you keep a steady eye as your bobber floats perfectly across the water, waiting patiently for it to go under.

Your heart skips a beat as the bobber darts under and you confidently set the hook because it may very well be Hog Johnson on the other end. But as quickly as your heart skipped a beat, it sinks just the same as your line becomes a spiritless snag.

As if a tree branch on end of your line wasn’t enough discouragement for the day, you simultaneously lost all your flies in the process of trying to get un-snagged. Now what? Time to spend your precious river time re rigging only to have the same thing happen around the next bend.

No one likes losing their flies to river, but it’s a part of fly fishing whether you’re a rookie or an expert.

Your natural instincts will take over and tell you to try and force the snag free, but this often results in losing your entire rig and even broken rods. As anglers, we become expert problem solvers, so take breath, relax and make a plan. Next time you get snagged, try the following the techniques to hopefully save your flies!


Try applying a gentle pressure in the opposite direction of the snag. Often times you can ease the fly free by gently wading upstream, and pulling on your line with rod pointed downstream towards the obstacle its snagged on.


If the above doesn’t work, then try the roll cast. First pull out a bit of line from your reel and raise your rod tip up high and then quickly coming down allowing the energy from the rod create a loop that will pull the fly from the obstruction. This one takes some practice but when done properly is an effective way to save your flies without spooking any fish!


This technique works great if the water is shallow and you aren’t worried about spooking trout. Simply approach your snag and work it from a more forgiving angle, or if the water is low, reaching down into the water and retrieve your flies.


Let out a good amount of line from your reel and let the current take it downstream. Then give a little tug, keeping your rod tip low to the water and pull a few times.

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