Fly Fishing With a Spinning Rod: Our Top Tips and Tricks

By Richard | Fishing Advice

fly fishing with a spinning rod
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Fly fishing with a spinning rod might seem like a challenging or impossible task at first, but it can be productive.

With the correct technique and method, you can grab an assortment of fish, including trout.

Let’s explore all of the unique ways to fly fish with your spinning rod to help you save on gear.

Can You Use Flies on a Spinning Rod?

Using flies on a spinning rod is a fantastic achievement to switch up your standard setup.

Instead of investing in multiple rods and different types of tackle, this process is far more efficient.

It isn’t too different from using a standard fly rod, too, aside from one key element.

Fly fishing on a spinning rod requires you to use the float’s weight to cast rather than the rod and fly line.

There are only a few things that you will need to get started, which are:

  • Small bobber/slip float
  • Small split shots
  • Small diameter line (for your leader)
  • Swivels
  • Flies of your choosing

One of the primary reasons fly fishing can be beneficial is that it can help beginners understand the sport.

If you find it challenging to cast fly lines far enough, using flies on a spinning rod can help you gain experience.

Also, the process has a high success rate, which then encourages beginners to refine their techniques.

How Do You Dry Fly Fish With a Spinning Rod?

Dry fly fishing is simple when you are combining a spinning rod with your favorite flies.

You’ll find that it is a fantastic option for catching pickier fish, especially when the hatch is coming off.

Anglers especially love this task when targeting trout, as they tend to focus on specific types of flies.

To start, all you have to do is follow these key steps:

Step 1: Analyze Fish Patterns

Before you get started, you will need to determine what type of fish activity you are dealing with.

You’ll want to note their feeding patterns before casting so that you know where to land.

Step 2: Attach the Float

When preparing your line, the next step is to attach a clear float.

On the other end, tie on a leader with a comfortable length depending on how far you want to cast.

Typically, three to five feet should give you more than enough length.

Step 3: Attach the Fly

At the other end of the leader, connect the fly of your choosing.

We recommend coating the fly in floatant, as this is what will keep it dry and above the water.

Otherwise, the soft materials will get soaked and dense, causing them to soak.

Step 4: Casting

With your rig prepared, it is time to get out onto the water.

All you have to do for this process is cast your line upstream, ensuring you manage the slack between the float and fly.

It is important to note that pickier fish are more likely to differentiate between real food and flies.

With that said, ensure the fly and float drifts with the current in a natural pattern.

This process is more likely to catch unsuspecting fish, allowing you to maximize your returns.

Dry fly fishing on still water is one of the best ways to catch more fish than traditional fly gears.

You’ll find that you can cast out significantly farther for a stealthier approach.

Also, you will need less room for your backcasts, which makes them an excellent option for busier fishing areas.

The most important tip to remember is that patience is necessary, as this process can be lengthy.

The fly and float will move at the same pace as the water, which can take a while, especially with still water.

You’ll want to ignore your instincts to continually crank the fly and simply let it move on its own.

fly fishing with a spinning rod tips

How Do You Fly Trout With Spinning Gear?

Learning how to fly trout with spinning gear is quite simple, especially with the proper technique and setup.

What You’ll Need

When flying trout with spinning gear, there are a couple of things to consider buying.

You can easily use the same rig as discussed earlier, but it’s also recommended to add a couple of extra items.

Two of our top recommendations are a strike indicator and trout magnet floats.

With the trout magnet floats, you will have access to heavier weights on your line, improving favorable casts.

You can also easily use them with dry or wet flies, giving you ample versatility.

Alternatively, you could opt for a casting bubble, which also helps with adding weight.

What Is a Casting Bubble?

Casting bubbles are one of the most commonly used tools for fly fishing on a spinning rod.

They are uniquely designed plastic bubbles that you put directly on your line.

Their primary purpose is to add weight so that you can quickly cast the low-weight fly at the end of your line.

One of the most significant advantages of casting bubbles is fish do not easily identify them because they are transparent.

They are also easy to manage, whether you want them to lie lifeless or be twisted underwater.

What Is a Strike Indicator?

A strike indicator is often regarded as a more “professional” term for a bobber.

However, it also allows you to notice when there’s a strike on your line.

It is one of the best beginner-friendly tools to have, whether using dry or wet flies.

Also, it serves the same purpose as a casting bubble in that it assists with weight.

When attaching your strike indicator, we recommend putting it down farther on the line.

Doing this helps you identify a trout strike in far less time so that you can make the most of your casts.

How to Fly Trout

Once you have your gear set up, it is time for you to begin casting.

Ideally, you are going to want to ensure the fly glides slightly off the bottom.

This casting method ensures the fly lands right in front of the trout’s face, enticing its interest.

During this step, you might have to adjust your float based on depth.

However, this setup is preferred because it allows the fly to drop slowly in the water, looking more natural.

Popping the Line

If you’ve cast and noticed it is taking a while to capture the attention of fish, you can pop the line.

Adding a tiny pop here and there helps to raise the lure in the water.

This movement adds a bit of liveliness to the fly, which can pique the interest of unsuspecting trout.

By repeating the popping movement, the lure falls closer to the bottom, closer to your fish.

Initially, you might not feel any bites, but you’re more likely to hook your trout the second or third time.

Can You Fish for Trout With a Spinning Reel?

Instead of using a dry fly, there are a couple of alternatives to help you catch trout with a spinning reel.

Two of our favorites include indicator nymphing and using more giant bugs.

Indicator Nymphing

Indicator nymphing is a more effective type of fly fishing with spinning rods.

This process is remarkably accurate when trout are feeding below the surface.

With a few minor modifications, you will be able to revolutionize your spinning rod for nymphing.

What You’ll Need

The main modification you will have to make to your line is adding a float with the proper weight rating.

To find the perfect weight, simply consider the length of your lead.

Longer leads require heavier weights, although we’ve found one to two split shots should do the job.

Then, you will want to tie a nymph on the end of your main line, with the split shot 18 inches closer to the bobber.

Ideally, it would be best if you place your bobber straight up and down for optimal success.

When choosing your fly, you will need to pick it on a day-to-day basis, depending on what would work best.

For this process, we highly recommend San Juan Worms, Glo Bugs, AP Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, or Birdsnests.

These styles tend to work the best in an assortment of conditions and are sure to catch trout.

If you are looking for a simple selection, you could always opt for a fly kit, which comes with an assortment.

How to Cast for Indicator Nymphing

The central premise of indicator nymphing is to ensure your casts look as natural as possible.

Your entire presentation should be drag-free, allowing your rig to drift seamlessly down the water.

Like with dry fly fishing, you will want to avoid any unnatural movements that spook the trout.

Ensure there is not too much slack, as well. Otherwise, the line could whip around uncontrollably.

Be sure to avoid a belly from forming because it will cause the fly to be dragged too quickly.

Remember: The slower your line moves, the more successful you will be at catching fish.

Using Big Bugs

The other popular process for fly fishing with a spinning rod is to increase the size of your flies.

If you are someone who prefers big flies, you know that it is easy to attach them to your line.

You’ll find that this process is fantastic for Muddler Minnows, Woolly Buggers, and Zonkers.

What You’ll Need

To prepare for this task, you will need to focus primarily on the split shot to keep your flies in place.

Ideally, you will need enough to manage 12 to 15 inches above the fly to get it close to the bottom.

Once you have all of your components affixed to the line, you are ready to get started.

How to Cast Big Bugs

There are not too many differences between casting giant bugs and indicator nymphing.

With this task, you are going to want to allow the fly to sink, which is quite different from dry fishing.

Once the line sinks, you can manually twitch it so that the rod tip pops slightly.

You’ll find that most of your strikes will occur immediately as the fly sinks, so make sure you are ready.

This process is a fan favorite because it not only works in rivers but lakes as well.

Fly Fishing With a Spinning Rod

When fly fishing with a spinning rod, there are many unique ways you can combine the two activities into one.

Whether catching trout or other fish, these unique steps are bound to make the process more enjoyable.

They can also help you save a significant amount of money rather than investing in more fishing gear.

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