Basic Fly Fishing Setup

For most river and stream conditions, if you’re going to be fly fishing, the following recommendations should work just fine.

Fly Rod Weight

Just to give you a better idea, we are listing our recommendations for small trout, average size trout, steelhead and salmon.  This should help you choose the correct weight needed for the type of fish you are targeting.

Small Trout (0-4)

Average Size Trout (4-6)

Steelhead (7-9)

Salmon (8-10)

Large Salmon (10 – 12)

Fly Rod Length

8 to 9 feet unless you are fishing a small stream with lots of obstacles. Go shorter if you have casting obstacles.  6 or 7 feet might be better.

Fly Line Weight

Small Salmon


Bigger Salmon


Leader Tippet:  5x – 0.17x (20 – 30 pound line)


30 pound test minimum for bigger fish, 20 pound test can work for smaller salmon

Use as much space as your reel can handle because if you get a big fish that makes a run, you may not be able to stop him without having enough heavy line.  While 50 yards of backing may be sufficient for most trout species, adding 150 yards or more would be much better for salmon fishing.  It depends on your reel and what type of line you use as backing because the diameter sizes vary for the different fishing lines and the reels vary for how much line that can fit on it.