Fly fishing forums are like opinions. Everyone has one, but only some are based in fact and reality. And when you’re visiting a forum, you’ll notice that there are plenty of opinions and plenty of judgement. You’ll have that. Sometimes people tend to take “free speech” too far.
The good news is that since there are such an abundance of fly fishing forums, there are many to choose from, and some are quite helpful, which allows you to whittle it down to those that offer you the best advice, camaraderie, and useful sounding board.
We’ll hit on some of the best fly fishing forums out there and touch on what makes them worth a visit and a consideration to join.
Forums at Their Best
When we introduced the idea of a forum in our Bass Fishing Forums post, we discussed that a forum is a great place for users to get together to offer help and advice, and for professionals to lend their expertise, making some interactions a good learning experience. In order to get that balance, forums need a combination of their “old faithfuls,” as well as a splash of consistent incoming new-to-the-sport anglers. That way, everyone benefits from each other’s knowledge, and the “newbies” stoke a refresher course for those that are somewhere in the middle. Good conversations follow.
In the world of fly fishing, there is so much old-world knowledge to be shared and gained. In the years gone by, anglers seemed to hoard their expertise like it was a coveted prize. Not everyone was willing to share their hard-earned secrets of the river for whatever reason. Convincing someone to cough up their tricks to fishing small flies at dusk was like pulling teeth.
Nowadays, people are much more eager to help a fellow out and share their skills with others, and a forum is a great place to get together with people, not just in your region, but across the globe, and better each other’s tackle box. Through the sharing of knowledge and information, a forum can help to make each member a better angler and increase their enjoyment of the sport.
Fly Fishing Forums: North American Fly Fishing Forum
The North American Fly Fishing Forum, which lands on theflyfishingforum.com, is the most active and interactive forum out there, by far, with upwards of 7,000 visitors daily. The trend with forums tends to be that more “visitors” . . . .well . . . . visit the page than actual contributing members. NA Fly Fishing Forum is no different, but still has an impressive number of members landing on the page each day at over 600.
Impressively, this site has an exhaustive list of every sort of post you can imagine, from the normal tips and tricks, fly tying help and advice on building your own rod. The Region section is broken down into much smaller areas of North America so you can get more specialized updates on conditions and reports, even going so far as to include the “Driftless Region” of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Many conversations about fishing in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean allow you to plan for your upcoming travels, or converse with locals about your current trek.
Competitions for prizes are offered regularly every month, with the added bonus of extra, random games in between. There’s a section to share fishery webcam links to assist with figuring local river water levels. More of the unique qualities that this page offers are conversations geared towards youth fly fishing, and women who tackle the art.
Fly Fishing Forums: Paflyfish
Paflyfish is touted by many as one of the most user friendly forums to visit. Chad Schmukler says that this site actually succeeds in offering what most fly fishing forums claim to offer: “a community of individuals that are extremely knowledgeable, generous with their time and information, and welcoming to newcomers.”
While mostly centered on Pennsylvania, there are members from around the globe. It’s expanded to include the neighboring states, much of the northeast US, and far beyond. A “Beginner Forum” focuses on those new to fly fishing or looking to brush up on some of the basics.
In-depth discussion on tying encourages users to share what they’re working on today, stoking conversations about both new oddities and modifications to old favorites like the zebra midge.
While the member count isn’t as high as North American Fly Fishing forum, the site is active, with contributions being made within the hour. Over 50 users visit the site at a time, with over 10 being registered members. They hold several gatherings throughout the year and many have had the opportunity to meet face to face.
Fly Fishing Forums: Spey Pages
While geared specifically to those aficionados of the popular spey cast, Spey Pages also has an active membership, with conversations being updated each day. Over 400 users are online at any given time and over 90 of those are contributing members. This seems to attract may new members, as they arrive daily. That’s what may be so attractive about this site. There are solid offerings for both new members and new casters. A “New Member Introduction” thread offers advice on how to post, code of conduct, and a way that new members can introduce themselves to the general population. A “Spey Basics” section is geared towards new spey casters as a way to encourage them to participate and have their questions answered.
Fly Fishing Forums: Troutnut
This one is definitely worth mentioning. Troutnut provides a light-hearted feel, while offering probably the best gathering place for those very new to fly fishing. The owner has a great sense of humor, and lays out the “Forum Rules” at the bottom of the landing page with realistic style, threatening to “call your mother on you” if you use naughty words. It dictates that you should “use common sense and don’t be a jerk.”
Funny aside, this is an active site with conversations being updated daily. There are usually over 280 users online at any given time. This is a great page, probably catering more to beginners. The “Fly Fishing Beginner Help” thread offers a safe place where newbies can ask “getting started” questions and the old-timers can share their “wish-I-had-known” lessons. Questions are generally answered within a day or two.
The general feeling from members is warm and welcoming, with very little of the negativity that many other forums can sometimes affect.
Whether you’re new to the sport or are looking for a sounding board to tackle difficult techniques, using the community of an online forum is a great way to come together with other anglers.