Wet Flies

Wet flies are designed to be fished beneath the surface to represent sunken mayfly spinners, emerging caddis pupa, or diving adult caddis, pretty much any insect at all that has found itself trapped beneath the surface, along with spiders, shrimps and even tiny fish. The latter particularly so when fished downstream with a winged wet fly.

Typically “wets” are very small flies

At least #12 or smaller. Streamers are large feathered lures that are always fished close to the bottom. Whereas wet flies can be fished close to the bottom and up near the surface. Wets are often fished on a floating fly line just beneath the surface. It makes them ideal for prospecting around rocks and close to overhangs in shallow knee-deep water without snagging.

These little trout flies can be fished across and down in much the same action as a lure, but they can also be fished upstream. After each cast take another step upstream and repeat. Novice flyfishers may wonder how trout can even see such tiny imitations let alone catch them in their mouths in broken fast water or at night, but they do. Trout have excellent eyesight.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, dry fly and nymph fishing in New Zealand was virtually unknown. Fly fishing for trout was either done by casting large feathered lures or small wet flies. Whereas nowadays nymph and dry fly fishing are the norms. Not many anglers fish wet flies these days. However, they are still very effective especially for anglers who are good at spotting the places where trout could be holding.

To fish wet flies it is essential to wade out into the river or stream. You can fish two wet flies but in slower moving water this will likely appear to the trout to be unnatural. In fast-broken water a tandem rig can be deadly.

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