Fly-Fishing Myths Busted

The truth behind fishing superstitions. 

There is perhaps no sport more shrouded in myth than fishing. Some are based in truth, while others are pure farce. Here, area fishers and Cast contributors describe common (and uncommon) fly-fishing myths and superstitions. You’ll have to make up your own mind if they’re true or not. —the editors 

Myth: Trout bite best just after daybreak
Reality: It’s not the time of day that makes a trout want to eat; it’s the water temperature (52-57 degrees for trout). —J.D. Bingman, owner of Wild Trout Outfitters

Myth: Fish can’t see color
Reality: Yes, they can. Why does a purple haze catch fish when a parachute Adams can’t? Color. —Justin Hartman, owner of Tight Line Adventures and Expedition Lodge

Myth: Trout are sensitive to barometric pressure
Reality: Trout feed when the bugs they eat are active. Barometric pressure changes normally signal changes in weather, light, and humidity that insects respond to. —David Decker, owner of The Complete Fly Fisher Lodge

Myth: Big fish are harder to hook than small ones
Reality: Small fish are harder to hook because the hook is more foreign to them. Once a fish has been around a few years and eaten everything but the kitchen sink, they tend to ignore much of what they put in their mouth. —Tim Tollet, owner of Frontier Anglers

Myth: The farther you cast, the more fish you catch
Reality: Nope, the long-distance caster looks good, has a lot of fun, and can be enjoyable to watch, but he won’t catch as many trout as the angler with a shorter (30-40 foot) cast and a perfect presentation. —J.D. Bingman, owner of Wild Trout Outfitters

Myth: Trout don’t eat snakes, gophers, salamanders, and other large fish
Reality: A young lad once brought a 13-inch brook trout to my store and there were three gophers in its stomach. —Tim Tollet, owner of Frontier Anglers

Myth: You’ll sink if you fall on the river with your waders on and no wading belt
Reality: Even with your waders full of water, you’ll be neutrally buoyant. Difficult to swim well? Yes. Sink? Not a chance. —Jason Fleury, guide at Trout Chasers

Myth: Bananas in the boat are bad luck
Reality: Nope. Early anglers in Hawaii would embark upon lengthy fishing trips in dugout canoes provisioned with bananas (along with other food items). The farther they went, the fewer the fish, causing some of them to mistake correlation for causation. —Brian McGeehan, owner of Montana Angler

Myth: Catching a fish on the first cast results in bad luck the rest of the day
Reality: It’s true! —John Carpenter, Thomas & Thomas Fly Fishing