Fly fishing is an ancient angling method to catch fish with artificial lures as distinct from live or dead bait. Casting the (practically) weightless lure requires a special fishing line and a long rod. Fly fishing can be done in fresh or salt water. North Americans usually distinguish freshwater fishing between cold-water species (trout, salmon, steelhead) and warm water species, notably bass. In Britain, where natural water temperatures vary less, the distinction is between game fishing for trout or salmon and coarse fishing for other species. Techniques for freshwater fly fishing also differ with habitat (lakes, small streams and big rivers.
Fly fishing is most renowned as a method for catching trout and salmon, but today it is also used for a wide variety of species including pike, bass, pan fish, gray ling and carp, as well as marine species, such as red fish, snook, tarpon, bone fish and striped bass. There are many reports of fly anglers taking unintended species such as chub, bream and rudd while fishing for ‘main target’ species such as trout. There is a growing population of anglers whose aim is to catch as many different species as possible with the fly. With the advancement of technology and development of stronger rods and reels, larger predatory saltwater species such as wahoo, tuna, marlin and sharks have become target species on fly. Realistically any fish can be targeted and captured on fly as long as the main food source is effectively replicated by the fly itself and the gear used is suitable. Artificial flies are made by fastening hair, fur, feathers, or other materials, both natural and synthetic, onto a hook. The first flies were tied with natural materials, but synthetic materials are now very popular and prevalent. The flies are tied in sizes, colors and patterns to match local terrestrial and aquatic insects, baitfish, or other prey attractive to the target fish species.