Getting Started

Getting Started

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Living in Santa Barbara offers the fly fishing enthusiasts lots of fishing opportunities year around. Local fresh water streams and lakes provide for exciting fishing after a variety of species including rainbow trout and small and large mouth bass. The nearby Sierra Nevada mountains offer some of the best trout fishing found anywhere in the world.

The nearby Pacific offers great saltwater fishing for the flyfisher. Surf perch and corbena can be caught right in the breaking surf on most of the beaches in the area. And for the more adventurous, taking a float tube out to the kelp beds offers great fly fishing for sand bass, calico bass and halibut. The blue water fly fisher can expect to get the fight of their lives when hooking up on local shark, tuna and an occasional salmon.

Are you considering getting into the sport or have moved into the area and are looking for more information on local fly fishing? Let’s take a look at what you need to get started.

The Equipment:

Your all-around 5/6 weight trout rod will work well both in the local streams as well as for fishing the surf and kelp beds. Its when you plan to go after the big game fish that you need to consider up-grading your equipment. Anywhere from a 8-12 weight rod should be consider for these strong fish.

The fishing lines you consider are both a floating line for surface action and a fast full sinking or intermediate sink-tip line to get down in the deep pools and kelp beds where the fish hang.

Tapered leaders can be anywhere from 4-6X and run from 8-10 ft. for your light fishing. In salt water you should plan on rigging a 2-3 section leader starting with 5 ft of 30 lb mono followed by a 3 ft section of 16-12 lb mono. You need to consider going to stainless steel shock-leader for the big fish with big teeth.

The Flies:

Here is a selection of fly patterns that have worked well year in and year out in some of these select waters:

Santa Ynez River, Sespe River, Piru Creek, and Sisquoc:

  • Nymphs: #12-16 Prince,  #12-18 Pheasant tail , #12-18 Hares Ear, #12-14 Damsel
  • Dry Flies: #14-18 Tan and Olive Elk Hair caddis, #14-18 Adams, #12-14Black Gnat, #12-14Royal Coachman,
  • Streamers: #4-6Olive, brown and black Wooly Bugger, # 4-6 Muddler minnow, #4-6 Olive and Black Matuka, #4-6 Olive and black marabou leaches.

Upper and lower Owens River:

  • Nymphs: #12-16 Green and Brown Caddis Pupa, #12-16 Prince,  #12-18 Pheasant tail , #12-18 Hares Ear
  • Dry Flies: #14-18 Tan and Olive Elk Hair caddis, #14-18 Adams, #6-10 Dave’s Hopper
  • Streamers: #4-6Olive, brown and black Wooly Bugger, # 4-6 Muddler minnow, #4-6 Olive and Black Matuka, #4-6 Olive and black marabou leaches, #4 black rabbit fur leaches

Lake Crowley:

  • Nymphs: #12-16 Prince, #12-14 Olive Damsel
  • Dry flies: #14-16 Black Midge
  • Streamers: #4-6Olive, brown and black Wooly Bugger, #4-6 Olive and Black Matuka, #4-6 Olive and black marabou leaches.

The Surf and kelp beds:

  • 1/0, 2 Sand Crab
  • 1/0 blue/white Deceiver
  • 1/0 red/white Clouser Minnow
  • #2-8 Krystal Bait