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Top Rigs for Fly Fishing Trout - Marine Depot Direct

Top Rigs for Fly Fishing Trout

Angler fishing from boat at dusk

Article and photo by Trent Ragans

Rig selection can often seem overwhelming with the abundance of options an angler has today. Unfortunately, there is no generic setup that will consistently bring you results in fly fishing trout, or any type of fishing for that matter. That’s how tackle companies stay in business.

That’s why it is important to prep for your upcoming outing by understanding the conditions and your preferences before making your rig selection. Here is a list of important questions I ask myself several days before a trip.

What are the current seasonal impacts?

According to your location, trout behavior can change drastically throughout the year. A good rule of thumb is the colder the weather, the colder the water. The colder the water, the more lethargic the fish will be because their metabolisms have slowed down.

Just think how differently we as humans react to a blazing hot sunny afternoon versus a freezing cold rainy night. Speaking of, I would suggest keeping your Bimini top hardware updated. I am not a fan of sunburns and unfortunately learned my lesson this past weekend.

What are the specific weather conditions that day?

There is one thing I have learned in my time as an angler, and that is you can never trust the weatherman.

This is why it is essential to have your rig set up for conditions that seem most likely, but always be prepared to shift strategies. We have all had that Saturday trip calling for a gorgeous forecast and then we end up with miserable weather and an empty cooler.

Seriously, what happened there, Weather Channel?

Your ability to cast to where you want to, show the trout a convincing presentation, and reach the right water column is all variable with that specific day’s conditions. 

Where and how are you fishing?

This one may seem obvious, but location significantly affects how you should choose your fly fishing rig. Are you fishing fast-moving rivers or still lakes? Are you wading, kayaking, or boating? Your success rate is largely impacted by understanding how to fish in your preferred style and location.

Go to your local bait shop and ask questions about where you plan to go (and buy something). Support your local anglers and they will support you.

What do you feel most confident in using?

This one is a bit cliché, but approaching your fishing day excited about your rig setup significantly alters your mental state. If you believe you are going to catch fish because you have spent the time researching, practicing, and hopefully executing, you will without a doubt have a better chance of success.

Try different things in different scenarios. Don’t stick with one rig just because you caught fish with it once. If you are just starting out, utilize the information that is available out there, such as the best beginner trout fly fishing package

Now that you have an idea of your conditions and preferences, let’s discuss my top fly fishing trout rigs and what they are known for.


Orange Cone Zonker Streamer Fly

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My personal favorite as I am after the larger trout and often like to kayak fish in lakes. This rig is all about imitating a fleeing baitfish, which therefore attracts the more aggressive trout. You can cover a lot of water once you get some experience under your belt.


Rainbow Warrior Nymph

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Often considered the best option for beginners, nymphing is focused around targeting trout sub-surface by imitating aquatic-born flies and utilizing a strike indicator. This isn’t about covering as much ground searching for larger fish, but more about presenting your prey with an easy meal.

Dry Flies

Mohican Dry Fly

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Lastly, we have what is considered the most advanced form of fly fishing. Dry flies are surface dwellers, and getting that Instagram photo of you holding the trout out as far in front of you as possible is only going to happen through extreme accuracy and stealth.

This strategy is the most rewarding due to the added excitement of surface blow ups, but with that comes added difficulty most would not suggest for the beginning angler.


Understand your conditions, figure out what you enjoy, and then make your decision on which fly fishing rig to use for targeting trout. Once you have found your niche, master the technique!

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