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Swing the Fly

Spey 101

Building a basic understanding of Spey casting, including techniques, equipment, terminology, and history. All Spey 101 content is free to view for non-members. Learn and Enjoy!

  • “Circling Up” in Spey Casting
    If we have an anchor that is pointing towards our target and provides the proper amount of water tension (e.g. our leader or sink tip…
  • Spey Casting in A Nutshell
    I'm a firm believer in simplifying processes. First understand what we are trying to accomplish in simple terms and then break it down into steps…
  • 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Beginner Spey Casters
    I’ve had the privilege of teaching several hundred new Spey casters over the last decade, and during that time I’ve had the opportunity to observe…
  • Learn How to Spey Cast
    Understanding basic Spey casting terminology will ease your learning process.


Brought to you by Patagonia logo

Passing on healthy rivers and fish populations to the next generation is a responsibility all swung fly anglers must be committed to. Keep tabs here on the latest news from our conservation partners and learn how you can help.

  • Costa Sunglasses Releases First-Ever Protect Report
    Leading by example, Costa has put its mission into action by protecting waterways, reducing ocean pollution and helping restore coastal communities.
    To survive, our irreplaceable wild fish need clean, undammed rivers undiluted by inferior hatchery stocks, accessible spawning grounds, protected ocean habitat and sustainable fishing practices.…
  • Film Trailer: Leap Year
    We explore the river and colorful characters of this scene as we ask a serious question: why are these traditions important to us and what…
  • The Future Of Europe’s Largest Wild River Is In Danger
    Ahead of upcoming Albanian parliamentary elections, citizens, activists and conservationists are demanding political support for the establishment of Europe’s first wild river national park, thus…

Fly Tying

  • Scandi-Style Trout Tube
    Recently shifting a lot of my tying focus to Trout Spey, I realized that I still had an abundance of fur in the 2.5-3-inch range; perfect for the trout flies I desired. And the Scandi-style was the perfect recipe for a decent-sized, lightly weighted fly that would still cast easily on any light trout rod…
  • The White-Winged Akroyd
    In Eric Taverner’s Salmon Fishing (1931), when discussing the merits of the Akroyd he is quoted as saying, “This is a hard-wearing and killing fly, especially if pains have been taken to dress it neatly and sparingly, so that the body has the appearance of slimness, lightly clad with luminous filmy robes. I would cheerfully…
  • The Heisenberg
    Heisenberg” as a blue fly name should make sense to anyone who has seen Breaking Bad. If you haven’t, “Heisenberg” was the alias of the high school chemist turned meth cooker, Walter White. His meth was the best, and it was also blue. According to Brian Clemens, a northern California guide who spends a lot…
  • The Night Terror
    Don’t be fooled by this fly’s simplicity. Designed for movement, the Night Terror undulates and pulses in the current without losing bulk and profile – and to top it off, it is easy to cast!

Atlantic Salmon

  • The Last Salmon
    I sometimes feel as if Angler #1 (Dry Fly Guy) is perched on my left shoulder and Angler #2 (Bottom Ranger) sits on my right shoulder. Angler #1 whispers quietly in my left ear, “Dry or die!” Angler #2 mumbles simultaneously into my right ear, “Go deep or go home!”
  • Terminal Thinking
    Terminal thinking seems especially prevalent as we contemplate the changes to our lives in a post-COVID-19 world. It’s a tough time to be a swinger of flies. On the West Coast, steelhead guides and fishermen lost a good chunk of their season due to the closure of rivers and non-essential businesses. Here on the East…
  • A Handful of Flies from the Kola Peninsula: Part I
    The Belousiha River Lodge is a small fishing camp on Russia’s Kola Peninsula.

Great Lakes

  • Sink-Tip Leaders
    How long should the distance be between the end of the sinking tip or sinking leader and the fly?
  • Book: Matching Baitfish by Kevin Feenstra
    Matching Baitfish is so much more than what the title lets on. In fact, I'm not sure any title could do justice to what lies within: incredible photography, an education on baitfish you won't find in a lifetime elsewhere, innovative techniques and tactics for the swung fly angler, and one of a kind fly patterns.
  • Webinar: Getting Ready for Great Lakes Spring Steelhead
    Watch the great recorded presentation by Rick Kustich here!
  • Down and Dirty
    "I call this scenario the “Down and Dirty.” If you can wade the river safely without going for a swim, you can still hook steelhead on the swung fly. The first thing you will need to do is change your gear. You’re going to need to fish the fly as slow as you can and…


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  • The P.T. Slow Swing
    So simple and so effective, I cannot say how often it‘s saved my day, from my rivers at home, to along the classic rivers in England, where Frank Sawyer invented and published it in his book Nymphs and the Trout in 1958, to the wide rivers in Montana, like the Bighorn and many more.
  • The Green Machine and the Rio Grande
    Last January, Michael and I finally stood on the banks of the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego. Like always, we booked on a relatively short notice, but we made it. We even man-aged to fill our fly boxes with all kinds of differnt flies, from Wooly Buggers to tube flies, rubber leg nymphs and…
  • Skjern Å: A Real Life Fairy Tale
    Like the ugly duckling from Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale, there is a hint of metaphor in my small story about a “ditch” that, after many years of mishandling, turns into a prolific and beautiful salmon river.
  • PHP: The Dream Team of Flies
    Admittedly, the effectiveness of a fly relies principally on the confidence that the fisherman has in it, but it also has to be recognized that the nearly-doubled rate of success kills any prior prejudice; the PHP flat-out works.

Spey Casting

  • Coming Soon! Bruce Kruk’s Spey Casting Secrets
    Bruce Kruk shares his secrets to Spey Casting success in this coming Swing the Fly video series produced by Tightline Films.
  • “Circling Up” in Spey Casting
    If we have an anchor that is pointing towards our target and provides the proper amount of water tension (e.g. our leader or sink tip laying flat on the water), it guarantees we have our hands in an acceptable position to make a forward cast …
  • The V-Loop
    As it pertains to Anchor-Centric Spey Casting You might be expecting an article on how to create the magical “V-loop” and the ensuing super-charged Spey casts you have always heard of. My apologies. Instead you are going to get an article on why the V-loop is a bad idea and possibly even fallacy — a…
  • Tension: The Key to the Spey Cast?
    Let's dive in further to the question: Is there a unifying component that all successful Spey casts have, regardless of casting or line style?

Trout Spey

  • Hatches: Spotted Sedge
    Spotted sedge (Hydropsyche), with at least 25 sub-species in the West, as well as Midwestern and Eastern counterparts (all very similar), could be considered one of the most important, if not the most important, insect to practitioners of trout spey and swinging wetflies.
  • Opening Day: An Ode to the Firehole
    Of all the famed water available in Yellowstone, the Firehole is just about as pleasant as fly fishing gets.
  • Salmonflies: Swinging the Hatch
    The memory of a Henry's Fork rainbow cartwheeling multiple times over a waking muddler in the glow of a May sunset still has me grinning years later. And I can almost feel the warmth of the June sun as I recall working a flooded willow bank. The plump brown trout that I eventually landed nearly…
  • The P.T. Slow Swing
    So simple and so effective, I cannot say how often it‘s saved my day, from my rivers at home, to along the classic rivers in England, where Frank Sawyer invented and published it in his book Nymphs and the Trout in 1958, to the wide rivers in Montana, like the Bighorn and many more.

West Coast

  • Guide Gossip #7: What to do when you flub your cast?
    What do you do when you flub your cast? Fix it with a mend, strip in and re-cast, or do nothing?
  • Guide Gossip #6: Player Fish
    If you have a ‘player’ fish what are your first steps to your approach to get it to come back?
  • Guide Gossip #5: Superstitions
    I asked fourteen EXCEPTIONAL spey guides from the most infamous West Coast steelhead rivers the same questions. Every guide was given the task of answering sixteen questions, some with a specific river in mind and others just as a general guide of steelhead tactics.
  • Guide Gossip: Does the Fly Matter?
    It’s the question we think every time we open our fly box; the question we think of when you have been fishing all day with nothing to speak of; the question we think when your buddy hooks a fish behind you; the question we all lucidly dream about: Does the fly matter?