Fly Fishing For Coarse Fish

10:13 am


I’ve been fly fishing for trout for nearly thirty years now and enjoy it as much as the day when I cast that first black gnat into the Derbyshire Derwent.

Like anything in life, a new challenge can refresh and reinvigorate and I have always sought to keep fly fishing interested by embracing new ideas and change. Saltwater fly fishing, in particular, is a great passion. Spending the majority of my time mooching around the streams of Yorkshire and The Peak District I find the open sea and salty air truly invigorating.

Closer to home, however, some of my greatest enjoyment comes from fly fishing for coarse fish. Many beginners are surprised to learn that nearly all freshwater fish in the UK can be caught on the fly. Some are easier than others through!

Through the hot summer days in July & August when the Trout fishing becomes sluggish, my attention turns to coarse fish.

Finding a place to fish is easy. From rivers to canals and stocked ponds you will find somewhere close to home. Make sure you ask first if you are ok to fly fish as there may be issues with pedestrians walking on paths on your back cast.

Here are some of the most common quarry:

Pike & Zander

Larger streamers and baitfish imitations. Make sure you use a wire trace on the end of your leader and you will really need a 9 or 10 weight rod although you will be ok with your 8 weight if you stick to smaller flies.

Roach, Rudd & Dace

Brilliant for targeting on a dry fly. Use light soft rods and small dries with a fine tippet.




Probably one of the easiest coarse fish to catch on a fly. Small perch will greedily take nymphs and small fry patterns. Target larger species using small baitfish imitations (be sure to use a wire trace when fishing these if Pike are also present)


Chub will take a dry fly just as readily as a trout, however, they are shy and easily spooked. Big juicy foam ants and wasps can work well. They will also take a good streamer pattern such as a wooly bugger.


There are a couple of ways to approach carp. The first method is to bait up the surface with dog biscuits or bread and to fish an imitation nearby. The second and my preferred method is to try and imitate the carps natural food and deceive them with a fly.