Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing for Trout

Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing for Trout

Have you ever wished you could look over the shoulder of a fly fishing guide to learn how to become a proficient angler?

This book flattens the learning curve by taking a simplified practical approach. It is aimed at getting you up-and-running quickly so you can enjoy fly fishing and catch fish.

All the essential components needed to learn fly fishing:

  • What gear you need and how to use it
  • Where to fish and why
  • How to select the proper fly
  • The fundamentals of fly casting
  • How to fish with flies
  • How to tie essential fishing knots

Veteran Fly Fishing guide Leo Vensel finds common challenges, and similar questions by clients and students alike. This book provides the answers to solving them, it is a culmination of his successful beginners classes and years of working with clients.

“One critical teaching skill is to make the information easy to understand and then build on this foundation. Like so many skill related activities you need to have solid base before you can accelerate. I believe in learning and honing fundamental skills which is so often neglected.”


80 Pages. Available in PDF format

Learning made easy.


“If Leo Vensel’s fly-fishing guide doesn’t have you immediately packing your rod and reel for a nearby stream, nothing will. Vensel will not only tell you where you’re likely to find the fish, but he has the knack of creating a perfect stream-side day. As a beginner myself, I welcomed his easy-going manner; and his appreciation and respect for the outdoors. Vensel’s approach is perfect for ‘newbies’; but, seasoned fly-fishermen will come away with a satisfying experience too. It’s simple – he makes it fun!”
~ Olga A. Herbert, Executive Director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor and Co-Founder of the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail.”



“I first met Leo in June of 2013. At the ripe old age of 60, I decided to take up the sport and art of fly fishing and I started using guides as instructors. It didn’t take long before I realized that I needed a mentor; not just some guide-for-hire who would take me out on the water, tie my flies onto my line, show me how he did it and maybe catch a couple of fish. I wanted someone who was a mentor; someone who could teach me the technical aspects of fly fishing but who also appreciated the joy and essence of fly fishing – that very elemental need to be outside for the sake of being outside, no matter the conditions or time of year, trying to entice a disinterested fish into grabbing this artificial lure I was throwing. My friend, Bob Phillips, recommended Leo, and I owe Bob much thanks. Many guides can explain the technical art of fly fishing – perfecting your cast, presenting the fly. But when I attempted to do what those guides said, all I got was a “No, that’s not it” or “Boy, you missed that one.” Leo is as good a technical teacher as I have worked with; but more importantly, Leo has that innate ability to relate to those of us who are new to the sport, who really don’t know what we are doing and who get easily frustrated. Just hearing Leo say, “Boy, that was a great drift. I can’t believe you didn’t get a fish!” was as important and comforting to me as landing a fish. And when you finally catch that fish, it’s hard to tell who’s happier – me or Leo! You can hear in Leo’s voice the joy he gets from watching you develop and succeed.

I wish I had more time to fly fish; but I really wish I had more time to fly fish with Leo Vensel. I know you will enjoy Leo and his instructions and lessons as much as I do.”

Donald T. Dulac, Jr., Lawyer, Pittsburgh, PA, President, Barnes Dulac Watkins

If you are looking for a solid first step then you will find this enjoyable to read, easy to understand guide a welcome companion.

— Contents —
Introduction……………………………………………8
Why Fly Fishing …………………………………………9
Brief History ……………………………………………9
Trout Habitat ……………………………………………13
Trout Species ……………………………………………16
Insects and Other Food Sources …………………………23
Fly Selection ……………………………………………30
Fly Pattern Categories …………………………………32
Essential Gear …………………………………………41
Knots …………………………………………………50
Casting …………………………………………………57
Fundamental Fishing Practices …………………………63
Lakes and Still Water …………………………………70
Playing and Landing Trout ……………………………73
Catch-and-Release ……………………………………74
Ethics and Etiquette ……………………………………75
Conservation …………………………………………76
Suggested Reading/Viewing …………………………76
Giving Back ……………………………………………77
Finally …………………………………………………77
About the Author ………………………………………85

“My mission is to help you find the same enjoyment that I have the privilege to help others with – Successfully fly fishing for trout!” – Leo Vensel

Leo Vensel started fly fishing in the early ’70s and is completely immersed in the sport. He has taught hundreds of students the fundamentals of fly fishing and truly enjoys guiding others in the pursuit of wild fish. His passion for the sport has taken him to American West, Great Lakes, Florida, Mid-Atlantic states, and Canada. He is a licensed Pennsylvania fishing guide, Fly Fishing Team USA Nationals qualifier, Federation of Fly Fishers certified casting instructor, and former president of the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
When not on the water or tying flies, Leo can be found enjoying the outdoors with his wife Chrissy, creating art, and plotting his next adventure.



80 Pages. Available in PDF format.