Float Fishing for Beginners

Float Fishing Benefits for Beginning Anglers

Some beginner fly fishermen are hesitant to book a guided float trip thinking their lack of fly fishing experience may be a problem. As a professional fly fishing guide for the last twenty years that did both wade trips and float trips, the subject of whether or not one type of trip may be a better choice is really up to one’s own individual interests.  With that said, let’s examine some ideas as to why a novice or someone relatively new to fly fishing might have a better opportunity at having more fun, reaching some degree of satisfaction and continuing on in the sport, by giving float fishing a try.


-Fly Casting is made easier from a raised platform found in any modern drift boat or raft with a fishing type frame

-Fly Casting is made easier by not having any bushes or trees to tangle with on the back cast.

-Longer Fly Casts are easier because you’re not fighting as much friction of your fly line on the water while in a boat.

Mending and Line Control:

-Fly Line Maintenance is easier as most boats have areas for line to store while fly casting. Some rafting frames come equipped with line stripping baskets to make line management easier.

-Fly Line Mending is easier from a boat because you have more lift and elevation.  Think of your nine foot long fly rod as having another couple feet of extra length due to the boats added height.  This makes reach mending or lifting your fly line off the water to avoid drag, easier to accomplish.

-Longer Drifts are made easier because the boatman is most often pacing the boat the same speed your fly if floating so you may enjoy an extended drift.  Extended drifts provide more opportunities for strikes. This is the number one reason people in boats can have a better chance at more strikes.

-Drag Free Presentation can be obtained by just lifting the fly rod sometimes and intricate mending is not required as the oarsman is working with you to create the ideal presentation.

Line of Sight:

-Seeing fish to sight cast is easier. Floating along while you cast will turn up more feeding fish to sight fish too.

-Being able to see the river bottom and drop offs is easier the higher you get over the water

-Seeing and targeting current changes and seams or finding locations where fish school to feed is more practical from a vessel.

From The Boat:

-Accessing private water in our State of Colorado  and in other states such as Wyoming can be done with a floating boat. This may provide fly fisherman with less fished water and more opportunities at larger trout.

-Poor Casting or splashing your fly line on the water is easily overcome. Since anglers can float on past to the next fish and trying for a better presentation.

-Hooking Trout can be more consistent because of the greater angle you establish by having more lift.

-Fighting Trout is faster as the boat provides better leverage. It’s easier to move the fish away from trouble or off the bottom.

-Playing Large Trout is easier that when wading because when big fish take out line you can follow them.  Your number one goal is to have the fish on a short line. This enables anglers keep him on the hook and out of trouble.

-Netting trout is easier by using the extra lift to position the fish for a head first netting.  Large nets accompany float boats, making losing a fish around the net less common in a boat.

Benefits of hiring a Guide:

-Asking Questions can be easier with a guide sitting next to you all day long.

-Taking Fish Photos from a boat is simple and you can have more variety of scenery

-Wear casual and comfortable clothing like sandals, shorts and beachwear

-Wildlife viewing along the river can be more rewarding because you travel silently float fishing along.

Final Thoughts:

-You can always choose a float where you can get out of the boat and wade. Great for those who enjoy both float fishing and wading.

-Should you be interested in taking advantage of a few of the many float fishing advantages next time you venture out on the river, hire a good guide service  like Vail Valley Anglers and try floating.

Bill Perry
Guide and Content Writer