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Action - A word that expresses the flexibility and power of a fly rod.

Arbor - The spindle of a fly-reel spool that the backing line is attached to and wound on.

Aquatic insects - Those insects that live some part of their normal life cycle beneath the water.

Attractor - (color)- Unnaturally bright color in a fly pattern.



Backing (braided) - A line most commonly composed of several filaments of either nylon or Dacron braided into a single component. Used to extend fly line’s length.

Bank - The higher and steeper sides above a lake or stream, usually created by water cutting or eroding the shoreline.

Bar - A mounded structure in streams and some lakes caused by accumulation of rock, sand, sediment, and dead vegetation, usually protruding out of the water or very near the surface.

Barb (hook) - The raised cut section of a hook immediately behind the point. It is designed to prevent the hook from coming out of the fish’s mouth.

Barbless hook - A fly hook without a barb. Bass-A general descriptive term for a group of larger freshwater sunfish, particularly large­ mouth bass, smallmouth bass, and Kentucky or spotted bass.

Bass bug - A floating fly used for bass fly fishing. Beaching-A method of landing a fish by coaxing or forcing it to swim or drift itself aground in the shallow water of a lake or stream shoreline.

Beaver pond - A small lake, usually less than two acres, that has been formed by the damming of a small brook or stream by beavers.

Belly - The larger midsection of a fly line. Also may refer to the curve of a fly-line midsection when wind or current pushes it into a C shape.

Bite - A term often used by fly fishers to describe the strike of a fish. Bite also may refer to the distance from the hook point and the extent a the bend.

Bite tippet - A short tippet of heavy monofilament or wire that prevents a sharp-toothed fish from biting the fly off the leader. Also called a shock tippet.

Brackish water - Water that has less salt content than true ocean salt water. Occurs most commonly where freshwater streams meet or mix with saltwater bays and estuaries.

Braided loop - A loop connector that slides over either end of the fly line and is fixed there with glue or a heat-shrink sleeve. Used for loop-to­ loop connections of the leader or shooting line to the fly line.

Break off/busted off - The accidental or purposeful breaking of the leader tippet from a hooked fish, freeing it.

Bug - Usually refers to a floating bass fly that might imitate various large insects, frogs, mice, and so on.

Butt cap - The end of a fly-rod handle used for resting and protecting the fly rod and fly reel when stored upright. At times it is rested against the fly fisher’s stomach when fighting a large fish.



Canal - A man-made, water-filled ditch used to join lakes or swamps to rivers, or to straighten and quicken the flow of a stream’s runoff.

Cast - The act of delivering the fly to the fishing area with fly rod, line, and leader. Cast is also used as a descriptive term by English fly fishers to denote the fly leader.

Catch and release - An expression for catching fish, with immediate release alive and unharmed.

Catch-and-release net - A shallow, soft, fine­ mesh, knotless dip net that enhances the ability to capture, unhook, and release a fish with­ out harming it.

Channel - The main depression caused by flowing water (current).

Chenille - A popular fly-tying material consisting of fine fibers of rayon, wool, nylon, and so on that are bound together in a uniform cord with two or more twisted threads. Especially popular on underwater flies such as the Woolly Worm,

Chum line - A series of fish food pieces put into the water to attract and congregate hungry fish in a specific area near the angler.

Class tippet - A tippet that is accurately calibrated in pound test for world-record fly-fishing catches.

Clippers - A small tool used to cut and trim the fly line, leader, or tippet material.

Cold-water fish - Fish that thrive best in water temperatures ranging from 40 to 60 degrees F. For example: trout, char, grayling, and salmon.

Cool-water fish - Fish that thrive best in water temperatures ranging from 50 to 75 degrees F. For example: smallmouth bass, shad, walleye, northern pike, whitefish, striped bass.

Corkers - Rubber sandals with sharp, hard-metal cleats in their soles that are worn over waders, boots, or shoes to increase grip or traction on very slippery rock stream bottoms.

Cork rings - Rings of cork that are glued together and shaped to form the fly-rod handle.

Cove - A small water indentation in the shoreline of a lake or ocean.

Crayfish - A freshwater, lobster like, small crustacean very popular as fish food.

Creel - A container cooled by water evaporation, used to keep and carry dead fish.

Crossbar (fly reel) - A part of a fly-reel frame that is chiefly for structural support between the two sides. Sometimes referred to as a post.

Cruising (fish) - An expression describing a fish that is moving about in a lake or stream in order to find food.

Crustaceans - An important group of fresh- and saltwater aquatic invertebrates that are fed upon by many fish. Shrimp, scud, sow bugs, crabs, and crayfish are examples.

Current - The flowing or gravitational pull of water in rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans.



Dead drift - The drift of a fly downstream with­ out action other than what is given it by the natural current flow. It means no drag.

Deer hair - Body hair, usually coarse and semi­ hollow, from various deer. Used for tying many fly designs.

Density - Refers to the weight of fly line, leader, or fly compared to the weight of the water. High density means much heavier than water and fast sinking. Low density means slow sinking or even floating.

Dip net - The device used to scoop up and hold a hooked fish. Also called a landing net.

Double hook - A fly-hook design that has two points, barbs, and bends, and one common shank. Most commonly used for making Atlantic salmon flies.

Drag (guides) - The rod’s guides and fly line create points of friction that are often referred to as drag.

Drag (line) - An expressive term used to describe a current or wind pull on the fly line that results in pulling the fly unnaturally over or through the water.

Drag (reel) - A part of tile fly reel that adjusts the spool’s tension when line is pulled off the reel by the fly fisher or a fish.

Dress - The application of waterproofing or floatant material to the fly line, leader, or fly.

Drift - Describes the path a fly travels while it is fished down the stream’s current.

Dry fly - A basic fly design that floats on the water’s surface. It is usually made of low density, water-resistant materials to hold it in the waters surface film.

Dry-fly paste - A paste compound used to water­ proof materials to hold them in the water’s surface film.

Dry-fly spray - Aerosol spray compound used to waterproof the water-absorbent materials of a dry fly.

Dubbing - A fly-tying material consisting of natural hairs and/or synthetic fibers blended into a loose felt and used to form the body of many floating and sinking flies.

Dun - The term used to identify the first adult stage (subimago) of mayfly aquatic insects. Also a descriptive term generally referring to a gray or dull color common on mayfly duns.



Eddy - A calm, slowly swirling (upstream) water flow in a stream behind an obstruction such as a boulder, log, bar, or moss bed.

Emerger - A term to identify the stage of a natural or a fly imitation of an aquatic insect as it swims to the surface to hatch or transform from nymph or pupa to adult.



Feeding - A fish’s eating or striking period.

Fighting - The act of tiring a hooked fish in preparation for landing it.

Fingerling - A general term used to describe various fish species (trout, bass, catfish, and so on.) when they are about finger-length in size.

Fishery - A body of water that sustains a healthy fish population and has potential for fly-fishing success.

Fish for fun - Catching and immediately releasing fish alive and unharmed. Usually it is illegal to keep or kill fish caught in these designated areas.

Fish locator - A common name for various electronic sonar’s that are used to locate fish, the structures wherein they live, their depth in the water, and the depth of the water itself. Also called a fish-finder.

Fishing vest - A vest with assorted pockets for carrying the various flies, reels, and accessories used while walking, wading, or fly fishing.

Flat - A wide shallow-water section of a lake, stream, or ocean. Flats usually have a relative­ ly uniform smooth surface.

Floatant - Material used to waterproof fly lines, leaders, and flies.

Fly - The artificial lure used in fly fishing.

Fly design - Describes type of fly or purpose of fly. Fly pattern-The color and material makeup of a particular fly design.

Fly tyer - A person who makes or "ties" flies for fly fishing.

Foam line - An accumulation of air bubbles on the water"s surface caused by water turbu­ lence, winds, tides, or currents. Fish often concentrate and feed under foam lines.

Freestone stream - A stream that has a relatively high bottom gradient and so is swift flowing made up mostly of coarse gravel or rubble and whose source of water is mainly runoff rain and melting snow.

Fresh water - Water with little or no salt content. It also refers to fish species that are adapted only to freshwater environs.

Fry - The first stage of development of a fish after hatching from the egg or live birth. Usually from 112 to 2 inches in length.



Gaff - A hook-and-handle tool used to hook and capture larger fish. Also refers to the act of hooking and capturing a fish once it has been tired with rod and reel.

Game fish - A general term used to denote those species of fish that will readily strike or attack an artificial lure or fly. Also deals with the ability and willingness of the fish to fight very hard after it is hooked.

Gap - The distance between the hook shank and the point.

Gill - The respiratory organ of a water-breathing fish, located just behind the head.

Giving tip - Holding the rod tip forward and high to provide maximum shock absorption to pre­ vent the leader’s tippet from breaking and the fly from being pulled out of the fish’s mouth.

Grab - A term often used to describe a brief period fish go through when they are willing to strike a fly.

Grain - The unit of measurement used for calibrating fly-line weights.

Grease - The application of paste or fly dressing to line to enhance flotation.



Hackle - Usually neck and back feathers of a chicken; however, it can also be from other chicken like birds such as grouse or partridge.

Handle (reel) - A crank on a fly-reel spool used for reeling the fly line onto the fly reel.

Handle (rod) - The grip used for holding the fly rod while casting, fishing, and fighting a fish.

Hauling - A method of increasing fly-line speed during pickup, backward, or forward casting. It is accomplished by the hand pulling on the fly line between the rod’s stripper guide and the fly reel.

Hold - A place where a fish, such as a salmon, trout, or bass, rests or remains stationary for a period of time.

Holding fish - Describes a fish that remains in a particular spot in a lake or stream.

Hook barb - The raised metal slice off the hook point and bend. The barb helps prevent the hook from backing out of the fish’s mouth tissue.

Hook bend - The curved or bent section just behind the hook shank.

Hook eye - The closed loop part of a fly hook to which the leader tip or tippet is attached.

Hook (fly) - The device used to hold a fish that strikes or attempts to eat the fly.

Hooking fish - Setting the hook in a fish’s mouth tissue after the fish has struck.

Hook keeper - The small clip or eyelet at the front of the fly-rod handle used to store the fly when not in use.

Hook point - The needlelike point on the end of the hook bend. It enhances faster penetration into the fish"s mouth tissue.

Hook shank - The length of the fly hook exclusive of its eye and bend and point. Generally it is the section to which the fly materials are tied.

Hook size - The distance or amount of gap on a fly hook or fly. Also refers to the overall length and size of wire the hook is made from. Generally hook sizes range from largest #5/0 to smallest #36.



Immature insect - Refers to insects that have not reached sexual maturity or full growth.

Inlet - The area of a lake, pond, or ocean where a stream flows in.



Jack - A common term usually referring to one­ or two-year-old sexually mature male salmon or trout that join older fish in their spawning run.

Jump - When a hooked fish comes up out of the water in an attempt to shake the hook or break the leader.



Kick boat - A small, one-person fishing craft that is propelled by the angler’s legs and swim fins. Some kick boats have oars as a second method of propulsion.

Knotless - A leader that has no knots tied in it to join different-sized sections or tippets.



Landing - Capturing a hooked fish after it has become tired.

Larva - A term denoting the worm or grub like stage between the egg and pupa of the caddis and midge aquatic insects. Also the common descriptive term of the artificial-fly imitation of the larva.

Leader - The transparent part of the fly-fishing line between the fly line and fly. It may include the tippet section.

Leader straightener - A rubber or leather pad used to heat and straighten the coils from a leader.

Leader wallet - A convenient pocketed container for storage of extra leaders to be carried while fly fishing.

Leech - A bloodsucking, wormlike aquatic invertebrate or a fly imitating it.

Levels - The amount of water or depth of a stream or lake.

Line - Short expression for fly line. When the fly line scares a fish it is commonly referred to as lining it.

Line guard - The part of a fly reel that the fly line passes through or over as it is wound on or off the reel spool. It acts as a guide and reduces wear from line friction.

Loop - The general term describing the U shape of the fly line as it unrolls forward or back­ ward during the casting cycle.

Loop to loop - An expression used to describe the joining of the fly line to the leader or leader to tippet, where a closed loop in each is joined to make the other connection.

Lure - An imitation fish food with one or more hooks on it. As a verb it refers to attracting a fish to strike a fly.



Manipulate - Generally refers to more intricate fly presentation and actions accomplished with fly rods of 9 feet or longer.

Mature insect - Insects that have reached sexual maturity or full growth.

Matuka - Generally refers to a special fly design in which feathers are uniquely wrapped to the length of a hook shank and/or body of a fly so that they appear as part of the body. The word Matuka originated from a bird, the matuka, whose feathers were popularly used for this type of fly.

Meadow stream - A low-gradient stream that flows in a meandering course mainly through meadows or valleys.

Mending - The act of lifting or rolling the fly line with the rod to reposition it in order to avoid fly drag due to current speeds or wind.

Mesh - The net bag or seine of a dip net or landing net.

Minnow - A general term used for many species of smaller fishes (1 to 6 inches long), as well as the same sizes of immature larger fish.

Monofilament - A single filament or strand of nylon used for fishing line, leader, or tippet material.

Moss bed - A large underwater growth of aquatic plants.

Mudding - The term used to describe a fish stir­ ring up a visible cloud of mud or silt as it feeds and swims on the bottom.

Muddler - A very popular and effective type of artificial fly that has a large, clipped deer hair head and usually incorporates hair and feathers for its body parts.



Neck - A long, narrow body of water usually found at a stream’s inlet to a lake.

Net - Refers to the act of landing a fish with a dip net or landing net.

Neutral color - Color and pattern of a fly or natural food that does not contrast with its surroundings.

No-kill - A fishery policy of catching and releasing unharmed live fish.

Non-game fish - A general term used to describe those species of fish that never or seldom strike or attack artificial lures or flies.

Nymph - Refers to the water-breathing or immature stage of aquatic insects. Also a fly that imitates these insects.

Nymphing - F1y fishing with aquatic nymph imitations. Also used to describe a fish that is for­ aging for aquatic nymphs.



Outlet - That part of a lake where water flows out. Palming the reel-The application of a palm against the fly reel’s outer spool flange to add extra drag pressure on a fish pulling line off the fly reel.



Parr - The second stage of development of salmonoids, usually termed fingerlings. Term comes from large dark bands of oval marks on their sides.

Perch - A group of fish including the yellow perch, white perch, darter, and walleye pike.

Pickup - The lifting of a fly line, leader, and fly off the water as the backcast is begun.

Pocket - A depression in the bottom of a stream located in the riffle or run of a stream.

Pocket water - A series of bottom depressions or pockets in a stream riffle or run section.

Point - Refers to the narrow, pointed section of land that juts out into a lake or stream.

Polaroid’s - A popular term for sunglasses that polarize or filter out certain angles of light rays. They reduce reflective sunlight off water so fish beneath are more easily seen.

Pond - Usually refers to a small lake less than five acres in surface area, except in Maine, where it is often used interchangeably with lake.

Pound test - Refers to the strength of a fishing line, leader, or tippet. Sometimes called breaking strength or test.

Power (rod) - The degree of efficiency a rod has in casting, hooking, and landing a fish.

Predator fish - A fish that eats live fish, insects, and other animals.

Presentation - The placement of the fly on or below the water. Also describes the fly’s path and action on the water.

Pressure (rod) - How hard a fly fisher pulls, restricts, or fights a hooked fish with the fly rod, reel, and leader determines the amount of pressure being used.

Pumping a fish - Pulling a large fish by using a pumping or rod-butt-lifting action as the fish sounds or pulls away. As the rod is quickly lowered after the pump-up, the reel takes up the line gained on the fish.

Pupa - Generally refers to the stage between larva and adult of the caddis and midge aquatic insects. Also common descriptive term used for the artificial fly imitation of the same insects.

Putting down - Fish that have been scared by the fly fisher and stop feeding have been put down.

Put and take - A fishery management policy that involves artificial stocking of catchable fish and encouragement of killing and removing these fish when caught.





Rapids - A section of a stream that has a high gradient and fast, rough-surfaced flowing water.

Reading water - Visually examining the surface of the water to evaluate fishing potential, depth, and fish location.

Reel - To wind in or retrieve the fly line, leader, backing, and so on. Also a short expression for fly reel.

Reel hand - The hand and arm used to hold or reel in the fly line. Same as line hand.

Reel saddle - The part of a reel that provides means for attaching the reel to the rod seat and/or handle.

Reel seat - The part of a fly rod, just behind the rod handle, where the fly reel is fastened.

Reel spool - The part of a fly reel where the line is wound and stored.

Riffie - The section of a stream where the water flows shallowly and rapidly over an irregular bottom so that the surface riffles. Also refers to a water surface slightly disturbed by the wind.

Rising fish - A fish that is visibly feeding just below or at the water’s surface.

Rod blank - A fly rod before it is fitted with guides and handle or other finished fly-rod accessories.

Rod guides - Also fly-rod guides, the closed loop structures fastened to the fly-rod shaft that hold the fly line on the rod’s length.

Roll - The movement of a fish when it arches up and down from the surface as it feeds.

Run - The fleeing swim of a fish that has been hooked and frightened. Also describes a stretch of stream just below a rime and above a pool.Salmon Fly - A artificial fly used most commonly for Atlantic salmon. Also refers to a common name given to several larger species of stonefly aquatic insects.



Salt water - A general term used to describe the fish or fishing in salty oceans, seas, and other similar saltwater areas.

Saltwater fly - An artificial fly that is made principally to be fished in salt water. Its hook must resist salt corrosion.

Selective - Refers to the feeding habits of fish preferring special flies or special presentation of flies.

School - A group of the same species of fish swimming together.

Scud - A small shrimplike crustacean or a fly imitating it.

Shoal - A shallow-bottomed area in a lake, stream, or estuary.

Shock tippet - see Bite tippet.

Shocking the tip - This happens when the for­ ward-and-down fly-casting stroke is begun too quickly and with too much acceleration, causing the fly-rod tip to dip back and down sharply, creating a tailing-loop cast.

Shooting - A term referring to the fly line or shooting line that is pulled out from the force or momentum of the casting power and extended fly-line weight.

Shoreline - The area immediately adjacent to the water’s edge, along lakes and streams.

Shrimp - A widely distributed, important crustacean and also its fly imitation.

Skater - A design of floating fly that has a very long hackle or hair around the hook to enable it to sit high or skate across the water’s surface.

Slack line - When the fly line has little or no tension on it between the fly reel, the rod, and the fly.

Slough - A sluggish or non flowing narrow, dead­ ended body of water usually created by a stream changing to a new path or channel. The old channel becomes a slough if water still connects it to the stream.

Smolt - The third stage of development of sea-run salmonoids (trout, salmon, char), usually in lengths of 4 to 10 inches.

Snag guard - A device on a fly that prevents the fly hook from snagging or hanging on various obstacles (rocks, logs, moss, and so on.) near or in the fishing water.

Snake guide - A simple two-footed, open, wire­ loop fly-rod guide, designed principally to reduce friction and overall weight, and to hold the fly line close to the fly-rod shaft. It slightly resembles a semi coiled snake in shape.

Snelled fly - An artificial fly with a short permanent section of gut or monofilament attached to it. On the opposite end is a fixed closed loop to attach the snell to the leader.

Spawn - The act of fish reproduction. Also refers to a mass of fish eggs.

Spawning runs - The movement of a fish or a number of fish from their resident water to a more suitable area to mate and to lay their eggs.

Spillway - The outlet section of a lake where the water flows over a particular section of the dam.

Spinner - The term used to identify the second adult stage (imago) of mayfly aquatic insects. Also a small shiny metal blade that revolves on a metal wire shaft when pulled through the water to attract a fish to the fly.

Spinning - A method of lure-casting that utilizes a fixed-spool reel in which the line spins off as the weighted lure pulls it out.

Splice - The joining of two fly-line sections together.

Spook - Scaring a fish so much that it stops feeding and/or swims away and hides.

Spring creek - A stream in which the water originates from the flow of subsurface spring water.

Straightening (fly line or leader) - The removal of coils or twists in the fly line or leader caused by their storage on the fly reel.

Streamer - A subsurface fly that imitates small fish or similarly shaped natural creatures a fish might strike or eat.

Strike - A fish hitting or biting the natural food or artificial fly. Also the action a fly fisher takes with fly rod and line to set the hook in a fish"s mouth.

Stringer - A length of cord, rope, or chain for retaining, keeping alive, and carrying caught fish.

Stripper guide - The first large guide on the butt section of a fly rod above the rod handle. It is designed to reduce friction and enhance cast­ ing and retrieving.

Stripping - The act of rapidly retrieving a fly and fly line that involves making a series of fast pulls on the fly line with the line hand.

Structure - Describes objects in the water that fish would live near. Used more in lake fishing than in stream fishing.

Studs - Metal protrusions on the soles of wading shoes or boots for improving footing on very slick wet rocks, ice, or the like.

Swim - The way a sinking fly moves through the water as it is being fished. It may move like a minnow or a nymph, for example, or simply swim as an attractor.

Synthetic tying materials - F1y-tying materials that are man-made; for example, Orlon, Mylar, and FisHair.



Tackle - A general term covering all equipment used in fly fishing.

Tag end - The forward end of a leader or tippet. Tail-The caudal fin of a fish. Also refers to cap­ turning and/or landing a hooked fish by grasping it just in front of its tail. Also the lower or end (downstream) portion of a stream pool.

Tailer - A tool for tailing (landing) fish. It has a locking loop on the handle that locks around the fish’s tail.

Tailing - A term often used to describe a fish feeding in a position along the bottom in shallow water so that its tail sometimes sticks above the surface of the water.

Tailwater - A stream coming from a large man­ made dam.

Tailwater trout - Trout that live in the cold-water streams below man-made dams.

Take - The fish’s action in catching food or a fly. Taper-The shape of a fly line or leader. May also be used in describing fly-rod shape.

Terrestrial insect - Insects that are land-born air breathers. Included are grasshoppers, crickets, ants, beetles, and the like.

Tide - The periodic raising and lowering of water levels in streams, lakes, and oceans due to gravitational forces or releases of impounded waters.

Tie - Describes the making of artificial flies. Also a term used to describe forming various line, leader, and fly knots.

Tippet - The small end of a leader or additional section of nylon monofilament tied to the end of the leader.

Tip-top - The fly-rod line guide that is fitted over the rod’s tip end.

Treble hook - A fish hook with three bends, barbs, and points joined on a common shank.

Trout - A group of very popular freshwater game­ fish that live in cold, pure water. Includes rain­ bow trout, golden trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, to name a few.

Trolling - Fishing a fly or lure by pulling it behind a boat. Less commonly, fishing by wading or walking with the fly dragging in the water behind.

Twitch - A small movement given to the fly by using the rod tip or a short fly-line strip.





Vest (Fishing vest) - A vest like garment containing a number of various-sized pockets used to carry flies and other fishing accessory items while fly fishing.



Wading - Walking on the bottom of a stream, lake, or ocean in water no deeper than your chest.

Waders - Waterproof combination of shoes and pants used for wading.

Wading shoes - Shoes used over stocking-foot waders for wading.

Wading staff - A walking cane used to assist in wading, particularly on slick, irregular bottoms and in swift water.

Warm-water Fish - Fish that thrive best in water temperatures ranging from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius.

Water clarity - The degree of transparency water has; how far below the surface you can see an object.

Water colour - Refers to a water’s color tint. It is affected by suspended particles and the bottom color reflection.

Water condition - A general expression fly fishers use to describe the combination of level, temperature, and clarity.

Wiggle nymph - A two-section, hinge-bodied, artificial nymph fly.

Wind knot - A simple but troublesome overhand knot that is accidentally tied on the fly line or leader while casting.

Woolly Worm - A design of sinking fly that has a fuzzy or woolly body, and hackle spiraled around and over the body’s length. Also the larvae of terrestrial moths or butterflies.