Leland fly

For all things fly fishing... and Maybe a Little More

Learning to Teach Fly Fishing

In the last 12 years I’ve introduced countless people to fly fishing. From a simple “you should try it and here’s why” to teaching casting lessons, on stream mentoring, and guiding. Some have stuck with it, many have dabbled here and there and others knew right away it wasn’t for them… I can say that, everyone “can” fly fish. It’s not as hard as most people think. Can it be technical? Yes. Can is be frustrating? Yes. Can it be overwhelming? Yes. So was school, so was driving, and so was tying your shoes but  you’re better off now because of it right? Luckily, fly fishing is fun so don’t stress about it!

This post isn’t about me and my fly fishing journey. It’s for those of you going through it right now or maybe for some it was long ago. For those yawning right now looking for a new tip or trick, keep reading. You likely have taught someone to fly fish or you will in the future and this is for your too.

Getting started or gathering information on fly fishing can be a chore. Often left to old books or the internet today. Learning to fly fish with the proper information, not to much and not too little is the key and the internet is a scary place to start. Approach it with caution, hey, approach a stream in the same way. There’s your Leland tip of the day.

I remember teaching before doing it professionally and all I wanted to do is regurgitate what I just learned. Bad mistake. My newfound knowledge was passed on in hurried chatter then on to the next subject. If you’re new or teaching take one step at a time and enjoy the journey. Teaching is a great way to re-live your past and now’s the time to do it right.

With that said, at Leland we have curated a website to learn how to fly fish and also teach others how to promote the sport. No matter who you are, this website will be a place to learn. We hope to learn from it as well through your feedback. We’re just as much students of fly fishing as you are, trust me. I’ve seen our teaching method evolve, our fly tackle change and importantly our view on the sport itself shift.

For a unique perspective on learning, teaching and fly fishing please visit our new website HERE

LelandFly.com/How-To-Fly-Fish is broken into 3 main categories. If you’re new start at the beginning and follow the links to becoming a confident and successful angler. For those who already fly fish pick and choose your area of improvement below to not only fish better but teach better.

  1. Learn to Cast
  2. Learn to Fish
  3. Where to Fish

Others have learned from us and we’ve learned from others #teachsomeonetoflyfish…

casting leland method goran andersson casting leland method learning to teach fly fishing 3 learning to teach fly fishing 2 learning to teach fly fishing teaching fly fishing First Trout Screen shot 2015-11-16 at 2.48.34 PM Screen shot 2015-11-16 at 2.50.38 PM Screen shot 2015-11-16 at 2.49.27 PM Screen shot 2015-11-16 at 2.52.23 PM 918964_orig

Fiberglass Fly Rods

I might sound like a broken record of a fly fisherman who says, “I started with an old fiberglass fly rod…” but the truth is I did. In fact my first rod was a 7-weight Eagle Claw Fiberglass fly rod found in the outhouse of our family’s cabin. I don’t have the rod any longer but I still have the curved badge that was affixed to the cork grip. The reel, of course it was a Pflueger Medalist, I forget which size and the fly line. Who knows? I do know that my first outing with it involved tying straight monofilament 6lb fishing line directly to the fly line itself with a knot that had no chance of ever going back through the tip top guide. I actually would cut it at the fly line to end each day and repeat with a new glob of knots the next trip. This didn’t last very long but it’s where it all began and luckily I remember it vividly.

So what’s the fuss about fiberglass fly rods? The material being the main focus of conversation here. Fiberglass is rarely used any more in the production of modern fly rods because in the late 70’s early 80’s graphite was found to be far superior to fiberglass. It was lighter, rods could be made longer and it proved to be better for overall performance. Who’s to argue. Well, as humans we tend to be nostalgic folk always looking to the past to help our future and this is one big reason we enjoy casting and fishing fiberglass fly rods. By simply changing materials you take a step back in time. You are reminded on each cast that the material is different. It has some life to it. For every cast you likely feel a bounce back, it’s the rod talking to you. What it’s likely saying is slow down! I think we all need a little slow down once in a while and fiberglass tells us this.

So enough about casting glass. How about fishing it? The fun continues here. Picture this your big fluffy dry fly is floating down the stream a trout comes to the surface and eats your fly, the trout is 6″ long… lucky you can set the hook like you mean and the fight begins. Each head shake and jolt comes through the rod into directly into your hand. With fiberglass fly rods not only small fish are more fun to play the big ones are kept on by increased tippet protection built into the rod itself and sometimes a higher breaking strength. Just look at the old photos of anglers holding big fish from the 60’s and 70’s yet their leaders, tippet and flies where of a much lesser quality. It was the rod that helped them land these giants, that soon filled their bellies.

I fish glass to remind me of the past, to fall back in love with small streams and smaller trout and it evens helps my casting. The more you cast different fly rods the better caster you will be.

Want to try glass for yourself, we think the best way to start is with a 7′ 6″ 4-Weight shown below

Red Truck Glass Review Red Truck Fiberglass Fly Rod FiberGlass red truck flyred truck fiberglass fly rods

Why Switch to a Fly Fishing Lanyard

I’ve gone back and fourth from a vest, multiple hip packs, chest packs, lanyards and here’s my take on the array of carrying options and where the lanyard comes into play for me.

fly fishing vest lanyard loaded

Vest – Vest’s are timeless. It’s often the first purchase one makes even before investing in a fly rod. I remember as a child the sense of ownership of my vest. I filled it with everything BUT fishing gear. Band aids, a flashlight, granola bars, you name it I had it. It was fun to wear but that’s where the fun ends. Vests usually have small odd sized pockets. It’s easy to load them down with too much weight and to access the larger back portion you have to take the whole thing off. Finally, if you ever fish from a boat and don’t want to wear the vest it doesn’t make for a very good boat bag. You have to move the contents to something else.

chest pack lanyard loaded

Chest Pack – Chest packs are also an iconic fly fishing item. A little more modern than the vest but I have seen them in just about every size, shape, color and material. Some have a backpack built in and some just have straps that go around your back. I fished the chest pack / backpack combo for years. It was all I knew. However, once you try something else that doesn’t stick 6 inches out in front of your chest like you’re going into battle then the chest pack will take a seat in the closet. The one pro to this is it stays high and dry out of the water.

hip pack leland loaded lanyard

Hip / Sling Pack – Huge fan of a hip pack with a waist belt along with a shoulder strap to spread the weight and keep everything close. When fishing I spin it around and it sits in my lower back near my right side completely out of the way. Then, when I need to get inside a quick spin to the front provides access to everything at the right height. Change flies, take a drink of water spin it back and I’m back fishing again. These packs are also great for transferring to different types of fishing situations by swapping out fly boxes and perfect for boats as the pack sits upright just like a little boat bag.

leland loaded lanyard fly fishing

Lanyard – I dismissed lanyards for years. Mostly because they looked like tribal necklaces and where quite long looking. Then, I discovered the Leland Lanyard Loaded and found a very useful piece to add to my carrying collection. I use the lanyard for two occasions mostly. 1, I use it in a boat or kayak to keep the necessities close while minimizing weight on my neck. Nippers are a must. I have a spool of tippet or two and when dry fly fishing I have my floatant nearby. When striped bass fishing it’s important to have a spool of 20lb tippet and hemostats for dislodging hooks. Both, easily changed on the lanyard depending on the outing… 2, for river hikes with fly rod in hand. Often when prospecting or just taking a hike I can’t resist to take a fly rod but I don’t want to lug around a pack with me. For these occasion’s the Leland Loaded Lanyard is perfect. All the essentials at hand in the event I do make a few casts, how could you not?

loaded lanyard 1 leland loaded lanyard car

My fly fishing carrying system is comprised of one hip / sling pack and two Leland Loaded Lanyards.

Baetis & Stones Visits the Leland Ranch Fly Shop

leland ranch sonoma fly fishing beatis and stones leland fly fishing ranch leland ranch sonoma fly fishing leland ranch sonoma fly fishing leland ranch sonoma fly fishing leland ranch sonoma fly fishing leland ranch sonoma fly fishing leland ranch sonoma fly fishing

Last weekend we hosted Tyler and his buddy Stuart from Baetis & Stones, a fly fishing writer from San Francisco. They came to see what we we’re all about, improve their fly casting and demo a few of our fly rods. We had a great time and Tyler shot some beautiful images above and also more in his blog below.

Read about his experience here: http://baetisandstones.weebly.com/bs-blog/leland-ranch-fly-shop

Want to visit the Leland Fly Fishing Ranch in the heart of wine country? Give us a call and book a casting lesson. If you have any questions or need recommendations on what to do around here we can help with that too.  For even more resources visit the Sonoma Valley Visitor’s Bureau

November 9, 2015 Northern California Fly Fishing Report

Norcal Fly Guides Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters 5 Norcal Fly Guides Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters 4 Norcal Fly Guides Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters 3 Norcal Fly Guides Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters 2 Norcal Fly Guides Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters

November 9th, 2015

Hello Everyone,

Well the weather is finally here, seems like mother nature is giving us break from the heat as well as the drought. With these past few rains, it has made fishing a bit better, and with a few storms in the near future its only going to get better.


As always this is where I am spending most of my time. The fishing is a bit more consistent than a few weeks ago with the recent rains, but the fishing pressure is still there. The steelhead should keep pouring in, well should I say trickle in over the next few weeks, which will set up for some great winter fishing. We have been seeing bigger fish over the past few weeks, which is a great sign for future things to come. The egg bite is in full swing, and will also continue for a few more weeks as we are still seeing fresh salmon coming in. Hooking 6-8 fish in the norm right now, with some days producing double digit hook ups, most fish being the spunky 20-24″ Feather River Steelhead that we all have fallen in love with. If you are not fishing the Feather, you need to be. If you are looking to fish the winter or spring run, I would recommend booking now, before its to late.
Flies: Eggs, Caddis, Mays
Streamers: Egg Sucking Leech, Flesh Flies
My go to stick on the Feather river now is the 10′ 7wt Red Truck Diesel for nymphing and to swing, gotta go with the 12′ 6wt Leland Sonoma.


Here is another river that I have been putting some floats down, and while it is a bit slower than normal due to the lower than normal flows, the fish are in, and the are eating the normal routine of bugs. Expect this place to only get better with the next few storms, and hopefully not only bring up some more chrome, but also spread them throughout the entire upper stretches of the river. Right now most fish are being caught from JC down to Bagdag, however that’s where most of the boats are. If you are willing to put in the time and hard work, you can do just as well in the upper stretches above JC, less boats, less fish, but the hard work does pay off, and this is where I have been spending most of my time, with a drift or two down low.. This is another river that if you are not out there fishing it right now, you are definitely missing out. Swinging is really good right now too.
Flies: Eggs, October Caddis, Copper Johns, Stones
Streamers: Ho bo Speys, October Caddis patterns, Lady Caroline type patterns
Good things happening with NCFG and Indian Creek Lodge, check out the other info stated below.
Once again the Red Truck 10′ 7wt Diesel shines like no other, its the go to rod in my arsenal to fish for these elusive fish. The other sleeper rod that does double duty on my boat is the phenominal 11′ 7wt Red Truck Diesel Switch, so smooth, yet does great at both nymphing and swinging, and does it with ease.
My go to swinging stick, whether throughing a Scandi or Skagit the Leland Sonoma 12′ 6wt Spey does it all with ease.


The egg bite is just starting to pick up, and that’s due to the really low water conditions this year. The salmon are on a snails pace getting up the Yuba, but the number of fish spawning has tripled over the past two weeks, so now is the time. Over the past few trips, I have noticed that the fish are not sitting in the normal fishy locations, which is usually the norm towards the end of September, when the salmon start to spawn. So you can say the Yuba is a month behind the norm. However, find some redds, and that’s where you will find the fish. Getting a good presentation still seems to be key. With the salmon slowly making their way in, and many salmon still pre-staging, the egg bite should go for at least a few more weeks. After that, it will be back to the normal bugs, and soon after dry fly fishing with Skwala Stones and March Browns. Definitely one of my go to rivers right now.
Flies: Eggs, Stones, Caddis, Mays, Worms
Streamers: Sculpin patterns, tan soft hackles
For dries I like the Red Truck 8′ 6″ 4wt Diesel and for nymphing the Leland New Zealand 10′ 5wt Nymphing set up. You wanna talk about some sweet trout sticks, look no further.


Lower Sac
Been doing a trip here and a trip there, and the Lower Sac is fishing pretty good right now. The big fish are out and in full force gorging themselves on eggs, legs, mays and a few other flies that don’t rhyme. There are even a few steelhead in the system, and if you find yourself with one of those on the end of your line, you are in for a reel screaming treat. If you are not on the Lower Sac right now, you are truly missing out. The fishing will continue to be pretty good for the next few months, and with salmon still on their way in, the egg bite will continue for a few more weeks as well. This is really the place to be right now.
Flies: Eggs, Legs, Mays, Caddis, BWOs
There are a few options of rods here, the 10′ 7wt Red Truck is always on the boat, as well as the 11′ 7wt Red Truck Diesel Switch. Both are great nymphing sticks on the Lower Sac.


I havent touched the Truckee since the end of August, so no report to tell you here. However, winter is here, and some of the best fishing that I have done on the Truckee is during the winter months. Get out there, bring your a game, small flies and have some fun. Oh ya and bundle up cuz its cold.
Flies: Stones, Mays, Midges
Streamers: Big and ugly


Its that time of year where I say farewell to the creek until the spawn is over. I will start guiding it again in February if anyone is interested. Until then, Ill be chasing down the elusive Steelhead on all the Sac Valley Rivers as well as the Trinity River.
Once again I look no further than the 10′ 5wt Leland New Zealand, it handles everything I through at it, big fish or small, heavy rigs to streamers and even dry flies, its that good.


Not worth your time, water is extremely low and warm. Wait till January to start fishing this river.
Refer to all the steelhead sticks.
10′  7wt Red Truck Diesel
11′ 7wt Red Truck Diesel
12′ 6wt Leland Sonoma


If you are interested in demoing any of these rods prior to purchase, please feel free to give me a call. Best way would be to book a trip, full or half day, and fish it the entire time. If I dont have one that you want try, I will give the guys a call and Lelands and make sure I have it before our trip.


There you have it folks, the current Nor Cal Fly Guides fishing report. Hope you enjoyed it, and hopefully it gets you thinking about getting out and fishing, or possibly booking a trip in the near future.


Available Dates:
November – NONE
December – 1,2,3,4,7,9,10,11,14,15,28,29,30,31
January – 2,3,4,6,7,8,9,18,25-31
These dates can also be booked on the Trinity as well
Also due to the addition of a second guide, additional dates may be available. Please inquire if none of the dates above work for you.


My Available Trinity River Dates
November – 24,25
December – 16,19,20,21
January – 10,11,12,13,16,17
February – 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,28,29
March – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,13,14


Additional Trinity River dates may be available upon specific requests. Also, due to the addition of a second guide, these dates can be available for local waters. Please inquire if you are interested in booking any of these dates on local waters.


Other additional NCFG Info:
With the Trinity River becoming so popular and most of my clients staying at Indian Creek Lodge, I am able to offer a special that only Indian Creek Lodge offers their clients, to my clients as well. Biggest thing is that this offer through NCFG will be available weekdays and weekends, not just weekdays. The offer is this:


2 Day Dine, Drift and Stay Package
Its $1050 for up to two anglers
2 night stay at the lodge with either one or two beds
2 full day guided trips with yours truly
As well as a $100 Dinner voucher to either the Cafe at the Lodge (great food) or the local golf course.
Price includes tax on the room, your 2 days of guided trips, and the $100 dinner voucher. Doesn’t include gratuity for the drift trip or the dinner.
If you are interested in this package, please contact me and let me know. 
There are two ways of purchasing this deal:
1) you pay me in full, and I pay the Lodge directly and take care of all the details
2) you pay the lodge 50% up front, then the remaining amount when you check in, then they take care of all the details
Some other news, come January 1st 2016 our rates will be $425 for full day guided trips and $325 for half day guided trips for new and repeat clients. If you are interested in booking a trip in 2016, repeat clients can book any trips past 2016, from now till December 31st 2015 for the current repeat rate of $375 for a full day and $300 for a half day. Come January 1st, 2016, the rates will increase to $425 and $325.
If you book your date post 2016 between now and December 31st 2015, all bookings will require a $200 deposit as well as a date on the calender.
As always, I hope you are all enjoying the fishing and the awesome fishing weather. I wish you all a happy holiday season, and hope to see you on the water soon.
Any questions feel free to call or email.
Looking forward to hearing from you

Brian Clemens
NorCal Fly Guides
(530) 354-3740

Knots You Need to Know – Improved Clinch Knot


One thing is for sure. You can’t catch a fish with fly fishing gear if you can’t tie on a fly. If you’re new to fly fishing, but you’ve fished with conventional fishing gear (spinning or casting), you might already know a knot for tying on a bait hook or lure. Guess what? That’s the knot you should stick with.

However, if you need a knot to tie on a fly, the Improved Clinch Knot is super easy to tie and works on any trout fly you might consider using. Just watch the video below. Want to learn more knots? Click Here


Two Must Own Books for the Beginning Fly Anglers

When I started fly fishing the internet was something of a myth to most people. Information came from books for most of us. Fast forward a few years and the internet is full of information about fly fishing. A lot of it is copied and pasted from previous articles, some is valid but much of the internet is filled with misinformation, especially about fly fishing. What is one to do? Well, luckily there are two books for a beginning angler we put our stamp of approval on. First is the Curtis Creek Manifesto and second is a California Gazetteer or your own state’s gazetteer.

Ask any angler who has read the Curtis Creek Manifesto and they will swear by it. This book covers it all in an easy to read, funny and informative way. Now a softcover, the old folks remember the hardcover of this one. We could go on and on with a book review here but for $9.95 we suggest you just buy it. Trust us, we won’t get rich selling them.

Now, you’re probably thinking, really a gazetteer? Pronounced Gah-zit-ear, just ask Webster. Once again, ask any angler who owns one and they likely won’t leave on a trip without theirs. Even with cell towers in almost every location these days you would be surprised that once you start fishing, especially in the mountains and canyons of California you lose reception real quick and your cell phone won’t do you any good here unless you know how to turn the flashlight on. I use mine to find roads that run along rivers you wouldn’t find even if you had cell service. Most often it’s used to find new sp0ts but it’s saved me a few times when a wrong turn led to another wrong turn and being lost with little gas in California is not a fun thing… My gazetteer is filled with notes, photos, take out menus, you name it. Get one and you won’t be sorry.

California_Atlas curtiscreekmanifestocurtiscreekmanifesto-2curtiscreekmanifesto-3

Respect the Mangrove Snapper

We love to fish saltwater for species such as bonefish, permit and tarpon.  However, in pursuit of these sought after gamefish you often may run into the thumb crunching mangrove snapper…

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