Fly Fishing Classes and Lessons

Flyfishing and Flycasting Instruction

Very simply put... I build flyfishers. The fly fshing learning curve is pretty steep, so I meet my students wherever they are in their fishing skills and help guide them forward to become skilled, versatile anglers with a fly rod. Flyfishing includes many tactics and types of water we fish. That requires the development of skills for each of those tactics in order to be successful in fly fishing coldwater, warmwater, saltwater, stillwater, and moving water. The basics are:

  • Understanding the equipment and its function
  • Developing flycasting expertise
  • Tying knots
  • Rigging your leader and fly correctly
  • Learning where fish tend to be depending on conditions and their mood
  • Learning the feeding behavior of the fish
  • Selecting the right fly patterns for the species of fish
  • Learning to present the fly/flies to have success

But once basic those skills are honed, the fishing skills that need top be developed with a fly rod are:

Dead-drift fishing with dry flies, wet flies, nymphs and terrestrials (mostly an approach used in trout fishing): You have to learn to present these flies to fish without having them look like they are tied to any fishing line... in other words, drifting along "dead drift." There are several casting and line-handling techniques to master to accomplish that in a moving river. If you don't master it, you will enjoy very little fishing success in moving water.

Animated fishing requires repeated casting and then animating (moving) the fly to make it swim in various actions to attract fish and convince them to attack. The fly imitations can be either sunken or topwater and represent things that live and swim in the water: baitfish, crayfish, leeches, frogs, mice, etc.: This technique is used in trout fishing (cold water), bass/pike/musky fishing (warm water), and saltwater fishing. Excellent casting skills are required to do this effectively. On an float trip you may cast/retreive 80-100 times per hour for 6-9 hours, so learning to flycast efficiently is a must.

Everytime you improve any aspect of your flycasting or presentation it improves your overall success and enjoyment of the sport. We offer:

  • Fly casting lessons
  • Private fly fishing classes
  • Flyfishing "mentor" programs to help you develop quickly and shorten the learning curve to success as a flyfisher.

If you are new to flyfishing we highly recommend that you don't buy any equipment until after we have worked with you. After your classes and lessons, you'll have a thorough understanding of what fly fishing equipment you'll need. This approach will definitely save you money. We want you to get started in flyfishing with the least hassle and expense. Loaner equipment is available during the classes. We can recommend the equipment you'll need to get started based on your budget, target fish species, etc. It doesn't have to be expensive to get started fly fishing. While you can buy the best of the best if you want to, we can recommend moderately priced fly rods, fly reels, and other equipment that will serve you well for years. Don't let cost chase you away from the sport of a lifetime.

Kind words from recent flyfishing students...

"If you are serious about learning fly fishing basics, fishing in moving water and much more, Jeff Conrad is an amazing instructor. I started fly fishing two years ago and can't imagine learning from anyone with more knowledge and integrity." ~ Mel

“Jeff offers a unique combination of profound technical expertise and passion for the true artistry of flyfishing.  Take a flyfishing course with Jeff, and you will make flyfishing a life-long pursuit, guaranteed!” --  Jeff Kestin

"Two years ago I ended up with a brand new fly fishing rod and YouTube videos on how to put it together. The first year was rough: had no idea of what I was doing, right or wrong. Flash forward and during the last fishing trip with Jeff I caught ~60 fish and am now tying my own flies. I still have a way to go, but I’m now hooked to get better. YouTube videos and books are valuable but only get you so far: they lack the immediate personalized feedback required for you to get better. Jeff has been the catalyst, motivator, and nourisher of my love for the sport. He helped me along the way with a mix of in-person sessions (e.g., casting lessons, float trips, friendly trips to local ponds) to innumerable text messages (e.g., Question: fish are not biting the minnows today - why? Answer: It’s damsel fly season, try an olive one and fish it slow). It’s the constant mentorship that gets you going, keeps you interested, and makes you improve." ~Andrea

"When I anticipated retiring in summer 2021, I knew I wanted to take up fly fishing after an over 40 year hiatus. I met Jeff in May of that year and began learning from him. Whether it’s been casting lessons, fishing on local ponds, floating the White River, or just reading his occasional “rants”—his emails or texts full of advice, I’ve consistently learned from Jeff. He shares his wide experience readily. His instructions on technique are clear, and when I can’t follow them, he has an alternative way to help me understand how to improve. He’s been a perfect mentor for me and has become a friend as well." ~ Irwin Weiser

"Flyfishing is no easy task and when I needed a little help I went to Jeff. I expected to have a flycasting lesson, but what I got was much more. He lead me through the details of equipment, rigging, fly selection, etc. He is a real mentor and sticks with his studemts to make sure they get the help they need to learn the sport. His love for the sport is contagious." ~Zach

"I first met Jeff two years ago by inquiring about a guided trip. I had limited experience with fly fishing and Jeff suggested that I start with a class. I am very glad I did. Jeff started with the classroom basics, reviewed my gear and made some suggestions. We then went to a local pond and caught a few bass while receiving instruction on casting, retrieve and hook set. I had a great day. Even more impressive was Jeff providing additional instruction while fishing still water and moving water several times for different fish and types of fishing (streamers, nymphing, top water, etc.). Jeff has always availed himself to questions and in person instruction. I have enjoyed his guided trips as he is always patiently teaching. It is apparent he really knows what he is doing as the guy always catches fish even when others are struggling. I belong to a fly fishing club and attend local shows, events and shops. Whenever Jeff's name comes up it is always met with respect and admiration. He is well known among the fly fishing community for his expertise and contributions to the sport. I strongly recommend him to anyone I talk with about wanting instruction or a guide. It is money well spent. "~Bill

"Hey, Jeff!  I had a truly enjoyable day!  It reinforced my desire to be a fly fisherman, but I know I still have a long way to go. Thank you for the picture as it helps prove to my family that I actually caught something. Anyway, I promise to keep practicing and learning this great sport." ~Pete

Here are some of the lessons and classes we offer:

Individual flycasting lessons:

There are 3 aspects to flycasting that require your understanding: Stroke, timing, and power. Once you get those 3 aspects to work in concert, your casting should get better every time you do it. I help you work out issues with your fly casting to improve distance, accuracy, casting wind-resistant flies, casting heavily weighted flies, etc. I'll help you learn to control your casting loop so you can cast:

  • Tight loops for dry fly fishing or saltwater flats fishing with small flies (shrimp, crabs, etc.) in the ever-present wind
  • Medium loops for general fishing
  • Wide loops for nymphing and other multiple fly rigs

Learn to double-haul, reach cast, shoot line on the foward and back cast, and other exteremely useful flyfishing casts.

  • Individuals: $40 per hour / Groups (up to 3): $50 per hour

Beginner's Half-day flyfishing class:

  • Private 4 hour class - $150 (Group rates also available)
  • Intro to flyfishing
  • Equipment, Knots, Flies, Tactics
  • Flycasting lesson (no fishing involved)

Beginner's Full-day flyfishing class:

If flyfishing has always interested you and you would like to explore it for a day, the full day beginner's course is a great way to get started. You'll get a solid overview of how flyfishing works, the gear, the flies, the casting, and a opportunity to try your hand at some fish in stillwater. Many experienced self-taught flyfishers enjoy this course as it fills in information that they may have missed in their development.

  • Private 8 hour class: $350 (Group rates also available)
  • Intro to flyfishing
  • Equipment, Knots, Flies, Tactics
  • Flycasting lesson
  • Local 1/2 day pond fishing trip

Flyfishing Mentor Program:

Our mentor program is intended to move you through the learning phases in a single season. We accelerate your progress from a novice flyfisher to one with a thorough understanding of the sport and the basic skills to be able to enjoy flyfishing from the bank of a pond, while wading in a river, or flyfishing from a drift boat. Developing these skills will increase your enjoyment of flyfishing in many different situations. The course series includes:

  • Private season-long study: $800
  • Intro to flyfishing, equipment, knots, flies, intro to flycasting (4 hour)
  • Loaner equipment for practice
  • 2 (or more if needed) flycasting lessons (1+ hours each - spread out a few weeks apart)
  • 1 stillwater fishing trip (1/2 day)
  • 1 float trip (full day)
  • On-going mentorship with your questions answered, tips, tricks, seasonal fishing advice, etc.

Whether from the banks of your subdivision pond, wading a local stream, or enjoying a float trip down a famous Montana trout river, the skills you will learn in this series of courses will skip you ahead years in learning to flyfish. Assignments will be given to practice your skills between sessions. (Yep, there's homework :-)

Brookville Tailwater or Eagle Creek Nymphing Class (December thru April only)

A 4-hour guided wade intended to assist experienced anglers in learning flyfishing techniques used mostly for trout, and finding their way around the Brookville Tailwater in Brookville, IN or Eagle Creek in Zionsville, IN. Trip includes:

  • Understanding flows
  • Identifying fish-holding water
  • Flies
  • Presentations that help you succeed
  • Strike indicator nymphing
  • Streamer fishing

We can do the 4-hour wade in the morning and then you can have the rest of the day to fish and work on your new skills.

Brookville: 1 or 2 people max: $300/$325
Eagle Creek: 1 or 2 people max: $200/$225

Call Jeff at 317-258-8608 or email to inquire about flyfishing and flycasting lessons.