Fly Casts by Category/Purpose

The following is a list of fly casts categorized by their primary purpose. At the bottom of each description are several links I find to be especially well done with highly qualified instructors and good quality production.

False Casting


False casting is simply the classic back and forth fly casting motion everyone has seen. It is necessary to false cast when fly fishing because we’re casting a long, weighted line instead of a simple weight, bait or lure as used in spin or bait casting. False casting allows us to change cast distance, change direction, and dry a wet fly. Learning how to false cast is an important step in the process of learning to cast. I often use a false cast or two to measure distance. If I see a rising trout that I estimate to be 40 ' away, I will false cast to an area away from the fish to make sure my fly is at the right distane to land that fly just a few feet above the rising trout. It is most useful if there are other smaller fish between you and your target and you would rather not hook them.

When and WHY do you false cast in fly fishing? by Red's Fly Shop

Mending fly line


Effecient mending is an often overlooked skill for any fly fisher in moving water. You may be a great fly may be able to put the dry fly wherever you want it to go. Good..but, if you cannot get that fly to float naturally into the fishes feeding lane, you are destined to limited success. Mending is a primary skill for a trout fisherman regardless of whether you are fishing with a dry fly or a nymph/wet fly. This is because feeding trout will almost always prefer to hold in a limited area when feeding. This is especially true when there are more bugs in/on the water. Most fish, especially trout are very aware of their environment and typically are most "comfortable" in places where they can find several things: food, safety and cover and, whenever possible, a current that does not require too much effort or it (the current) is "feeding" bugs down to them. Aside from helping to achieve a drag free drift, mending also keeps your fly on the water longer, thus increasing the likelihood of hooking a fish.

How to Perfectly Mend Your Fly Line by Kirk Deeter (Field & Stream)

Video Pro Tips: How to Mend Fly Line by Tim Linehan Orvis)

A Mending Primer by Philip Monahan by (Midcurrent and Orvis)

8 Common Fly Line Mending Mistakes by Lewis Cahill (

Mending Fly Casting Video - by Redington Fly Fishing

Steeple Cast


In many streams, low obstacles such as shrubs, tall grass and even boulders can present an obstacle in your backcast. When fishing in these areas it is important to have a high backcast that will unroll over the obstacles behind you so that you aren’t constantly fighting snags. The steeple cast was created specifically for beating these tough situations.

Steeple Cast - Orvis, Pete Kutzer (YouTube)

Skagit Casting


“Skagit” casting originated in the early 1990’s and it describes a hybrid adaptation of spey casting. Skagit casting was developed by US steelhead fishers on Washington's Skagit River. Many steelhead guys had started using spey rods in order to cover as much water as possible. But, in some rivers, the steelhead would hold in deeper and faster runs so the fly (very large flies) needed to get deep very fast. Skagit is really a marriage of more traditional shooting heads (usually sink-tip) with the long spey rod. Skagit casting has become popular enough that several fly line manufacturers have developed special "Skagit" lines to support this style of fly casting. Another interesting thing about both skagit and spey casting is that there are no pauses in the casting motion...unlike the necessary pause at the end of both the front and back cast in traditional casting.

Skagit Revolution: Skagit Casting Tutorial by Tom Larimer - video

Skagit Casting - Defined and Simplified by Scott Howell - video

Spey Casting


Spey rods and spey casting have been around for quite a long time. They are said to have been developed in the 1800's in Scotland on the River Spey. Spey casting uses an exceptionally long (typically 12-16') two-handed rod.  Spey rods/casting were evidently developed to make long cast for covering a lot of water (common in salmon and steelhead fishing). Another reason for their design was the fact that many of the Scottish salmon rivers are lined with trees and brush making a traditional backcast very difficult. These much longer spey rods allow for much longer "roll" casts. Another interesting thing is the the "back cast" is never a part of the spey cast. Personally, I have never fished with a spey rod but I have "tinkered" with one on several occasions. To me, a spey cast from a distance looks like someone with a 12 foot fly swatter doing battle with a swarm of nasty hornets. 

An Introduction to Spey Casting Techniques - video by Greys Fishing

Ian Gordon's Spey Casting Masterclass - Ian Gordon and InTheRiffle