S4:E18 Overcoming a Fly Fishing Plateau

When starting out in the sport, most fly fishers struggle to build skills in all the areas required for success: casting, reading waters, grasping a cursory understanding of entomology, and simply identifying places to fish. It’s a fire hose of information, knowledge, and skill. In this episode, we focus on a different set of problems – when you’ve plateaued. That is, you may be bored with your level of proficiency or you’ve simply stopped getting better. You’ve stopped making progress. This episode is for those who want to grow. We identify some ways to get off the plateau – and to fall in love again with the sport.


GREAT STUFF FROM OUR LISTENERS. At the end of each episode, we often include a feature called “Great Stuff from Our Listeners.” It’s the last segment of each episode, where Steve reads one of the comments from our listeners or readers. We enjoy hearing from you, and appreciate your advice, wisdom, and fly fishing experiences.

What kind of plateaus have you experienced? What did you do to begin a new growth curve or get better at the sport? Please post your comments below.


We love Dr. Squatch soap products for guys who love the outdoors. Our favorite bar soap is Pine Tar. But there are many others, including:

    Eucalyptus Yogurt

    Cool Fresh Aloe

    Deep Sea Goats Milk

    Bay Rum

    Spearmint Basil

You will also love the shampoo – and the beard oil!

Visit Dr. Squatch Outdoor Soap for Guys, fill your shopping cart with great outdoor products, and enter “2Guys” as the promo code. You’ll receive 20% off your first order.


We’d love for you to refer our podcast to a friend, your TU chapter, or fly fishing club. Be sure to pass along our podcast to others.

Be sure to forward our weekly email to your network!

That is the most simple way to help us grow!

Download a Podcast App on Your Smartphone

The most common app used by 2 Guys feed subscribers is “Podcasts.” Or you can simply subscribe to the RSS feed here:

Subscribe to 2 Guys and A River

To see every episode that we’ve published, click on “Fly Fishing Podcast” on the top navigation.

The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists – A “Cliffsnotes for Fly Fishers”

We’ve published a book for regular-Joe-and-Jane fly fishers called The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists: Life is short. Catch more fish.

To switch metaphors, perhaps it’s more like a handful of potato chips. It’s an entire book of lists. The goal is to help you find practical help quickly and in an easily digestible format!

Buy it today on Amazon for only $13.99!

2 Replies to “S4:E18 Overcoming a Fly Fishing Plateau”

  1. The past few months things have got kind of out of whack in my life, a death in the family and some other issues have kept me from fishing as much as I’d like and when I do get out, it seems like it’s rushed and forced. Not surprisingly, I don’t really feel that I’m progressing, one thing I’ve noticed is that I’m getting sloppy on the fundamentals. I was fishing after some pretty heavy rains and the fish were down on the bottom, but I got tired of getting snagged, so I was fishing too shallow to really be successful and on the small brookie streams I’m not paying near enough attention to being stealthy. As I’m typing this, I realize my problem is that I’m just not being fully engaged and I’m just going through the motions.

  2. I wanted to chime in on this one. BTW I wanted you to know that I am still listening. Just really really busy guiding so I haven’t had much time to comment. The trout season in NY state is over today so now I can concentrate on my own fishing in a few of the year round areas and Steelhead.
    If you find that your progression in fly fishing has plateaued you need to take 5 mins and breath.
    There has never been a bad day on the river for me. For me it has nothing to do with the fish, it’s being outdoors , enjoying the world I live in.
    I highly recommend slowing down before you enter the water. Look at the water your about to fish. Carefully choose the fly or flies you think will work with the water conditions your facing. Then you need to “hunt your prey”.
    When I have a hard time catching fish I usually take the time to practice my casting. I’ll flip over rocks to see what bugs are around. I’ll then wade to the next pool. Take a deep breath and start again. Don’t be afraid to try new things. That’s how we learn. If you make a bad cast, let it drift out, you never know. If you just rip the line off the water to correct a bad cast you’ll spook the fish in that pool. Do not limit yourself to dry flies or nymphs. If you want to take your fly fishing to the next level you’ll need to have more than 1 arrow in your quiver. Being able to read the water is a skill you need to master. Once you master this skill, then you will know when to use nymphs or streamers.
    When you hire a guide, ask a lot of questions. Guides want to teach you how to be more successful. Put your ego aside, we want to show you how to cast further, cast into the wind. Strip in your streamers and mend your nymphs. That’s what your paying for.
    So all in all, take your time. Try new things. Ask a lot of questions watch a lot of videos. And have fun.

Comments are closed.