A Brief Look into the History of Fly Fishing

In fly fishing, a light-weighted lure is used to catch the fish. The casting techniques used in fly fishing is slightly different from the other forms. Given the popularity of White River fly fishing, several fishing guide agencies have been set up around the river to accompany the visitors.

If you have plans to start a fishing trip soon enough to the popular White River, you must surely know about the history of fly fishing and how everything started. To start with, the art of fly fishing can be described as a creative angling method with the use of a lure that is light in weight. This lightweight angler requires a specialized technique to master the skill, and you can learn the same from experienced anglers for White River fly fishing.

In this guide, we’re going to take you back in time and when fly fishing was believed to be invented.

The Beginning

Though there’s not any precise information about the origin, many people associate the first use of fly fishing with the Roman Claudius Aelianus during the 2nd C. However, William Radcliff credited Marcus ValeriusMartialis for inventing fly fishing in his book Fishing from the Earliest Times. Marcus was born around 200 years before Aelianus.

Apart from these two roughly written pieces on fly fishing, there was nothing informative about it until “The Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle” came into the market. This book enlightens about the line, rod, and hook dressings and making for flies. By the beginning of the 15th century, rods were available at a length of 14 ft.

Read: Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing: What Makes It Different?

In Great Britain

It was during the 19th century when fly fishing started developing rapidly into a leisure activity. Several fishing clubs were developed, and authors wrote books dedicated to fly fishing. The nineteenth-century fly fishers soon earned a reputation, and then fly fishing was considered the only desirable way to catch fish in slow rivers such as White river fly fishing.

In Japan

In Japan, fly fishing is traditionally known as “Tenkara,” and it was first recorded in a book, named “Diary of climbing Mt. Tateyama” (1878). In this method, a rod is used having fly and line, but no reel. The mountains of Japan are the place where this method is believed to have originated around 430 years ago. It was used by inn-keepers and local fishermen to harvest fish. Initially, it was developed as a small fishing stream method, which proved to be highly efficient.

Ayu is another kind of fishing practiced in Japan, which was popular among Japanese peasants from the time it was invented, i.e., the 12th century. A historian named Andrew Herd wrote in a book titled “The Fly” that after fishing became popular among the peasants, it was promoted to become a pastime of Bushi (warriors). It became an official policy, which was used while training Bushi’s mind. Since no casting is required during Ayu fishing, it’s considered closer to dapping. While fly fishing surely remains an important part of Japan, it gets special attention given its rich history from fishing enthusiasts for white river fly fishing.

In the west region, woods were used to develop fishing rods, which is quite heavy. Additionally, long rods made the fly fishing even tougher. This is why anglers began developing systems of running line, that allowed them to use longer lines and shorted rods. Bamboo was used for creating long rods, which is quite light-weighted maneuverable.

In the USA

Fishers in the USA are believed to be the very first anglers to get man-made lures for bass fishing. When they noticed how effective it proved in catching salmon and trout, the patterns were adapted by them to make some particular bass flies, which are still being used today.

Towards the end of the 19th century, anglers from America started using fly fishing to get trout from rich streams, like the Beaverkill. This was the reason behind the increased popularity of fly fishing. It was during the 1920s when the popularity touched the sky, specifically in eastern states of Vermont and Maine. What contributed to the popularity was the innovation of synthetic fly lines and cheap rods of fiberglass.


The 18th century was dedicated to the consolidation of several methods. Fishing rods were equipped with running rods to provide good control over the line. Also, the rods were becoming very sophisticated for several roles. The mid-part of the century saw the emergence of joint rods, where bamboo was used at the rod’s top section to render greater flexibility and strength.

The industry also received a commercial touch- tackle and rods became available in the market for sale. Post the Great Fire of London (1666), and Artisans went to Redditch, where products related to fishing were manufactured from the 1730s. In 1761, Onesimus Ustonson set up a trading shop, which became a leader in the market. Not just that, he also got a Royal Warrant and ruled for three monarchs consecutively after that.

The industrial revolution also contributed to the manufacturing of fly lines. The time-consuming and laborious task of twisting lines soon became a story of the past. The latest spinning machines could easily manufacture tapered lines. The 19th century witnessed the continuous development of fly fishing in England. 

Some popular methods used for fly fishing today are:

  • Casting
  • Spey casting
  • Fly fishing for trout


Learning about the history of fly fishing, its techniques, artificial insects, lures, inculcates interest into our mind. If you’re someone especially interested in white river fly fishing, you should definitely take a peek into the rich history that originates from different countries.  Also, don’t you think you should know the ins and outs of something you enjoy? Now that you’re aware of all the past events that are related to fly fishing, you can boast in front of your friends about all the details that you know. Today, it has become more like a sport than a leisure activity. More and more people are specifically visiting a place to see what fly fishing has to offer.

Read: Your 101 Guide to the essential accessories for Fly Fishing!

If you’re looking for a guide who will accompany you during white river fishing, then consider joining hands with the White River Fishing guide. Our highly-skilled team members will make it easy to trap the big ones for you. Our fishing trip includes all the essential things such as flies, rods, gear, bait, reels, and tackle. We provide customized tours that suit your special needs and want. For fly fishing, we offer Nymphing techniques, casting instructions, and fishing tips for streamers. Nowhere you would find such a fun and informative trip. Our fishing gear and boats are unbeatable in the industry. Everything is crystal clear, and there are no hidden charges. If you’ve got further queries, contact us via mail at ChadBetts@hotmail.com or give us a call at (870) 405-6384.

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