Across America, as well as all over the world, people enjoy the sport of fly fishing. Although you may be under the impression that fly fishing is a more recent fishing innovation, in fact it’s a sport that dates all the way back to ancient Greece. Here’s a brief history of fly fishing.

Fly Fishing in Ancient Macedonia

The first mention of fly fishing is made by the Roman historian Aelian in the third century AD. Aelian lived most of his life in Rome and bragged that he had never left Italy, but he mentions in his Aelian’s Natural History that he had heard a rumor about a strange way of fishing on a particular river in Macedonia. He said that there were speckled fish in that river that fed primarily on flies that hovered on the surface of the water. To imitate these flies, local fishermen would tie bits of red wool and feather to a hook to trick the fish into biting.

Fly Fishing in Medieval Europe

Mention of fly fishing disappears after that early reference and doesn’t reappear until the 13th century. In that account, men would wade barefoot into mountain streams to cast their flies. According to some accounts, fly fishing was the chosen fishing method for many common people in continental Europe from about 1360 forward.

By modern standards, the early equipment these fishermen used was extremely primitive. The fishermen focused mostly on trout, as their equipment was still too primitive to catch many salmon.

Fly Fishing Innovations

As fly fishing caught on in America, some American fishermen came up with fishing innovations that are still standard today. In 1878, for example, fisherman Charles Orvis invented the first truly modern reel. There were other reels before his, but Orvis’ reel changed the sport of fly fishing forever.

The advent of the railroad also made it possible to travel in order to fish, which meant that all inclusive family vacations that included fly fishing were born!

At Colorado Trails Guest Ranch, fly fishing is one of our guests’ most popular activities. With beautiful mountain streams and abundant trout, we’ve helped both experts and novices enjoy marvelous fishing vacations at our ranch. Contact us today to find out how you and your family can add an unforgettable fly fishing vacation to your own family history.