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Resources include the Fly-Fishing merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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This is the Fly-Fishing merit badge for Scouts, Lone Scouts, and qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts.
Venturers can complete the Fishing elective for the Ranger Award.
Scouts, Lone Scouts, and qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts can also earn the Fishing and Fish and Wildlife Management merit badges.

Fly-Fishing merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 2002
Replaced: Angling
BSA Advancement ID: 136
Requirements revision: 2019
Latest pamphlet revision: 2014


Fly-fishing is a specialized form of fishing that combines skill and artistry. Because it is so rich with tradition, it is a passion for millions of people. The beauty of the water, the solitude, and the skills that the sport requires have made fly-fishing very important in the lives of many notable people.

Fly-Fishing merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    (a) Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in fly-fishing activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards. Name and explain five safety practices you should always follow while fly-fishing.
    (b) Discuss the prevention of and treatment for health concerns that could occur while fly-fishing, including cuts and scratches, puncture wounds, insect bites, hypothermia, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and sunburn.
    (c) Explain how to remove a hook that has lodged in your arm.
  2. Demonstrate how to match a fly rod, line and leader to achieve a balanced system. Discuss several types of fly lines, and explain how and when each would be used. Review with your counselor how to care for this equipment.
  3. Demonstrate how to tie proper knots to prepare a fly rod for fishing:
    (a) Tie backing to the arbor of a fly reel spool using an arbor knot.
    (b) Tie backing to the fly line using a nail knot.
    (c) Attach a leader to the fly line using a nail knot or a loop-to-loop connection.
    (d) Add a tippet to a leader using a surgeon's knot or a loop-to-loop connection.
    (e) Tie a fly onto the terminal end of the leader using an improved clinch knot.
  4. Explain how and when each of the following types of flies is used: dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers, bass bugs, poppers , and saltwater flies. Tell what each one imitates. Tie at least two types of the flies mentioned in this requirement.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to cast a fly 30 feet consistently and accurately using both overhead and roll cast techniques.
  6. Go to a suitable fishing location and what fish may be eating both above and beneath the water's surface. Look for flying insects and some that may be on or beneath the water's surface. Explain the importance of matching the hatch.
  7. Do the following:
    (a) Explain the importance of practicing Leave No Trace techniques. Discuss the positive effects of Leave No Trace on fishing resources.
    (b) Discuss the meaning and importance of catch and release. Describe how to properly release a fish safely to the water.
  8. Obtain and review a copy of the regulations affecting game fishing where you live or where you pan to fish. Explain why they were adopted and what is accomplished by following them.
  9. Discuss what good sportsmanlike behavior is and how it relates to anglers. Tell how the Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America relates to a fishing enthusiast, including the aspects of littering, trespassing, courteous behavior, "catch and release," and obeying fishing regulations.
  10. Catch at least one fish and identify it.
  11. If regulations and health concerns permit, clean and cook a fish you have caught. Otherwise, acquire a fish and cook it. (You do not need to eat your fish.)

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Fly-Fishing is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Fly-Fishing requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Fly-Fishing merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Aquatics.
The Fly-Fishing merit badge is an option for the Splash! STEM Nova Award.
  1. Please be aware that there are Fish eating advisories in several areas of the continental US. The cooking requirement does not require you to cook a fish you catch, just to cook a fish. You may wish to obtain a fish from the market to cook and eat. Click here for an example fish consumption advisory.
  2. The BSA Fishing Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include Fly-Fishing as one of your monthly themes.
  3. Fly-Fishing is a rare merit badge!
  4. Fly-Fishing is one of the elective merit badges for the William T. Hornaday awards for Scouts BSA.

Requirement resources

1. First Aid: Cuts  •  Scratches  •  Puncture Wounds  •  Insect Bites  •  Hypothermia  •  Dehydration  •  Heat Reactions

2. Fishing equipment: Cabela's  •  Bass Pro Shop
3. Knots

3a. Arbor knot  •  3b: Nail knot  •  3c: Needle knot  •  3d: Double Surgeon’s Loop  •  Blood knot  •  3e: Improved clinch knot

4. Fly tying lessons online  •  Clinch Knot
5. Fly-Fishing Video Lessons  •  Gear  •  Setup  •  Tippet  •  Cast  •  Cast2  •  Fly Tying  •  more
7. Leave No Trace
8. Fishing Licenses and Laws for your state
9. Outdoor Code
11. Cooking Fish including a dozen videos on how to fillet and cook, sanitaiton, and fish recipes.

Related awards

Sports-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools