Fly Fishing

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Fly Fishing merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 2002
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID:
Requirements revision: 2003
Latest pamphlet revision: 2002


[[Category:{{{field}}} merit badges]]

Merit badge requirements

1. Explain to your counselor the injuries that could occur while fly-fishing and the proper treatment, including cuts, scratches, puncture wounds, insect bites, hypothermia, and heat reactions. Explain how to remove a hook that has lodged in your arm. Name and explain five safety practices you should always follow while fly-fishing.
2. Discuss how to match a fly rod, line and leader to get 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 a backing to a fly reel spool using the arbor backing knot
b. Attach backing to fly line using the nail knot
c. Attach a leader to fly line using the needle knot, nail knot or loop-to-loop connection
d. Add tippet to a leader using a double surgeon’s loop or blood knot
e. Tie a fly onto the terminal end of the leader using the improved clinch knot
4. Explain how each of the following types of flies are used: dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers, bass bugs, and poppers. What does each imitate? Tie at least two types of the flies mentioned in this requirement.
5. Demonstrate the ability to cast a fly consistently and accurately using overhead and roll cast techniques.
6. Go to a suitable fishing location and make observations on the types of insects fish may be eating. Look for flying insects and some that may be on or beneath the water’s surface. Look under rocks. Explain the importance of matching the hatch.
7. Explain the importance of practicing Leave No Trace and how it positively affects fly-fishing resources.
8. Obtain a copy of the regulations affecting game fishing where you live. Explain why they were adopted and what you accomplish by following them.
9. Explain what good outdoor sportsmanlike behavior is and how it relates to fishermen. Tell how the Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America relates to a fishing enthusiast, including the aspects of littering, trespassing, courteous behavior, and obeying fishing regulations.
10. Using the fly-fishing techniques you have learned, catch two different kinds of fish and identify them. Release at least one of them unharmed. Clean and cook another fish.

Source: 2007 Boy Scout Requirements (33215)


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Fly Fishing is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Fly Fishing requirements. has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks, Webelos workbooks,
Cub Scout workbooks, and Nova Award workbooks.

Per the BSA: You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject. Merit badge pamplets are available at your local Scout Shop or online at

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.

Help with these requirements

If you have trouble following the still pictures, there are several animated knots provided by GrogTM.

External links

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