4hrs 10 min

About the Course

You're about to take your bouldering to the next level with professional climber, Nina Williams! Before starting, this orientation section will ensure you're dialed in and taking full advantage of all the features of this course and its resources.

We're psyched for you!

Let's dive in!

8 Files & Resources

Browse all the links and downloads mentioned in the course. If you would like us to include any other resource, please let us know in the Community group.

About the Course

While on vacation in Canada as a kid, Maddie Brenneman found herself casting line after line, in search of the perfect fish. And ever since, she’s dedicated her entire life to being an angler—a damn good one. Brenneman spends her days on rivers around the world for all the right reasons. Of course, she loves to catch fish. But it’s about much more than that. It’s about the travel that comes with fishing. It’s about the never-ending education surrounding conservation. And it’s about the opportunity to share experiences with new people willing to learn the craft. From New Zealand to Belize to her backyard in Colorado—she’s gained the necessary knowledge, and then some, to help take your fly fishing adventures to the next level.

What you're going to learn:

  • What to understand about fly fishing before you get on the water
  • What gear you'll need and tips on how to use it
  • How to cast a fly rod and critical steps for beginners
  • Reading water and knowing where to fish
  • And much more (see lesson contents above for full topic list👆🏼)

Lesson 1: Why Do I Fly Fish

Well, well, well... Looks like it's time to talk fly fishing—the best kind of talk there is.In this Crux Academy Course, you'll quickly learn that Maddie has put every ounce of knowledge, passion, and experience forward. She wants you to succeed. To love the river like she does. To catch 10,201 fish a day like she does. So whether you're a seasoned angler or an open-minded rookie, trust us when we say this course was built for you. Now throw on the waders and grab your reel. (Yes, even if you're in you're living room.) Adventure is now in session.

Meet Your Instructor: Maddie Brenneman


The Reasons Why I Love Fly Fishing


A Brief History of Fly Fishing


Lesson 2: What is Fly Fishing

This is for all you beginner anglers out there. Because before we dive into the nitty gritty of fly fishing, it's important we talk about what fly fishing really is in the first place.

What Makes Fly Fishing Different


Where/What Can You Fly Fish


A Note About Patience


Lesson 3: Stream Etiquette

If you don't show respect on the stream, you don't know what being an angler really means. In this lesson, Maddie goes through the essentials of fishing alongside fellow outdoorists. Who knows—you might even make a friend or 10 with these tricks in your bag.

Lesson 4: The Science Behind the Sport

Fly fishing is not simply dropping a line into the water. It's far more complex. And that's why you've signed up for this course.

Fly fishing is rooted in science. To be a master, you need to make detailed Entomology observations (the study of insects). You need to know the different types of flies like your ABCs. You need to work alongside the seasons like a wild animal. And you need to tap into your local resources to stay up to date on the changing conditions.

In this lesson, we dive into the science behind the sport. Let's get nerdy.

Why Learn About Entomology


The Life Cycle of Insects: Mayfly


The Life Cycle of Insects: Caddis


The Life Cycle of Insects: Stonefly


The Life Cycle of Insects: Midge


Different Types of Flies




Specialty Flies


Life Cycles of Fish




Your Local Fly Shop




Lesson 5: Gear and What You Really Need to Get Started

The worst mistake an angler can make is owning the wrong gear.

Of course, the human element of fly fishing is incredibly important. We'll get to that in later lessons. But forgoing the proper tools will leave you frustrated, confused, and without a catch. So let's dive into the proper gear plan together, shall we?

Setting Up the Fly Rod


Purchasing a Fly Rod


Wading Gear


Cold Weather Gear


Fly Packs


What's Inside My Fly Pack


Other Items


Lesson 6: Safe Practices for the Angler and the Fish

If it hasn't happened to you, you've probably had a nightmare about it: Getting caught on a barb. No one needs that.

So let's jump into some safety protocols here, folks—from keeping yourself safe, to making sure you're properly licensed, to cleaning your gear right, and beyond.

Personal Safety


Buying a Fishing License and Why It's Important


Debarb Hooks and Use Appropriate Size Tackles


Cleaning Gear Before Fishing Different Places


How to Safely Fight and Bring in a Fish


Handling the Fish


Foul-Hooking a Fish


Lesson 7: The Basic of Knot Tying

To be, or knot to be?That is never the question.

Just tie the knot! Because with the proper knot, you're one step closer to becoming a master angler.

Knot Tying Essentials


Clinch Knot


Improved Clinch Knot


Double Surgeons Knot


Perfection Loop (aka Loop Knot)


Loop-to-Loop Connection


Attaching a Fly Line to a New Real


Setting Up a Nymph Rig


Lesson 8: The Basics of Fly Casting

Like anything in the fly fishing world, fly casting is nowhere near as easy as it seems. So, we've dissected the process into a variety of steps to make sure you're casting like an absolute champ.

Knowing How to Use Each Part of the Rod


Hand Grip and Tips Before You Start


Overhead Cast


Roll Cast


Q&A and More Advanced Techniques


Lesson 9: Hooking and Landing a Fish

To be, or knot to be? That is never the question.

Just tie the knot! Because with the proper knot, you're one step closer to becoming a master angler.



Fighting, Landing, Netting, and Release in Action


What to Do When Your Line Gets Hung Up?


Conclusion / Reminders


Lesson 10: Reading Water and Knowing Where to Fish

The concept is simple: To catch fish in the water, you must understand the water.

But the execution isn't as simple as it seems. Here, we go through what it takes to observe, analyze, and make decisions on the water to make each catch better - and quicker - than the last.

Why is this Important


What to Look For


Approaching Fish


Case Study: Reading Water


Lesson 11: Tying Your Own Flies

One could spend a lifetime tying flies. And after this lesson, you very well may. But for the moment, let's take some time to understand the basics.

After all - if you can't tie your own flies, are you really fly fishing?

The Basics of Fly Tying


Lesson 12: Fishing with Kids

Let's not forget about the next generation of anglers, folks. By understanding best practices, being patient, and always keeping the future in mind, we can foster a whole new batch of river lovers - and that's a very, very good thing.

Getting Your Kids on the Water


Lesson 13: Fly Fishing Tourism and Finding a Guide or Outfitter

It doesn't matter if you've been fishing for 1 year or 100. Knowing where to go, and who to fish with, is absolutely key.

In this lesson, we discuss location scouting and how to find the best guides so every trip exceeds your wildest expectations.

Recommendations for Travel and Guiding



Well folks, looks like it's time to hit the water!

You've reached the end of the course. So take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments. Then get out there and put your knowledge to work because those fish won't stand a chance. And don't forget to tune into live Q&As with Maddie here on Crux Academy. She's here to help you and the rest of the Crux Community thrive outside!

Conclusion: A Message from Maddie

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Files & Resources

Browse all the links and downloads mentioned in the course. If you would like us to include any other resource, please let us know by contacting us here.