Innovations in Fly Fishing Nets

Last updated on January 9th, 2024.

Leonard Schoenberger

Fly fishing, an age-old pursuit has seen a remarkable evolution in recent times, particularly in fishing nets.

Traditionally, these nets served the fundamental purpose of aiding anglers in landing their prized catches. 

However, the modern angling community is witnessing a surge in innovative designs and technologies, revolutionizing how enthusiasts approach their favorite pastime. This evolution not only enhances the angling experience but also contributes significantly to conservation efforts, aligning the sport with ethical and sustainable practices.

That said, it’s safe to say fishing has become more than a hobby; it’s a way to show we care about nature, and the new fishing nets are all about improving the fishing experience while keeping our waters clean and fish populations healthy. So, let’s take a look at what’s new:

Collapsible Nets

Fly Fishing nets of different shapes and sizes on a wooden floor
A collapsible net (green) offers a lot of versatility

Collapsible fishing nets have truly transformed the way we enjoy our angling adventures. These nifty tools fold down into incredibly compact sizes, offering unmatched portability for anglers on the go. Crafted from lightweight yet durable materials, these nets are a game-changer for anyone exploring remote terrains or fishing in tight spaces.

The beauty of collapsible nets lies in their convenience. No more wrestling with bulky traditional nets—these foldable wonders fit snugly into your backpack, leaving you more room for your other fishing essentials. They are a testament to modern angling, where simplicity meets functionality.

So, the next time you plan your fishing escapade, consider the ease of a collapsible net. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, having one of these in your arsenal ensures that your fishing experience remains hassle-free and enjoyable.

Ghost Nets

Brodin Tailwater Landing Net on river bank
The Brodin Tailwater is a great ghost net option

Ghost nets have quietly become a favorite among fly fishers, bringing a subtle revolution to angling. Yes, it’s a net with mesh so inconspicuous, it practically disappears underwater. This invisibility gives anglers a unique edge, allowing them to approach fish without startling them. It’s like mastering the art of stealth fishing, where the challenge lies in outsmarting your aquatic prey without them even noticing your presence.

These nets embody a harmonious blend of technology and tradition. They offer a chance for anglers to test their skills, adding an element of thrill and challenge to every fishing trip. With ghost nets, the pursuit of that elusive catch becomes a game of finesse, where patience and strategy take the spotlight. So, next time you’re out by the water, consider the magic of ghost nets—your ticket to a more subtle and exciting angling experience.

Magnetic Net Releases

Fly fishermen in the mountains on a stream
A magnetic net release allows you to attach your landing net to your wading jacket or backpack

Magnetic net releases have significantly simplified the entire netting process, becoming a staple among fly anglers. This ingenious innovation has removed the complexities associated with attaching and detaching the net, ensuring it is always within immediate reach. Unlike traditional clips or straps, this magnetic marvel offers a seamless transition from the exhilaration of the catch to the careful netting process.

The swift and secure magnetic connection liberates anglers from the hassle of dealing with cumbersome fasteners. This means anglers can immerse themselves in the sheer joy of the catch, reassured by the knowledge that their net is merely an arm’s length away, poised and ready for action. 

This effortless accessibility transforms the angling experience, allowing enthusiasts to concentrate wholeheartedly on the thrill of the hunt. In a world where every moment counts, magnetic net releases have become more than just a convenience; they have become an essential part of the angler’s toolkit, ensuring that every catch is met with seamless efficiency and undivided focus.

Integrated Measuring Systems

O'Pros Driftless Fly Fishing Net on stone
The O’Pros Driftless features a ruler on the handle

Modern fishing nets have taken a step into precision and convenience with integrated measuring systems. These nifty additions bring measuring rulers right into the net structure, making it super easy for anglers to assess their catches accurately. No more arguments over a fish’s size; now, anglers can confidently measure their catches, ensuring they meet the legal size limits without any doubts. This innovation not only simplifies the process but also promotes responsible angling practices. 

By accurately measuring catches, anglers are contributing to the conservation of fish populations and supporting sustainable fishing habits. It’s a win-win situation, making the angler’s job easier while also taking care of our aquatic friends in the process.

Integrated Scales

Integrated scales in fly fishing nets represent a harmonious blend of functionality and conservation. These built-in devices, often embedded within the handle or frame of the net, allow anglers to quickly ascertain the weight of their catch without subjecting the fish to prolonged periods of stress outside the water. By minimizing the need for additional handling and potential harm to the fish, integrated scales underscore the ethos of responsible angling.

For catch and release enthusiasts, this innovation ensures that the fish can be swiftly and safely returned to the water after a brief moment of admiration. Not only do these scales provide a convenient measure for the angler, but they also play a pivotal role in preserving the health and vitality of the aquatic ecosystem.

Focus on Environmentally Friendly Products

Montana fly fishing - release of a big trout
Wooden landing nets (if grown sustainably) can be an environment-friendly option – Photo: Shane Rickert

In today’s time, where environmental awareness has reached unprecedented heights, the angling community is witnessing a notable shift towards more eco-friendly practices. This transformation is particularly evident in the materials used for fishing nets. Manufacturers are increasingly embracing sustainable options, opting for recycled plastics and eco-friendly coatings in the construction of these essential angling tools.

This movement towards environmentally conscious products signifies more than just a trend; it embodies a conscientious shift in consumer behavior. Often seen as custodians of the natural world, Anglers make deliberate choices aligned with their conservation values. They actively select nets crafted from materials that minimize environmental impact, recognizing their role as stewards of aquatic ecosystems.

By opting for eco-friendly nets, anglers play a crucial part in preserving these delicate environments. This choice ensures that their passion for angling does not compromise the very habitats that sustain the diverse aquatic life they admire. Many manufacturers also offer replacement nets to easily prolong the lifespan of a landing net.

It’s a testament to the angling community’s dedication to responsible practices, reflecting their commitment to the well-being of our precious natural resources. Though seemingly small, this collective effort signifies a significant stride towards a more sustainable future.


A small cutthrout trout caught fly fishing Montana

In fishing, the evolution of nets isn’t just a change—it’s a vibrant journey uniting tradition with innovation, all in the spirit of our love for nature. 

From collapsible nets, your trusty sidekick that fits snugly into your backpack, freeing you from the hassle of lugging around heavy gear; ghost nets, that are almost magical with their near-invisible mesh, challenging your angling skills in the most exciting way possible; to the game-changer magnetic net releases that make the whole netting process a breeze, so you can focus entirely on the thrill of the catch, every single time. 

But it doesn’t end there. The shift towards eco-friendly nets isn’t just a trend; it’s our way of giving back to the waters we love. By choosing these innovations, we’re not just fishing; we’re embracing a lifestyle that respects and preserves the beauty of our natural world. So, fellow anglers, let’s cast our lines with passion and responsibility, ensuring that every catch is not just a victory but also a promise—a promise to nurture our waters for generations to come. Happy angling, where each adventure is a step towards a greener, more sustainable future! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “ghost net” in the context of fly fishing?

In fly fishing, a “ghost net” refers to a net with clear or semi-transparent rubber mesh. This design aims to be less visible in the water, potentially reducing stress on the fish as it is less aware of being netted. The transparent nature can make the capture and release process smoother for both the angler and the fish.

How do integrated rulers in fishing nets work, and what are their advantages?

Some modern fishing nets come with rulers embedded or printed directly onto the net bag or handle. This design allows anglers to quickly measure a fish’s length without having to remove it from the safety of the net, reducing handling time and stress on the fish. It provides a convenient way for anglers to record fish sizes without additional tools.

Are there nets with integrated scales to weigh fish?

Yes, some nets now integrate digital or mechanical scales within the handle or frame. Once the fish is safely in the net, the angler can activate the scale to get an approximate weight. Like the integrated ruler, this innovation minimizes the time and stress of handling, ensuring a healthier release.

How do sustainable materials play a role in the design of modern fly fishing nets?

Sustainability has become a significant focus in the fly fishing industry. Manufacturers are now using recycled or sustainably sourced materials in net construction. For instance, bamboo, a renewable resource, is used in making some net frames. Additionally, companies might employ recycled plastics or materials in mesh construction or handles. These initiatives reflect the industry’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Why are collapsible or modular fishing nets gaining popularity?

Collapsible or modular nets are designed for portability and adaptability. These nets can be broken down into components or folded for easy transport, which is advantageous for anglers who travel or hike to fishing spots. The modular design also allows for parts replacement, like mesh or handle, which can be more sustainable as it extends the net’s lifespan without replacing the entire unit.