BlogOctober 2020

7 Psychological Benefits of Fishing with a Fly Rod

7 Psychological Benefits of Fishing with a Fly Rod

By Debbie Hanson

Oct 07, 2020

Find out about the psychological benefits of fishing with a fly rod, list of the mental health benefits of fishing, why learning how to fly fish lowers stress

When someone asks you what means the most to you in life, is it having material possessions or having experiences that bring you happiness and peace of mind? There are ways of finding peace of mind outdoors while fishing. For example, you may want to consider the many psychological benefits of fishing with a fly rod.

Think about the soothing sound of a babbling stream that meanders along a beautiful wooded trail, the gentle lapping of waves against the sides of your boat, or watching the graceful loop of your fly line in the air as you make a cast.

With the uncertainties of today's world, the psychological benefits of fishing with a fly rod are worth exploring. Learn more about seven examples of the mental health benefits of fishing, more specifically fly fishing.

  1. Meditation. When you’re fly fishing, you enter into a state that resembles meditation. In other words, because fly fishing requires you to be highly focused, you are much less likely to worry or think about anything that might be stressing you out.
  2. Lifting depression. Time spent outside is therapeutic because it helps to produce lower activity levels in your brain’s pre-frontal cortex. This means that it's easier to break out of cycles of negative thoughts, which leads to lower levels of stress hormones. When you blend the rhythmic movements of casting and the increased focus, it's not hard to understand why organizations such as Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and Casting for Recovery incorporate fly fishing for mental health when working with veterans and cancer survivors.
  3. Meaningful connections. According to Cigna's 2020 Loneliness Index, three in five adults report feeling lonely, and chronic loneliness can lead to mental health issues such as depression. The good news is that you can add meaningful social connections and family bonding to the list of therapeutic benefits of fishing. Plan a fishing trip with your family or join a local fishing club to enjoy time with other like-minded anglers in the great outdoors.
  4. Boost in brain power. It takes practice and patience to cast into the precise places where fish are likely to be hiding, and it uses brain power to be able to perfect new techniques or pick up new fly fishing tips -- not to mention the thoughtful research on where to fly fish near where you live. The focused attention and rapid reaction time involved in fly fishing is very likely to strengthen your mind.
  5. Perspective. Psychologists agree that when you give yourself some "me time," you gain new perspective on day-to-day challenges, creativity is often sparked, and you're better able to cope with life's demands.
  6. Improved self-esteem. Take a casting lesson or check with a local fly shop to see if they offer a fly fishing for beginners course, there are plenty of resources available to help you master new skills. When you catch your first fish on a fly rod after learning how to cast, you'll get a big boost in self-esteem and experience positive feelings of achievement.
  7. Happiness and excitement. The excitement of watching a fish slurp up your fly, and then landing your catch on a fly rod provides an unquestionable boost to the spirits. Besides, fish don't live in ugly places, so there is happiness that comes with just being outdoors in a serene environment.

Now that you know more about the mental health benefits of fishing, and fly fishing in particular, buy your fishing license online and find a place to practice.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.