Teaching the Fly Fishing Merit Badge: A Guide for TU Members
new Fly Fishing Merit Badge was established in May of 2002. It gives
Boy Scouts the opportunity to learn about fly fishing, fly tying, and
fishing conservation. It also offers Trout Unlimited members the unique
opportunity to share their fly fishing knowledge with our nation’s
youth. Our local chapters will be a primary source of angling expertise
for tens of thousands of young Scouts who want to learn how to fly fish
for trout and other species. Acting as teachers, mentors, and friends,
TU members can help influence the ethics and practices of young fly
fisherman around the country, creating future conservationists and
protectors of our fishing resources.
How do I get involved?
first step you should take to get involved is to contact a Boy Scout
Troop in your area. Your local Boy Scout council will have a list of
all the troops in your area. Here is a link for the Boy Scouts’
Local Council Locator.
may want to attend a District Roundtable, which is a meeting for all
the Boy Scout Troop leaders in a given region. Once there, you can
present your idea to a number of different troop leaders and find one
that is interested in working with you. For those not already familiar
with the Boy Scouts, the following information will help you understand
their terms and procedures as you get started.
What is a merit badge?
chartered by the Congress of the United States, the Boy Scouts of
America is a movement dedicated to supplementing and enlarging the
education of youth. The merit badge program, which provides
opportunities for youth to explore more than 100 fields of skill and
knowledge, plays a key role in the fulfillment of this educational
an actual merit badge is just a small item to be sewn on a uniform, the
program is one of Scouting’s basic character-building tools. Through
participation in the program, a Scout acquires the kind of
self-confidence that comes only from overcoming obstacles to achieve a
goal. Instruction is offered in everything from animal science and
public speaking to swimming and communications, providing a young man
with invaluable career, physical, and interpersonal skills. This cannot
happen without the service of thousands of merit badge counselors who
have knowledge of particular subjects and are interested in helping
Scouts grow into men of character. Because of their knowledge of fly
fishing and passion for conservation, TU members are perfect candidates
for becoming Fly Fishing Merit Badge counselors.
What are the requirements for the Fly Fishing Merit
To obtain the Fly Fishing Merit Badge, the Scout
Explain to his counselor the injuries that could occur while
fly-fishing and the proper treatment, including cuts, scratches,
puncture wounds, insect bites, hypothermia, dehydration, 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
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
3. Demonstrate how to tie proper knots to prepare a
fly rod for fishing:
1. Tie a backing to a fly reel spool using the
arbor backing knot.
What is a merit badge counselor?
> 2. Attach backing to fly line using the
> 3. Attach a leader to fly line using the
needle knot, nail knot, or loop-to-loop connection.
> 4. Add a tippet to a leader using a double
surgeon’s loop or blood knot.
> 5. 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
> 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
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
10. Using the fly-fishing techniques he has learned, catch two
different kinds of fish and identify them. Release at least one of them
unharmed. Clean and cook another fish.
Here is a printable list of the
requirements for the Fly Fishing Merit Badge.
badge counselors are the key to success in the merit badge program.
They offer their time, experience, and knowledge to help guide Scouts
in one or more of the merit badge subjects.
The merit badge counselor will:
1. Assist the Scout as he plans the assigned
projects and activities to meet the merit badge requirements.
What are the requirements being a merit badge
2. Coach Scouts through interviews and
demonstrations on how to do the required skills of the craft, business,
Follow the requirements of the merit badge, making no deletions or
additions, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform
for all Scouts.
4. Certify the Scout after determining whether he
is qualified for the merit badge.
To qualify as a merit badge counselor, you must:
1. Be at least 18 years old.
Here are some links to more detailed information:
2. Be proficient in the merit badge subject by
vocation or hobby.
3. Be able to work with Scout-age boys.
4. Be registered with the Boy Scouts of America.
Guide For Merit Badge Counseling: http://www.usscouts.org/boyscouts/MBCounseling.html
Merit Badge Counselor Orientation: Supplemental
Adult Leader Training: http://www.meritbadge.com/bsa/info/orient.htm
Sample fly fishing program for Boy Scouts: http://www.scouts.mtbethel.org/calendar/wc10052002.htm
If you are a TU member, you can download the
catalog: PDF and order form here to purchase equipment.