Featured | Fishing

IGFA changes rules, allows ‘droppers’ to be used in catch records

New rules allow 'droppers' to be used when catching fish for the IGFA record books.
Image courtesy of the IGFA.

New rules only apply to salmonids, like trout, salmon, char and grayling

The International Game Fish Association recently announced a change to its International Angling Rules, which are widely considered as the official rules of sport fishing. The recent change now allows anglers that are fly fishing to use two separate flies, or a “dropper” fly drifted or fished on the swing below a “point” fly.

The IARs are referenced by anglers who might consider fish they catch to be record-worthy.

“Dropper flies have been used by fly anglers for years and are a regularly accepted practice in the world of fly fishing for certain species,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser. “This rule change to allow dropper flies is a great example of how the IGFA is committed to remaining relevant to the angling community while not compromising the intent of our rules and the principles of ethical angling and sportsmanship.”

Approved unanimously by the IGFA’s Board of Directors, the new rule outlined below is effective immediately.

Dropper flies are permissible only for fishing for salmonid species (e.g., trout, grayling, salmon, etc.) under the following configuration:

1. Dropper flies may consist of no more than two flies fished in tandem that are surface flies, subsurface flies or a combination of the two.

2. The material connecting the two flies must be equal to or less than the breaking strength of the class tippet material connecting the lead fly to the fly leader.

3. Catches will be categorized by the breaking strength of the class tippet preceding the lead fly, no matter which fly the fish is caught on.

Prior to making their decision on this rule change, the IGFA consulted several prominent angling organizations including Trout Unlimited, Wild Salmon Center, Japan Game Fish Association, members of the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame, and more.

For any questions or to learn more about IGFA International Angling Rules, please contact Nick Haddad, IGFA Angler Recognition Coordinator.