Fifty Tips Tips/Tactics

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #33 — Fish the Edge

on
March 11, 2018

I walked against the current for most of the evening, working a mid-river seam with a pair of nymphs, stepping slowly upstream after a few casts and picking off a trout every ten yards or fifteen minutes (however you want to measure it).

In the heaviest sections, the water was forceful enough that I turned sideways, just to stay upright and prevent being bowled over by three feet of hard whitewater. My backside to the bank, I cast upstream into the deep, prime currents of the early spring season.

Underneath the surface, nymphs crawled over an unseen riverbed of rocks and tree parts. Trout foods were nearing the end of a life cycle. Mayfly wing cases were engorged, ready to split at just the right moment and join their brothers and sisters in a mass emergence, with millions of see-through-thin, fluttering wings. Cased caddis outgrew their tubular homes and were on the precipice of the same emergence. The smells of spring were palpable. Anticipation hung over the river. And undeniably, it was a great time to fish nymphs.

In river sections with milder current, I faced upstream, making an easier task of casting and drifting to the main, middle seams. And from the corner of my vision, just off the periphery, I began to notice something. Time and again, I glimpsed trout moving from the river’s edge and out into the main flow. Darting shadows sprinted for the safety of faster water as I passed perpendicular to their holding lie. And some of those quick shadows were much larger than the trout I was catching.

It went on like this for a good hour before I finally accepted the suggestions of the trout shadows. When a particularly large pair of dark phantoms abandoned the bank and skirted the perimeter of my position, I’d had enough. I turned my back to the main flow where I was catching trout. I waded a little closer to the river’s edge and cast to water that looked like nothing.

Sure, I know all about fishing the juicy undercuts and logjams. Some of my favorite prime lies are right on the edge, where a good current seam rubs up against a rootsy bank and scours out a bucket where the best trout in the river make a home. These unique places are often transitional; they’re here one season and gone with the next flood, washed out and re-positioned by time and by the endless forces of nature.

READ: Troutbitten | Upper Honey

I also know about hitting the banks during high or muddy water. And I know that trout love to find a shady summer corner and wait for ants and beetles to make a mistake. I know that Whiskeys like to ambush baitfish in the comfortable shallows just near the banks (particularly under the cover of darkness). And I know why streamers fished to the edges is a popular strategy.

But now I know. Now I know that even the most nondescript, average, boring bank is a good place to try a nymph. It’s a good place to land a dry or any type of fly. It’s another type of water to believe in, to give trout the chance that maybe — just maybe — they’re holding along the banks. It’s not just the prime undercuts or during high waters, either. No. Sometimes, trout are found where I least expect them.

Fish hard, friends.

 

Click here for details.

 

Enjoy the day
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

Not a whole lot of this left this year. Make the most of it. Photo by Josh Stewart

FIFTY TIPS

Read All of the Fifty Tips Series
TAGS

6
What do you think?

4 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
  Follow the comments on this article.  
Notify of
Jim Rancourt

Dom…Honest and serious question. Throughout all the posts all I ever see are Brown Trout. Why? Where are the Brookies and tail-walking Rainbows that take your breath away and set your heart to fluttering as they go through their aerobatics? 🙂

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . .

Great Tips. Thank you.

Domenick Swentosky
BELLEFONTE, PA

Hi. I'm a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

STICKERS
STICKERS
TAGS
gear Memories Plans Wild Mushrooms Whiskey Drinker spawning beadhead fly patterns etiquette indicator nymphing fly line streamside Doh ice high water float falling in swinging Stockies Trout Unlimited big brown trout tips tightline George Daniel Fly rods rules Quote DHALO Euro-Nymphing spot burning leaders fluke dorsey yarn indicator Central PA fly box mousing thunderstorm summertime fishing nymphs Namer Fly Casting Gierach dry flies It's just fishing big fish Press split shot knots saltwater droppers Harvey Pusher indicator fishing Orvis nymphing science matters Boat posted land TU trout bum Floating How it Started reading water Pennsylvania hiking Streamer fishing DJS club fishing Wild Brown Trout photography rookies silence brookies Davy Wotten travel fly tying Dylan Grandfather mono rig fighting fish Sawyer LBI angler types small streams simplicity Streamers strategy mayfly Burke PSA flood front ended Spring Creek tight lining George Harvey catch and release surf fishing shark drop shot nymphing Whiskey History Industry Stuff camera rigs wading boots patience fall summer the Mono Rig stocked trout fishing with kids carp Peace Dad Dry-Dropper traction Float Fishing Discovery dog bite windows boys Headbanger Sculpin Oakiewear favorite marginal water nymphing tips skunked mud tenkara wildlife giveaway efficiency come on man comp fishing philosophy Wild vs Stocked stinky bass Tippet Rings solitude wild trout Resources friendship wading tight line nymphing safety tracks Fish Hard Night Fishing Chapters dead drift Buggers regulations Baseball family Rich home-stream explore suspender fishing conservation drifting bar boots dry fly fishing Aiden time Weather tiny flies Joey backcast Night Fishing One Great Tip Troutbitten Fly Box waders musician Presentations Camping fishing tips Mystery night-sighter DIY Night Grobe winter fishing tippet Galloup Big Trout wet fly fishing last cast casting walking mistakes backcountry Christmas Lights PFBC brush fishing Ask an Expert wet flies flies montana winter wet wading Bad Mother public land Backing Barrel friends winter fly fishing Jeff Trust cookout BES PA Gold net Fifty Tips Sighter Fly Fishing brown trout Little Juniata River