Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #33 — Fish the Edge

by | Mar 11, 2018 | 6 comments

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.

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

 

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

 

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 700+ articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

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.

More from this Category

Leaders in the Troutbitten Shop

Leaders in the Troutbitten Shop

Troutbitten leaders are now available in the Troutbitten Shop. These are hand tied leaders in four varieties: Harvey Dry Leader, Standard Mono Rig, Thin Mono Rig, and Micro-Thin Mono Rig. Standard Sighters are also available, and they include a Backing Barrel. The Full Mono Rig Kit contains each of the three Mono Rig leaders.

All Troutbitten leaders come on a three-inch spool, making long leader changes a breeze.

Design and Function of the Troutbitten Standard Mono Rig

Design and Function of the Troutbitten Standard Mono Rig

Here, finally, is a full breakdown on the design of my favorite leader. It’s built for versatility without compromising presentation. It’s a hybrid system with an answer for everything, ready for fishing nymphs on both a tight line and under an indy. It fishes streamers large and small, with every presentation style. It’s ready for dry dropper, wet flies, and it even casts single dry flies. All of these styles benefit greatly with a tight line advantage.

Anglers in contact are anglers in control. It’s fun and effective, because we know where the flies are, and we choose where they go next . . .

VIDEO | Streamers on the Mono Rig: Episode 2 — Casting

VIDEO | Streamers on the Mono Rig: Episode 2 — Casting

The Troutbitten video series, Streamers on the Mono Rig continues with Episode Two, covering the unique possibilities and the demands of casting.

Fishing streamers on the Mono Rig offers anglers ultimate control over the direction and action of their flies — all the way through the drift. And while small streamers may need nothing more than a nymphing-style cast, mid-sized and full-sized streamers require a few changes in casting to get the most from the technique . . .

You Need Contact

You Need Contact

Success in fly fishing really comes down to one or two things. It’s a few key principles repeated over and over, across styles, across water types and across continents. The same stuff catches trout everywhere. And one of those things . . . is contact.

. . . No matter what adaptations are made to the rig at hand, the game is about being in touch with the fly. And in some rivers, contact continues by touching the bottom with something, whether that be a fly or a split shot. Without contact, none of this works. Contact is the tangible component between success and failure.

Streamer Presentations — The Touch and Go

Streamer Presentations — The Touch and Go

Want to get deep? Want to be sure the fly is low enough? Try the Touch and Go.

Sometimes, I don’t drift or strip the streamer all the way through. Instead, I plot a course for the fly, looking through the water while reading the river’s structure. And I look for an appropriate landing zone for the Touch and Go . . .

Turnover

Turnover

In short, turnover gives us freedom to choose what happens with the line that’s tethered to the fly. How does the tippet and leader land? With contact or with slack? And where does it land? In the seam and partnered with the fly, or in an adjacent current? By having mastery of turnover, we dictate the positioning of not just the fly, but the leader itself. And nothing could be more important . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

6 Comments

  1. 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? 🙂

    Reply
  2. Hey Jim. 🙂 That’s a fair question! There are some brook trout posts on here. There are a few. In fact, there’s probably a couple dozen good brook trout shots. And most of the brook trout posts are in the stories section.

    I am thoroughly enamored with the wild brown trout of PA at the moment. But there was a time when I fished almost all brook trout streams. That was about a decade ago. I had a Border Collie who loved the deep woods, and we hiked all over north central PA in search of the next brookie water. I love it. And I’ll get back to it, I’m sure. I know and miss a lot of those brookie waters.

    As for rainbows, there are very few wild rainbow trout streams in PA. So most of the bows that we catch are stocked, and that doesn’t do much for me.

    Just my thing.


    Dom

    Reply
  3. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . .

    Reply
    • OK!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

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.

Pin It on Pinterest