Don’t Force It — Just Fish It

by | Jul 9, 2023 | 2 comments

Trout eat a well presented fly, or they don’t. So the key to catching fish and having fun comes down to three things: picking the right spots, showing trout what they’re looking for and knowing when to move on.

It takes a lot of river experience to fish with confidence. Reading water and picking the best spots is a skill to be studied. Likewise, presenting the fly and offering trout what they’re looking for takes a lifetime of learning and refinement. But that third element to catching trout — knowing when to move on — is easier. And it comes down to this: Don’t force it. Just fish it. That’s something to remember.

Around here, we’re late enough into the season that most trout anglers have surrendered. They’ve hung up the fishing rods for summertime, finding various reasons to stay home. Some of these are legitimate. Warming temperatures are perhaps the best reason to give trout a break. And on the main trout rivers, especially larger ones, there’s no doubt that mid-summer trout need a respite from angling pressure as temperatures rise.

READ: Troutbitten | PSA — It’s Hot Out There

But trout water is varied, in every region. There are tailwaters, spring waters and tribs that remain cold, even in the hottest months. Many of these locations are full of wild trout, but the fishing is technical in low water with the high sun of summertime. It’s tougher, the weather is uncomfortable, and a walk might be necessary to reach these cold locations. But while most anglers stay away, they are missing one of the best challenges of the year.

Approaching low, clear, sunny water and still catching trout is an accomplishment. Likewise, handling the winter elements, finding trout that are willing to eat, and putting a few in the net is another challenge to overcome. And if you can catch fish in these extreme conditions, you can catch them anytime.

Riverdog

Now go back to what I said at the start — the three things necessary to put trout in the net. Choose the right water, give them a good look and then have the confidence to move on.

This has been a theme for my own fishing in the last year or two. I’ve talked with my guided guests about it, and I’ve written articles. Keep moving. Cover water, and keep showing your fly to the next trout.

READ: Troutbitten | A Good Fishing Pace
READ: Troutbitten | Get a Good Drift, Then Move On
READ: Troutbitten | Cover Water, Catch Trout

This becomes most important in the shoulder seasons. When trout are less active or when they’re more spooky in technical water, you simply cannot force a trout into submission. In fact, wherever wild trout are found, “don’t force it, just fish it” is a helpful principle that leads to more opportunities, more water covered, more scenery and yes, more trout in the net.

Trout eat the fly or they don’t. Remember, it’s tough to convince a trout that has already said no. Don’t force it. Just fish it.

Fish hard, friends.

 

** Donate ** If you enjoy this article, please consider a donation. Your support is what keeps this Troutbitten project funded. Scroll below to find the Donate Button. And thank you.

 

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 1000+ 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

VIDEO: Tight Line and Euro Nymphing — The Lift and Lead

VIDEO: Tight Line and Euro Nymphing — The Lift and Lead

The Lift and Lead is a cornerstone concept for advanced tight line nymphing skills.

Lift to allow the fly to fall into place. Lead to stop it from falling and to keep it gliding through the strike zone.

For certain, the lift and lead is an advanced tactic. But if you’re having success on a tight line for a few seasons now, you’re probably already incorporating some of this without knowing it. And by considering both elements, by being deliberate with each part of the lift and lead, control over the course of your flies increases. Efficiency with weight improves.

The path is more predictable. And more trout eat the fly . . .

Streamer Presentations — Your First Move

Streamer Presentations — Your First Move

Streamer anglers will tell you that most of their hits happen within the first few seconds or strips. Trout see the fly enter, and their decision whether to attack, chase or ignore your fly is often determined by your first move after entry.

. . . Trout don’t miss much in their field of vision, and they surely notice anything the size of a streamer landing in their zone. Therefore, what that fly does next either entices, dissuades or spooks the fish . . .

Q&A: Streamers — Sinking Line or Tight Line?

Q&A: Streamers — Sinking Line or Tight Line?

The sinking line does a few presentations very well. And a tight line streamer rig can do many things well. While the sinking line approach gains me more distance and longer retrieves, the tight line system is great for a targeted approach, with more casting and shorter retrieves.

Tight line systems provide direct contact and direct control, where sinking line systems put a weighted fly line in between me and the streamer. Two different styles.

There are many things to consider, but start with this: What is the water type? And what are your goals?

It’s Not Luck

It’s Not Luck

The willingness to meet luck wherever it stands, to accept what comes and fish regardless, is the fundamental attribute of die hard anglers, regardless of their region or the species they chase. We fish because we can, because we’re alive, willing and able, and because we mean to beat bad luck just as we did the last time it showed up.

What Fishing Does to Your Brain

What Fishing Does to Your Brain

Fishing captivates us because it provides two of the three things we need to be happy — something to work on and something to look forward to. What’s the third key to happiness? Someone to love. And for the angler, we’d be wise to choose someone who loves us back, enough to care about and listen to our fishing stories.

I’m thankful for all of this . . .

What do you think?

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

2 Comments

  1. Dom,

    This is a great article and is encouraging. Luke and I went out Sunday and fished a tailwater that was super low, just like Spring Creek when you took us out. Ordinarily, prior to getting guided by you, I would have been frustrated and given up when I didn’t have success immediately.

    Instead, I decided that I would alter my tactics to emulate what you taught me…look for the faster water and fish it even if it’s shallow. I ended up having the most successful time on that particular river I have ever had. At least 3x the amount of fish caught.

    The next step is to get better at seeing the strike…looking past that indicator as you teach us. I missed a bunch of nice fish because I didn’t get a good hookset even though I had them on for 10 seconds.

    Thanks to you and the Troutbitten crew for this amazing resource.

    Reply
  2. best advise from forever.

    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