PODCAST: Prospecting for Trout — S11, Ep10

by | Jun 23, 2024 | 5 comments

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Prospecting is a strategy for covering water. It’s about pace. A lot of what we do, day to day on the water, is searching. We’re looking for activity. We’re trying to find feeding fish.

Sometimes we’re looking to find the fish themselves, and other times, we know the trout are there, but they won’t eat, so we’re faced with the choice to change tactics or change flies . . . or we can move on and look for the next opportunity.

All of that can fairly be called prospecting. But for this discussion, we want to think about how covering water and looking for the players — for the hungry ones, is a unique strategy. It’s a lot different than settling in over risers or even working a hundred yards of some pocket water with nymphs.

The truth is, we’re searching for something on every cast, no matter what our approach is. But what we call prospecting is a bit different. It’s about canvassing an area, casting a wider net, searching for that next fish and then the next one. Then we take that data about where and how trout are feeding, and we use it to inform our next decision.

Often we might dedicate a whole day to prospecting. And on other days, it’s a prospecting approach that helps us dial in the rhythms of trout. So we’d like to find where trout are feeding and what they’re feeding on most. Then we might sort of change gears to a more targeted approach and do the opposite of prospecting.

Resources

PODCAST: Troutbitten | Cover Water, Catch Trout
PODCAST: Troutbitten | Cherry Picking or Full Coverage

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

 

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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.

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5 Comments

  1. 2025 time to prospect with the cicada!!

    Reply
  2. Rosenbauer’s “Prospecting for Trout” should be enshrined with all the other classics.
    An amazing tome, with a level of detail that can benefit trout anglers from beginner on.

    Dom 
    Surprised you choose your parachute ant over a beetle when prospecting. Obviously, it fishes well for you, but nothing beats a large foam beetle for triggering lateral line responses from large trout. Have you tried pairing a big beetle with that ant? Should be a killer for prospecting and they float all day. Especially, but not limited to terrestrial season.

    Reply
  3. Regarding the “Two Ways to Splat a [Terrestrial]” that you cover in the linked article, consider a third method that I use that can be added to crash or tuck casts.

    To my foam beetles and hoppers I add lead wraps to the hook. Usually 0.01 or O.015 with varying turns. With a little experimentation you can get the perfect plop for different water types and conditions. And the lead has the added benefit of sinking that high riding foam lower in a more natural profile.
    I add lead to hoppers as well.

    Regarding prevalence of terrestrial items, I don’t think it matters to the trout. Grasshoppers , beetles, and some ants all have wings, and thus more prone to winding up in rivers. Trout are very opportunistic and would be to pass up a helpless mass of protein regardless of how often they see it. At least in my experience.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Rick. To your last point, around here, the bug must be present in large enough numbers to have it be something trout are looking for. Se see this all the time. Hoppers are almost useless in these waters, because trout don’t see them much. And they simply don’t believe they should be eating anything of that size — not on any regular basis. Likewise, when the cicadas were here, it took them about a week to get dialed in, because they hadn’t seen anything that big on the water for 17 years.

      So, opportunistic, yes. But only within reason.

      Dom

      Reply

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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.

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