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Asking the Best Questions to Catch More Trout

Asking the Best Questions to Catch More Trout

Fly selection is important, but it’s one of the last questions to ask. There’s no denying that catching a few trout helps lead us to the promise of catching a few more. One trout is an accident. It’s just as likely that you found a maverick as it is that a single fish can teach you the habits of the rest. Two fish is a coincidence, but three starts to show a trend. And at a half dozen fish, there’s enough data about who, what, where, when and why to build the pieces of a puzzle.

To the die-hard angler, adaptation and adjustment to what we discover is one of the great joys of fly fishing for trout . . .

Podcast: The Strike — Tight Line Skills Series, #8

Podcast: The Strike — Tight Line Skills Series, #8

The strike is the best part of fishing. It’s what we’re all out there waiting for, or rather, what we’re trying to make happen all day long. And the trout eats because we get so many things right. When the fish strikes, we strike back. Short, swift and effective, the hook finds flesh. Then we try to keep the trout buttoned up, and get it to the net . . .

When fishing for stockies, it may not pay to be ambitious

When fishing for stockies, it may not pay to be ambitious

Brandon barely cut the engine before I jumped out of the truck and into my waders, I strung up lines and laces in no time.

“I’m gonna head upstream past the second flat, into that woodsy section away from the road. When I pick off a few fish up there, I might circle back around to the lower end,” I said to Brandon.

“K. Those are big plans.” he replied flatly.

Brandon spoke again, while staring at the water. “Dom, when fishing for stockies, sometimes it does not pay to be ambitious . . .”

STORIES

Legendary

Legendary

When the line snapped, the sound shrieked through the damp air and scattered somewhere behind me, leaving behind the only evidence  — a quivering rod tip and the bewilderment of my expression.

It’s Wading, Not Walking

It’s Wading, Not Walking

My ten-year-old son stumbled across the river. With each step he seemed on the brink of falling forward into the flow. Wide eyed and stiff-faced, Joey battled through the current, expecting all the while to fall in, but hoping and struggling against it. It seemed like he was trying to win a race, thinking he might outdistance the impending accident if he just moved fast enough . . .

Nothing in nature crosses the water like a fisherman in a hurry. We look so out of place, bumbling around in waders trying to find a foothold and fighting a battle with the river . . .

Tight Lining — Not All That Tight

Tight Lining — Not All That Tight

There are times for constant contact. But on most days, the best tight line presentations are not about feeling the action of the fly or the weight on the bottom. It’s not about a perfect tight line with the rig. Rather, it’s about slipping in and out of contact with the fly on a small scale — staying somewhere between tightline and slackline — that’s where the magic lies.

TACTICS

Fighting Big Fish With Side Pressure — Not With the Rod Tip Up

Fighting Big Fish With Side Pressure — Not With the Rod Tip Up

Side pressure pulls the trout from its lane. While the fish faces the current and tries to hold a seam, side pressure moves that trout from its comfort zone and forces it to work against the force of our bent fly rod — all while keeping the trout low. And while we never want to play a trout to exhaustion, the art of a good trout fight is in taking them to the point where we have more control over their body than they do.

You Already Fished That

You Already Fished That

If you’re committed to working a section of river, then once you’ve done your job in one lane, trust what the trout tell you. Don’t re-fish it, and don’t let the next cast drift down into the same spot again either. Sure the water looks good, and that’s why you fished it in the first place. But you’ve already covered it. So let it go, and focus on the next target. Trust the next opportunity . . .

Natural vs Attractive Presentations

Natural vs Attractive Presentations

. . . Let’s call it natural if the fly is doing something the trout are used to seeing. If the fly looks like what a trout watches day after day and hour after hour — if the fly is doing something expected — that’s a natural presentation.

By contrast, let’s call it attractive if the fly deviates from the expected norm. Like any other animal in the wild, trout know their environment. They understand what the aquatic insects and the baitfish around them are capable of. They know the habits of mayflies and midges, of caddis, stones, black nosed dace and sculpins. And just as an eagle realizes that a woodland rabbit will never fly, a trout knows that a sculpin cannot hover near the top of the water column with its nose into heavy current . . .

NYMPHING

Fly Fishing Strategies: Tags and Trailers

Fly Fishing Strategies: Tags and Trailers

Sometimes trout are feeding so aggressively that the particular intricacies of how nymphs are attached to the line seem like a trivial waste of time. Those are rare, memorable days with wet hands that never dry out between fish releases. More often than not, though, trout make us work to catch them. And those same particulars about where and how the flies are attached can make all the difference in delivering a convincing presentation to a lazy trout.

Two nymphs can double your chances of fooling a trout. But there are downsides. Here are some strategies for rigging and getting the most from two fly rigs.

STREAMERS

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ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE

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BIG TROUT

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NIGHT FISHING

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