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Podcast: Light Dry Dropper — Dry Dropper Skills Series #2

Podcast: Light Dry Dropper — Dry Dropper Skills Series #2

Light Dry Dropper is perfect for offering the dry fly as a primary choice. And sometimes, the frequency of takes on the added nymph is stunning.

Fishing a nymph under a dry fly is rarely as simple as adding a nymph and casting it out there. Some forethought into what your objectives truly are, measured against your options for rigging and fly selection, goes a long way toward filling the net with trout . . .

Dog Days

Dog Days

Fishing the summer months is a protracted game of hide and seek, where more often, the angler loses. Every condition favors the trout.

It’s August, and we need rain again. The rivers have taken on a familiar, thirsty look — deep in the heart of summer. Water trickles through the pockets. It sinks into dry rocks like a sponge. We see the skeleton of an ecosystem. And the distilled, clear flow is low enough to reveal the watershed’s deepest secrets. Wading these wet trails requires composure and patience . . .

Are Light Nymphs More Effective? Is Less Weight More Natural?

Are Light Nymphs More Effective? Is Less Weight More Natural?

Presenting natural, convincing or looks-like-real-food drifts is the responsibility of every angler. Whether the flies are light or heavy, whether we’re drifting weighted flies, drop shot or split shot, it’s our ability to adjust, to refine and endlessly improve that keeps us wading into a river anew with each trip.

It’s why we love the nymphing game . . .

STORIES

Fishing With Kids — The Independence Marker

Fishing With Kids — The Independence Marker

At thirteen years old, he has enough experience with the woods and water that I don’t think twice about dropping him off to fish for the evening, awaiting his call when he’s either fished out or it’s getting dark. When I pick him up, he’s full of excitement and stories, or he is calm and peaceful in a way that I don’t often see him. I let him be, in those times, and allow the experience for him to soak in, as he processes a return to the world after a long outing. Leaving the water to rejoin life is sometimes a hard turn.

Kids soak in the rhythms of nature. And later in life, maybe around twelve years old, that base of experience pays off . . .

Following Through

Following Through

This morning should have been like any other. Kill the alarm and hate life for the first five minutes as my body begrudgingly catches up to the will of ambition. Coffee helps. So does the routine, because the inevitability of repetition and pattern seems certain. It cannot be challenged. So, no, you cannot go back to bed. Go fishing . . .

I’ll Meet You Upstream . . .

I’ll Meet You Upstream . . .

I was in that stage of learning where I’d read more than I could put to use, while Rich had already fished more than he could ever find the words to tell.

. . . Somewhat stunned by the beauty of it all, I fell silent and let time creep along, until the slow motion whitewater of the falls mixed with the endless emerald shades reflecting in the softwater glides. An impenetrable canopy above stood guard against the angle of the sun and disguised the true time of day. This timeless valley was either day or night — with the details of everything in between insignificant . . .

TACTICS

Casting and Drifting | Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.5

Casting and Drifting | Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.5

Gaining the bottom, feeling that contact with the riverbed and then gliding over it, tap, ta-tap, tap-a-tap, maybe five to ten times throughout the drift is success. But I’ve noticed that anglers tend to get complacent. Tickling the bottom is only half of the job. And that’s not good enough. We still need to find the right speed for a drift and keep everything in one seam.

Drop shotting puts the angler in ultimate control. Be aware of every element of the drift, and make good choices, because all of them are yours. Control is the advantage of a drop shot rig. Remember this always — your rod tip controls everything . . .

VIDEO: Real Dead Drifts — Up Top and Underneath

VIDEO: Real Dead Drifts — Up Top and Underneath

A dead drift is the most common presentation in fly fishing for trout, because it imitates their most common food forms. We want a dead drift on both a dry fly and a nymph. But what is it?

It’s a one-seam drift that travels at the speed of the current without tension from the attached tippet. That’s hard to achieve, but it is possible by first understanding what a dead drift looks like, both on the surface with a dry fly and below the surface with a nymph . . .

VIDEO: The Only Way to Carry a Wading Staff

VIDEO: The Only Way to Carry a Wading Staff

This wading staff system makes strong waders stronger and fast waders faster. It allows all waders to reach even more water.

If you rig a wading staff the wrong way, it slows you down. But if you rig it the right way, a wading staff opens new worlds and speeds you up.
It gives you access to places that you couldn’t wade before.

But it has to be rigged the right way . . .

NYMPHING

Don’t Guess — Set the Hook and Set Hard

Don’t Guess — Set the Hook and Set Hard

Here’s what I see: Too much guessing. Too much assuming that it’s not a trout rather than assuming that it is. So don’t guess. Set the hook. And set it hard.

If you’re trying to get long drifts, change that. If you’re trying to guess what’s a rock and what’s a trout, change that. If you’re trying to lift the nymph off a rock, and then you realize it was fish — bump buh-bump and gone — change that. I suggest a fundamental shift in your approach . . .

The Tap and the Take — Was That a Fish?

The Tap and the Take — Was That a Fish?

Using the riverbed as a reference is the most common way to know about the unseen nymph below. Get the fly down. Tick the riverbed. Touch and lift. This time-honored strategy is used across fishing styles for just about every species I’ve ever cast to. Find the bottom, and find fish. Better yet, find the bottom and know where the fly is.

But how do we tell the difference between ticking the bottom and a trout strike? My friend, Smith, calls it the tap and the take . . .

#8. The Strike: Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

#8. The Strike: Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

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.

We fool a fish, and we fulfill the wish of every angler.

When the fish strikes, we strike back. Short, swift and effective, the hook finds fish flesh. Then we try to keep the trout buttoned and get it to the net.

In the next article, this series concludes with the focus on putting it all together . . .

STREAMERS

Streamer Presentations — The Tight Line Dance

Streamer Presentations — The Tight Line Dance

On a tight line rig, things are different. We keep line off the water — so it’s the rod tip that dictates the actions of the fly. Direct contact with the fly lends us ultimate control over every variable. With line off the water, it’s the rod tip that charts the course, the actions and all the movements of the streamer. And that . . . is a very big deal . . .

Stop Trying to See Your Streamer

Stop Trying to See Your Streamer

Watching your streamer is fun. It’s educational, and it helps to dial in great action on the fly. But if you’re not careful, you’ll start moving the fly so you can see it instead of moving the fly to attract a trout . . .

Lost Trout Are Your Fault — Streamer Fishing Myth v Truth

Lost Trout Are Your Fault — Streamer Fishing Myth v Truth

A good streamer bite comes with a shot of adrenaline, especially when the strips are fast and aggressive. As we see a wild trout attack the fly, our natural reaction is one of excitement. We set the hook, and all too often we continue the fast and aggressive motions of our retrieve. The trout never has a chance to get back down through the water column, and we mistakenly fight the fish fast and near the surface. Unfortunately, that’s the worst place for a trout, if you want it to stay attached.

ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE

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BIG TROUT

Fighting Big Fish — Keep ‘Em Down

Fighting Big Fish — Keep ‘Em Down

A top-tier river trout is a beast. The inherent nature of a river, with the endless obstacles, rocks, tree parts, current breaks, high gradient runs and undercut banks challenges the angler at every bend. So when you finally hook up with a Whiskey, a new game begins. It’s a match up between trout and fisherman. Who will win that fight?

Bringing a trout to the net requires a series of accurate calculations, thoughtful moves and a good dose of luck. But with a few guiding principles and a bit of experience, you can minimize the luck required and get a good handle on the outcome. One of the best of those principles, is to keep ’em down . . .

Fly Fishing Quick Tips — Put the fish on the reel

Fly Fishing Quick Tips — Put the fish on the reel

With a ten inch trout, none of this really matters. The little guys don’t challenge your tackle or fish-fighting skills. But with a trout longer than your arm, if you don’t put the fish on the reel, problems are right around the corner.

Whether you have a high-end disc drag or you palm the spool with an old-school click-and pawl, getting the line on the reel is the first order of business. It’s the only reliable method of fighting fish . . .

How to Hold a Trout

How to Hold a Trout

You can’t stop fishermen from holding their trout. All of the Keep ‘Em Wet campaigns and the Ketchum Release tools will not stop anglers from reaching into the water and lifting their prize. It’s a desire to complete the act, to finish the catch, an instinct to hold the creature that we set out to capture.

And why wouldn’t we want to hold a wild trout — to touch the majesty of Mother Nature — to feel a fleeting, darting, irrefutably gorgeous animal and admire it, and to look upon that which eludes us so often and for so long? No, you’re not going to stop fishermen from holding their trout.

Instead, let’s spread the word about how to safely handle trout without harming them. What follows is a real world, riverside understanding of how to hold a trout, all from a fisherman who’s held a few trout, large and small . . .

NIGHT FISHING

Night Fishing for Trout — Bank Water

Night Fishing for Trout — Bank Water

On the luckiest nights, large and medium sized trout move to the shallows, searching for an easy meal. Trout visit thin water because they feel protected by the cover of darkness, and because they find baitfish of all types unguarded and ready to be devoured. But this is also when trout are most vulnerable to the skilled night fisher.

I have a bank-first approach on most nights, hoping I may hit it right and find actively feeding fish near the edges. On some rivers I wade to the middle and fish back to the boundary. And where the water is too deep to wade the center, I may stay tight to the bank and choose to either work down and swing flies or work upstream against the bank and drift them. Regardless of the method of presentation used, bank water is my first target . . .

Night Fishing for Trout — Drifting and Swinging Flies

Night Fishing for Trout — Drifting and Swinging Flies

Night fishing with a fly rod isn’t for beginners. Rather, it’s for the well-seasoned angler who doesn’t mind feeling like he’s green again. Enough is different about the night game that your whole system seems turned upside down. Trout hold in peculiar places and behave in strange ways. Flies that you’d never consider in the daylight become your new confidence patterns after dark. And your tippet isn’t really tippet anymore — it’s a chunk of thick, stiff monofilament, designed for setting the hook hard and holding on.

Night Fishing for Trout — Backstory: Drifting and Swinging

Night Fishing for Trout — Backstory: Drifting and Swinging

For all the varied methods of casting a line and showing something interesting to a trout, presenting a fly always comes down to this: Are you drifting or swinging?

Daylight or night bite, we’re delivering our flies either with the current or against it — drifting or swinging. And while their are hundreds of variations on each approach, it helps to recognize the root of every tactic that we employ with a fly rod. When I talk shop with my night fishing friends, when I sit down to share a beer and swap a few tales about how last night’s fishing shook out, my first question is usually, “Were you drifting or swinging.”

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