Articles in the Category Fly Fishing Strategies

Lightning Fast Leader Changes (with VIDEO)

Continued success and enjoyment on the river is a result of versatility. Solving the daily mystery, adapting our approach and getting that next bite is our endless goal. Adapting and changing quickly is a critical piece of the game. Knotting on the next fly is the easy part, but swift, wholesale leader changes are more elusive . . .

Podcast: Find Feeding Fish — Exploring Water Types and More — S3-Ep5

Rivers are in a perpetual state of change, and the trout’s feeding patterns respond to those changes.

There are many factors that encourage trout to move into and feed in certain types of water. While the real-world conditions and events are infinite, there are five major factors that influence where and how trout feed in a river. They are: water temperature, water levels and water clarity, hatches, bug and baitfish activity, light conditions, and spawning activity.

And if we learn to recognize all of this, we have the keys to the puzzle.

Fly Fishing Strategies — Look for the Changeout Spots

As you wade the river, or when you’re on a float trip that covers miles of great water, you’re looking for moments — you’re looking for places — to make that next adjustment.

I call these the changeout spots . . .

Find Your Rhythm

With confusion and some sense of despair, I wondered what was wrong with my presentation? What else could I adjust to convince these trout?

Then it hit me. I was fishing hard, but I was hardly fishing. With all of those changes, I’d had no rhythm. I’d been inefficient and had struggled for consistency . . .

Cover Water — Catch Trout

Cover Water — Catch Trout

John crossed the bridge with his head down. He watched each wading boot meet a railroad tie before picking up his other foot for the next step. Cautiously, he walked the odd and narrow gait required when walking the tracks. And with nothing but air between each massive railroad tie, he could see the river below.

I’ve never known anyone to fall on a railroad bridge. I suppose you couldn’t fall through. But you’d surely break a leg or twist an ankle with one wrong step on that slick wood.

So I stood by the “No Trespassing” sign, next to the edge of the bridge, and watched my friend slowly make his way toward me. He looked disappointed. And when gravel filled in the gaps between ties, when John was back on solid ground, his head stayed down.

“Did you catch a Namer?” I asked with feigned enthusiasm.

“Ha! Nope, I surely didn’t do that,” John said, waving his hand and brushing off my next question.”

Fly Fishing Strategies — Plan for the Hookset

Fly Fishing Strategies — Plan for the Hookset

For a moment, let’s consider where the line goes when the hookset doesn’t stick a trout . . .

You strike on the rise and miss a fish. Or, while nymphing, you set when the fly bumps a rock for the forty-fifth time. And the fly goes where?

In wide open meadows and valleys, who cares? With no trees to eat your fly, sloppy hooksets go unpunished. But the rivers I frequent harbor broken tree limbs as earnest gatekeepers. I like dark, shady corners because the trout do. And working around these obstacles forces me to be mindful — to know where every hookset finishes . . .

Get a good drift, then move on

Get a good drift, then move on

Cover more water and catch more trout. It’s a common theme running through these Troutbitten pages and one that surely puts more fish in the net — if you’re committed to it. And while there’s certainly a danger of taking this concept of constant motion to counterproductive extremes, the core philosophy of showing your flies to more trout is hard to argue against.

There are a host of variables to consider, though. And walking upstream spraying casts in every direction is not the way to get things done.

Let’s talk about it . . .

You Don’t Have to Match the Hatch

You Don’t Have to Match the Hatch

One by one they came back to the gravel lot, all of them pleasantly water-weary and uniquely satisfied. Each had caught lots of trout — that part of the story was the same. But the hot flies were all different. Trout had come to dries, streamers and a variety of nymphs. All of the Troutbitten crew had found success, but each had come to it in a different way.

. . . I’m not suggesting to ignore the hatches. I’m saying that you could ignore the hatches and probably catch just as many trout as the next guy . . .

Fly Fishing Strategies: Sighters — Seven Separate Tools

Fly Fishing Strategies: Sighters — Seven Separate Tools

Sighters are game changers. A visible sighter allows you to stop guessing where your fly might be and know where it is instead. By having a visual reference at a fixed point on your leader, you can track the movements of that leader, in relation to the currents, and have a very good idea of what your flies are doing under the water — or on the surface.

Not only do I build a sighter into my nymph and streamer leaders, I also add small, subtle sighters into my dry fly leaders. As my friend, Jimmi Ray, says, “Why wouldn’t you?” Sighters, however, are a staple in tight line and euro nymphing leaders, and in the Mono Rig.

I absolutely believe in the effectiveness of long mono leaders for nearly every underwater presentation to river trout, but here’s one major drawback: without the fly line, there’s nothing to look at. A sighter gives that visual back, better than ever.

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.

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