Articles in the Category Tactics

How Big of an Ask?

Are trout opportunistic feeders? Sure, but it depends on the opportunity. We choose the fly and decide how to present it. We then pick what water will receive the cast. And to inform those decisions, it’s critical to understand what we’re asking the trout to do.

How big of an ask is it?

And how opportunistic do we expect the trout to be?

Here are a few examples . . .

VIDEO: HOW You Set the Hook Matters Most! — Hook Sets for Dry Flies, Nymphs, Streamers and Wets

This video breaks down all of the important things about hook set direction, hook set distance and hook set timing.

Setting the hooks is the most exciting part of the day. For all the time we spend planning, prepping, wading, tying, casting and drifting, it’s all in anticipation of that brief moment when a trout eats the fly. You fooled a trout. So, don’t screw it up. That’s why the hook set matters most. And planning for the hookset, thinking about how a trout might eat the fly and how we will respond, makes all the difference.

One Nymph or Two? — Here’s a Particular Look That Can Only Happen With Two

“That slowdown on the tag happens when the lower nymph — your point fly — reaches the strike zone,” I said. And even though both nymphs are going slow, they like the position or the level of the upper one.” That can only happen with a two fly rig.

The Setup Cast — Fly Fishing Strategies

The setup cast keeps you in control on the river. It allows for repositioning and redirecting the line, leader and fly to the next target. The setup cast gives you a chance to regroup and rethink, too. It keeps you in rhythm by keeping you out of trouble and lending new options to an active angler.

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #18 — Imagine a Target — Fish to the Fish

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #18 — Imagine a Target — Fish to the Fish

You can roam the river, mending, drifting and stripping, casting into every corner pocket and straight channel. You have the skills to present the fly, the consummate awareness of currents and flows and the stamina to wade rough water for hours on end. But can you imagine a target? Can you picture a trout feeding in the hydraulic swirl behind an unseen chunk of bedrock on the river bottom? Can you believe the trout is there? . . .

The capacity to imagine a trout in the river is a next-level skill that’s only earned by thoughtful time on the water . . .

The Big Rig: The Two Plus One — Two Nymphs and a Streamer

The Big Rig: The Two Plus One — Two Nymphs and a Streamer

Multi-fly rigs are nothing new. We pair one nymph with another all the time. Many of us fish two streamers, and most of us cast a dry fly with a nymph for the dropper once in awhile. But the pairing of a streamer and a nymph is less common. And maybe that’s because the typical presentations for each fly type are quite different — we tend to think we’re either streamer fishing or nymph fishing, but rarely both at the same time.

The Big Rig combines two nymphs and a streamer. With some minor leader adjustments and some outside-the-box thinking on tactics, you can kinda have it all . . .

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #16 — You don’t need big flies to catch big trout

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #16 — You don’t need big flies to catch big trout

I’ll get right to the point: Your best bet for catching trophy trout is with medium to small flies. More specifically, large nymphs or small streamers are the perfect size. 

I’ve written about making the choice between going for big fish or for a bunch of fish, arguing that you can’t have both. I’ve also pushed the point on these Troutbitten pages that catching big fish does not require fishing big flies.

Talking with my buddy, Matt Grobe, the other day, he summed it up like this: “Fishing large streamers is the most overrated thing out there for catching the big ones.” Nice. And this is coming from a guy who fishes the heart of Montana, around Bozeman and beyond, all year round.

All of this goes seems to go against currently prevailing wisdom, but it wasn’t always that way . . .

DIY – Bar Boots

DIY – Bar Boots

I burn through boot soles fast. And cheap boots with poor foot support are a bad idea when you're wading heavy runs and putting full days on the water with lots of hiking, so I was spending about $150 every ten months on a new pair of boots. I used to resole my own...

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A Better Streamer Box

A Better Streamer Box

After many years of carrying a select group of my favorite streamers in a fairly small box, I now find myself in an experimental phase with the big bugs again.  I'm generally in the camp that believes presentation is far more important than pattern, but trying new...

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The Backing Barrel

The Backing Barrel

A decade ago I learned about euro-nymphing, and I was impressed with the rig. I gradually made the switch from a Joe Humphreys nymphing style, worked my way through the short line tactics, then lengthened the leader and learned to fish at distance.  I believe...

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