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Streamer Fishing Myth vs Truth — Eats and Misses

Over time, over endless conversation, cases of craft beer and thoughtful theories, we came to understand that our hook sets were rarely at fault. No, we set fast and hard. We were good anglers, with crisp, attentive sets. The high percentage of misses were really the trout’s decision. We summarized it this way: Sometimes a trout misses the fly. Sometimes a trout refuses the fly. And sometimes a trout attempts to stun the fly before eating it . . .

Acquire Your Target Before the Pickup

Accuracy. It’s an elementary casting principle, but it’s the hardest thing to deliver. Wild trout are unforgiving. So the errant cast that lands ten inches to the right of a shade line passes without interest. As river anglers, our task is a complicated one, because we must be accurate not only with the fly to the target, but also with the tippet. Wherever the leader lands, the fly follows. Accuracy holds a complexity that is not for the faint of heart. But here’s one tip that guarantees immediate improvement right away.

Quick Tips — When to Fish Just One Nymph

John and I always keep count. He’s the only fishing friend who can pull me into such a race. And I’m not sure why.

Like all fishermen do at some point, I used to keep count of my catch. I even roughly calculated my catch rate at the end of the day, like this:

“Let’s see, I fished for five hours, but I took a twenty minute break around lunch. Walk in time was fifteen minutes, so subtract that too. I caught twenty-six trout, but I COULD have caught those couple of trout that came unbuttoned if I was more careful, so let’s add those in and say thirty. Multiply, divide and there’s my catch rate.”

That sounds like fishermen’s math, right?

But I don’t count much anymore. And I don’t like to compete against anything but the river and the trout. I don’t mind losing to the river on occasion, either. Because loss is a wonderful teacher.

But John baits me back into counting every time we fish together. And there’s no fuzzy catch-rate-math involved — just straight up fish counting.

Streamer Presentations — The Deadly Slow-Slide

The best thing about fishing streamers is how different it is from everything else we do on a fly rod. Precision dead drifts? Delicate casting and thin tippets? Forget that. Slinging the big bugs is the antithesis against what the rest of fly fishing is all about. Or at least, it can be.

Everything works sometimes. We can present a streamer at almost any angle or speed and have a fair expectation to fool a trout. This makes sense because streamers imitate baitfish, creatures with an ability to move — to dart, dive and swim through the water. And they often do so unpredictably, just like our streamers.

But there’s a particular presentation that I’ve come to rely on more than any other, lately. It mimics a more available food form for trout, but it’s not a dead drift. The line and rod hand adjustments are subtle, but the presentation is active. It’s a bank or structure approach; it gets the trout’s attention. And it’s deadly.

I call it the slow-slide . . .

VIDEO: The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything

Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of Troutbitten videos, in collaboration with Wilds Media. The journey begins with a video adaptation of, “The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything.” This story has been a Troutbitten favorite since it was published in the spring of 2019. . . . The river gives you what you need. The river gives you what you earn.

The Secret

There are two kinds of secret places, I suppose: one’s that are truly tucked away somewhere unknown, and ones that lies right underneath a fisherman’s nose. This place harbors a little of both . . .

Riverside

Smith and I hopped the guardrail as traffic whizzed by at sixty miles an hour. Smith went first, with his rod tip trailing behind, and he sliced through the brush like a hunter. I followed with probably too much gear for a three hour trip and a puppy in my arms. River is our family’s eleven week old Australian Shepherd, and with a name like that, he has no choice but to become a great fishing dog. Time on the water will do it . . .

Be the Heron

We can learn much about wading a river for trout by observing the heron. Take time to watch these compelling predators — these master hunters of the river. Because the lessons of incomparable stealth are unforgettable once you’ve seen them . . .

Fish Hard Sticker

$5.00

The Troutbitten mantra is to fish hard and have fun doing it. Have a reason you are walking into the water, and get after it.

At some point in time, every angler returns home after a slow day of fishing and says, “Hey, it was nice just to be out there.”

Sure it was. But the novelty of just being out there lasts only a short time. Without the goal of catching trout, none of us would find ourselves walking a water-filled path upstream very often. Catching trout is what brings us back time and again. So fish hard. And have fun learning whatever is next.

— — —

  • Sticker is 4X5 inches
  • Printed with a UV and weather resistant finish
  • When mounted as a window decal on your vehicle, a Troutbitten sticker serves as inspiration to go fishing instead of running errands, every time you get in the car.

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #12 — Use a versatile and general fly rod

Specialized rods are exactly that — special rods for particular circumstances. Such rods make sense when I’m in a boat, where I can easily switch from one rod to another, or if I’m planning a short one-hour trip where I’ll fish only one tactic. However, my day to day...

The Walkout

The bank at the outside bend had briers and stiff brush at its border, and it took some time to poke my rod and leader through the maze. Tippet, forceps, nippers and more dangled from my vest and reached for the nearest branch, so I hugged them close to my chest,...

Streamers as an Easy Meal — The Old School Streamer Thing

So far this winter my nymphing game has been a little off — the numbers aren’t there. Maybe it’s me and maybe it’s the fish, but either way, my best efforts to recreate what I’ve gotten used to in the winter haven’t produced. So on many days, after receiving the...

Resources for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

[There’s no doubt we are in the golden age of information — for fly fishing too. Never before has it been so easy to open a browser and click a couple links to learn where the trout are and how to catch more of them. A third of what I know about fishing came from...

Modern Nymphing, the Mono Rig, and Euro Nymphing

Devin Olsen and Lance Egan recently released their video, Modern Nymphing. And it’s good. In fact, it’s the best video on long leader tactics that I’ve seen. It’s beautifully filmed, and it’s an excellent resource for those looking for an introduction to long leader...

The Rocket School Of Carpin’ | When it’s too hot for trout

** This post is from contributing author, Chris Kehres. ** Editor's Notes Trout fishing the long summer months means deeply shortened hours and far fewer opportunities. Finding cold enough water can be tough, and a stream thermometer becomes the most valuable tool in...

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