Articles With the Tag . . . fishing tips

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.

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.”

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

Long days on the water are best finished with some leisure time back at the truck. So as the guys trickled in, one by one after dusk, my waterlogged waders were already rolled up. I’d just broken the rod down and popped the top on a Troegs IPA when Smith walked through the fading light with his wading boots crunching over the gravel. I handed him a beer and asked the requisite questions: How many? And on what flies?

“Great day!” Smith said. “All nymphs and nothing up top. Mostly Beadhead Pheasant Tails. Fourteens and some sixteens. Silver beads were the best.”

“Nice,” I nodded. “For me it was stonefly nymphs. Copper bead. Took a couple on small trailers, but all the good fish ate the stones. Fun times!”

Smith agreed, and we clinked brown glass bottles. Then we leaned back on the tailgate and watched the darkening path, waiting for our friends to return from the water.

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.

“So much for matching the Sulfur hatch,” Smith chuckled . . .

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...

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...

You don’t have to match the hatch

You don’t have to match the hatch

Long days on the water are best finished with some leisure time back at the truck. So as the guys trickled in, one by one after dusk, my waterlogged waders were already rolled up. I’d just broken the rod down and popped the top on a Troegs IPA when Smith walked...

Pattern vs Presentation | Trout eat anything, but sometimes they eat another thing better

Pattern vs Presentation | Trout eat anything, but sometimes they eat another thing better

The other day I was listening to a podcast with Charlie Craven; I was dreaming of fishing while raking another giant pile of leaves in the backyard when something Charlie said caught my attention: “Trout are not very smart. They eat everything down there.”

It’s a point I’ve heard repeated time and again — that trout brains are small, and they eat sticks, leaves and rocks all the time. Ironically though, the next piece of the podcast interview rolled into what an excellent fly Charlie’s Two Bit Hooker is.

Does that duality make any sense? Sure it can. I think Charlie’s thoughts in the interview match what a lot of us think about fly selection — that trout will eat anything, but sometimes they eat another thing better.

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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.

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It’s a Suspender — Not Just an Indicator

It’s a Suspender — Not Just an Indicator

This August, 2016 Troutbitten article is retooled and revisited here. Bobber, cork, foam, yarn, dry fly. Those are my categories, but who cares? If you’ve been fly fishing and nymphing for a while, you’ve probably tried all of the above. You have your own categories...

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Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #7 — Choose lots of fish, or choose big fish — You can’t have both

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #7 — Choose lots of fish, or choose big fish — You can’t have both

I’ve often said that my best strategy for catching a big brown trout is to fool a bunch of trout, and one of them will be big. But I don’t believe that so completely anymore.

Let me say, right up front, that I have some friends who seem to accomplish high numbers and big fish in the same day all too often. My buddy, Matt Grobe, kinda tears it up out in Montana. But Matt’s always been a lucky bastard, so let’s just leave it at that.

In all honesty, Matt agrees with the premise that you can’t have both. I just checked. He said yes. So we have his blessing here to continue.

In the last five years I’ve shared the water with Burke a lot too, and I’ve learned some strategies about big fish fishing.

There are some truths, some guiding principles for targeting larger trout, and the list starts like this: #1: Stop trying to catch a bunch of fish . . .

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