While the notion that most trout feed below the surface most of the time, dry fly fishing is still a favorite of many. The surface commotion and hit from the trout is exhilarating and immensely memorable. Presenting an imitation of an adult insect which has matured and floating on top of the water is what dry fly fishing is all about. While many will avoid dry fly fishing by using deeper water nymphs in order to catch more trout, the exciting rewards of dry fly fishing are without parallel in pursuit of trout. These tips suggested below will likely increase your productivity and help catch more trout on dry flies.
Read the water: Take the time to survey the river, stream or creek scene and habitat. Many beginners will walk up anywhere and cast without reading the trout lies or hangouts of where they will actually feed or camp in for security. Use your polarized sunglasses, they will help in finding areas to cast to: you may even spot trout or perceive shadows in those areas which have rocks, pools, or foam floats by or to. Moving shadows may be feeding trout. But also check out the surface for ripples –these could be indications of feeding trout, spooked fish, or smaller fish being eaten. If you are truly observant, as well as lucky, you will observe trout feeding on the surface.
Use as long a leader as you can: In the conditions when trout will feed on the surface they will obviously be looking up for their meals. The trout will see a fly line too close to a leader and not hit. Ensure that you have on as long a leader as you are comfortable with to prevent spooking trout unnecessarily. A general rule of thumb with dry fly fishing is about 8-9 feet of leader or more if possible depending on your experience. Of course, longer leader is more difficult to maneuver and control. As in all things: Practice!
Match the hatch: In addition to surveying the river for trout lies, identify what sort of bugs are flying around. One may even shake a bush or two which are adjacent to the water to see what flies off. While matching colors is effective in the choice of flies resembling the natural habitat, size of the fly is of extreme importance. Large flies will spook trout because they appear un-natural, even though of the right color. Close color in relation to the indigenous bugs, but the right size will be more effective.
Cast upstream: As mentioned earlier, trout will not hit if they see your fly line, so approach trout lies with stealth – moving and casting upstream. You do not want to be seen either –is the Sun behind your back? Take notice of your shadow, one certainly does not want it ahead of you, or reaching out to casting areas. By casting your dry fly upstream, any trout you are trying to catch are faced away from your approach waiting for bait coming downstream. So cast beyond the upstream trout lie. In addition, when the fly is moving downstream, keep the line tight by stripping in the loose areas –this way you can effectively set the hook. Keep lines taut.
Limit false casting: Limit your false casting to just drying the fly off. If you are having problems with accuracy, move closer to a trout lie with stealth, and make shorter casts, instead of using false casting to build up momentum.