Posted by Timothy on 5/6/2014
What is amazing about fly fishing is that one learns something new every day. Perhaps you are just beginning in the adventure and we wanted to share some common wisdom we have accrued over time. The main thing in fishing in general, is to keep your senses open to your surroundings. There are certain clues and signs one picks up while gaining experience. The following are some observations we have accumulated and cultivated over time, specifically geared towards rivers, creeks, & streams.
Stream Line Foam
While fish can be found in shallow or deep waters, a saying we have here at The Trout Spot, is “fish the ledges, fish the edges, and fish the foam.” These three river or stream habitats have led to the best success for our team. Following the foam, will give you an idea of where the man current flow lines are. If the flow is moving foam, it is, generally speaking, moving food along as well. As cops and investors say “Follow the Money,” we advise to “Follow the Foam.” In addition, observe your fly in relation to the movement of foam. If it is slower or faster than the stream, you need to adjust the drag to the drift.
Work your fly and keep it dressed. If you catch or miss a fish, or if your fly, bumps off rocks or becomes in contact with flotsam and jetsam make sure that the wings are still in good position and/or the hackle is not damaged. Dry off your fly. We recommend our C&F Design Rubycell Fly Dryer. We recommend its usage after each hit, miss or contact with surface debris.
Careful with the floatant. You do not need tons of it on the fly. Whether you are using gels, powder or a paste, just a dab between the thumb and finger is necessary. Too much floatant may keep the fly from surfing properly on the surface. Always keep in mind that the floatant is to be applied to the bottom of the fly, not to the wings for ideally they are above the surface. At the Trout Spot, we have a number of floatants in our inventory, our team tends to prefer Loon Outdoors Lochsa Floatant.
Casting and Drift
To use a metaphor from golfing: Drive for show, but putt for dough. When practicing work on short range casts. Short-distance casting is not stressed by many instructors even though we catch most of the fish - 20 – 30 feet away. If you think about it, deducting 8-9 feet of rod length, our catches may only be from casting 12 feet of line and leader. While it feels wonderful to make that awesome cast of 50-60 feet, we must remember that rarely do we hook a fish this way –we are not trolling or long-lining. In addition, we may overcast fish. Long casts may develop problems with drag and end up with way too much slack. MEMORIZE: Lines Tight or Tight Lines --an old fly fishing anecdote to live and fish by. A common tactic is to keep making shorter casts as you are moving up the river, instead of one long cast. Because of line management problems, don’t be obsessed with the drift. Keep your drift to about 6-8 feet in length claiming your territory and boundaries. Use short drifts, while moving upstream, and continue the process again.
Work the Parameters of your Cross-Section
While observing your casting range, spot out potential areas and be courageous in casting to them. There will be rocks, pools, stream lines of foam, deeper areas as you make your trek, yet don’t re-cast if you don’t exactly hit the spot. The approach should be meditative – Zen – like, be calm, patient and systematic in your approach. Strive not to cast to a rise –that is put your fly in a position 2-3 feet upstream from where you think fish may be.
Where you place yourself is relevant to the flow of the stream and your “survey” of possible fish locations. If there are few differences in the currents across the streams use – across and down – as a tactic. There will be minimal problems in drag, if employed. If the stream is turbulent – this technique probably won’t be effective without encountering a number of drag, line or fly problems. Strive to position yourself to cast from below and just to the side of where you expect the rise. A general rule of thumb is 22 degrees from the fish or location based on the quadrant you are in. Since a fish’s (trout) field of vision is a bit less than 320 degrees, you will be casting from the blind spot. In addition, this placement of yourself will reduce potential issues of conflicting currents, drift and drag.