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Experts

Big Dry, Little Dry: Making the Set

Question: “When a trout takes a large, say size 8, dry fly, do you set the hook that same as you’d set it for a much smaller size, say 20 or 22, dry fly?” - Will J Answer: Before I address you and your fine question, Will (and I mean “fine” in both the sense of “excellent,” and the sense of “discriminate” as in “a fine distinction”)...

Finding Beauty in an Ugly Trout

I’ve been lucky enough to hook and land some big trout this year, and I usually give myself 30 seconds or so to take a couple photos of the recovering fish in shallow water. During those moments — that trout is about to rocket away — the fish always looks gorgeous to me. Later, when I’ve gotten home and download the photos, I sometimes notice that...

The Magic Half-Inch

The Half-Inch Zone One of the great — and maddening — things about fly fishing is that the solution for almost every angling problem is right out there, hiding in plain sight. Trout make me crazy all the time. Sometimes they’re rising, and I can’t find the right fly. Sometimes they ignore what I think is the right fly. Sometimes they ignore...

"Should I Move or Stay Put?"

Question: When you’re fishing a pool, pocket, or riffle, how many unproductive casts should you make before you decide to move on to the next spot? And if you catch a fish in one place, should you assume that it has spooked the other fish in the area and move on? —Mort S. If deciding whether to abandon a chunk of water or stay and keep working it...

Fooling Trout, From Yellowstone to Oregon

Each fall, I spend about three weeks in Yellowstone National Park chasing the big runner brown and rainbow trout that swim up the Madison River from Hebgen Lake. I fish other spots in Yellowstone as well, especially the Firehole River’s afternoon Blue Wing Olive mayfly hatch. I’ll spend the morning chasing those big browns on the Madison, and, by lunch...

Ask the Expert: Dry Fly Fishing on Lakes

Question: I fish for trout sometimes in lakes by trolling with a sinking line. When fly fishers talk about lakes it’s always about trolling or fishing a chironomid down deep with a strike indicator—is there ever any dry fly fishing for trout in lakes? - Irene L. Answer: Yes, Irene, there absolutely is dry-fly fishing on trout lakes. On the whole, I...

How to Fish High Mountain Creek Pools

Question: I fly fish steep-gradient creeks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in California. Many of these streams are not fishable except in the pools averaging four to seven feet deep. What is the best method to fish this type of water? And would one fish nymphs or streamers in such pools? —Dave B Answer: Best method? I’ll get to that. Let’s start with...

Flies New and Old and Others In Between

Question: It seems between print and online magazines, vendor sites, fishing blogs, and YouTube there are new trout flies coming out all the time—but do I really need to be always adding new patterns? — Walt B Answer: Yes, of course you do, Walt. Since the first fly was tied and named, trout have been continuously and rapidly evolving. Today’s brown...

Getting Soft Hackled

Just about every trout stream on the planet has massive caddis hatches on summer evenings, and it’s great to see fish rising as the sun falls. Yet, catching those rising fish is often kind of tough. For years, I would wait for rising trout — and then tie on a good dry fly, such as an X-Caddis or an Elk Hair Caddis. Those great flies often floated...

"Getting Your Expert On" - The School of Trout

There are two main categories of trout fishermen. First, there are the anglers who enjoy spending time on the water in the company of family and friends, and who fish well enough to catch the occasional trout on a fly. When these folks have the financial wherewithal to hire a guide, they’re happy to follow that guide’s instructions to the letter. It’s...