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Techniques

How to Prevent Trout From Seeing You

How do you avoid alerting fish to your presence?  Here are five strategies I use to help prevent fish from seeing me and perceiving me as a threat. Fish a Longer Rod One way to avoid showing yourself to fish in clear water is to fish from a greater distance. A lot of the nymph fishing I do is based on Euro-nymphing methods. These techniques are inherently...

Making Do with the Wrong Fly Rod

If you’re like me, you own too many fly rods — but you want and need even more. I haven’t taken a formal census of my fly rods — that would take too much time away from actually fishing — but I own a lot of them. I’ve recently embraced trout spey AND Euro nymphing, so I’ve got some new rods in serious rotation. But I still use old-school...

Bigs, Smalls, Spots: Fly Fishing for Three Kinds of Bass

The 6-weight labors a bit, but with two false casts the heavy-headed line shoots forward, plopping the big blue popper about seven feet beyond a twig poking through the water’s surface. I wait for the ripples to settle then try to impart the spirit of a cicada with a series of short, soft strips. The popper gently gurgles in a straight line until it...

Smaller and Quieter Can Be Better, Part III: Largemouth Bass

Size 12 at least leans towards large for a trout fly, but compared with a palm-filling hair bug for largemouth or smallmouth bass, it’s a runt. Just as a whopping pound-and-a-half bluegill’s a runt alongside an average steelhead of, say, eight pounds. Fly size, like fish size, is always relative. On average, highly relative. Nonetheless, on...

Walking on Water

It has been said that fly fishing is much like problem-solving: basically, the fish are feeding, and you can’t catch them, so here’s a problem needing a solution, ideally a quick one. Depending on where you’re at with your fishing, and the nature of the game itself, there are many variations on this theme – flies, techniques and strategies ...

Smaller and Quieter Can Be Better, Part I: Trout Streams and Hatches

I’ve noticed a theme among new and once-in-a-while fly fishers: they worry that trout can’t find their fly. It’s a logical concern—in your average stream there’s typically a lot of water out there per fish. But as it turns out, it’s often an unreasonable concern—trout’s lives are simple and, so, free of human distractions (careers, taxes...

The Imaginary Line

The simple details are what make you a better angler. One of my biggest learning moments in fly fishing was when I discovered the imaginary line. It was on the South Platte River in one of the prettiest sections of Colorado, Eleven Mile Canyon, in the summer of 1998. This setting at the base of towering round granite rock walls is a trout hunter’s...

"The Thoughtful Robot"

How efficient is Michigan guide and tier Russ Maddin? Pretty darn efficient. Ask to see his fly box and he'll dangle a ziploc with three flies inside. Ask to drop anchor and he'll shake his head no, since anchoring rewards bad, inefficient casting. And his favorite streamer sticks? Looking to trim all unnecessary weight, Russ throws a 7'6" nine-weight with...

Reading the Water

SOME WATER that is easily fished during a hatch is tough to blind-fish with consistent success. Stream reading is a vital skill for prospecting, but you should approach a day of fishing with the philosophy that not all places in a stream hold trout, and others that may hold trout cannot be blind-fished easily. When you cast to rising fish, you know exactly...