View Full Version : Lessons Learned

06-25-2007, 09:38 AM
Hello All,

I've been reading this board for several years, but seldom post. Why? Not sure. Anyway, I had a great experience with a less-accomplished friend than I high in the backcountry over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed sharing some of my tools and technique with him to lead him to one of the most successful days he's ever had (27 in 5 hours fishing). As I helped him learn what it takes to fish these streams, I lamented on my lack of sharing with the board I get so much from. So, here's a few of the pointers I gave him:

1. Fly selection. It's VERY important to have a fly on that will allow you to catch fish. I've found that, when you get very far away from the crowds, the fish don't care what's floating overhead, as long as it somewhat resembles food. BUT, your fly MUST: float well, hold up to many dunkings and removal from mouths, and be visible. Two that work well for me are Thunderheads and Humpies. The thunderheads are more visible, but don't float as well. They hold up better to the fishes than humpies, but don't hold up as well to the dunkings. Also, the humpies have better cohesion to the water surface, allowing your leader to try to impart more drag on the fly without success. That is to say, the fly sticks on the surface and is less prone to dragging.

2. Stealth. Drab colors, slow movements, using cover, using moving water, etc. All this to allow yourself to get into position to fish the desired water without spooking the fish.

3. Reading the water. Learn where fishes lie. Rainbows = moving water with some form of protection from above (deeper water, structure, or just a broken surface). Brookies = almost anywhere, but like a little structure close by. Browns = slower water, but with a steady stream of food coming by within reach. I catch a lot of browns at the head of plunge pools in the eddies or just behind a rock mid-stream.

4. Getting into position. Stealthily get yourself into a position where you can land a fly gently into the selected position(s) and get a good drift. Position yourself (or just the tip of your rod really) just above (vertically) the current you're working so your entire line experiences the same velocity on the water. Get just below the tail-out of the pool so you can use the riffle to mask your presence. Etc., etc., etc.

5. Put your fly on target and get a drag-free drift. Practice is the way to learn to position your fly. Also, practice will help with your drifts, but using a proper leader helps a lot. I like a very stiff one made of Maxima Chameleon so I can control my line all the way to the last 2 1/2 feet before the fly (tippet). The stiff leader allows me to do that. I use an 8-foot rod which also allows better line control. I use a supple tippet and don't try to control that last 2 1/2 feet. I let the current "have" that part. Pay attention to the current between you and the fly and first position your line (cast) so that you'll get the best drift. Mend while it's still in the air. Mend as it hits the water. As soon as your fly starts to drag, pick it up and cast again to avoid the dunking which will make your fly less float-worthy as the day passes.

Well, there you have it. My (very long) list of tips for the day. I hope I've contributed something to the board after taking much from it over the years.