Last week I went over some nymph fishing tactics. Then I promptly struck out all weekend on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs Colorado. So my message for this week is that fly fishing is tough. I had some epiphany after my first few terrible casts resulting in some crazy hang-ups. I figured that the first year of fly fishing is learning to have fun with our sport. I am thinking the second year is about learning to be patient and persistent. Since the runoff I have not had very good luck with fishing this spring. No no… I am not giving up. I simply have to stop and look around and remember why I am out there. Fly fishing takes concentration, preparation and a lot of practice. By not fishing most of the spring I was doing tailing loops they were catching on my fly line to leader knot and ending in all sorts of chaos. Once I calmed down and remembered this was supposed to be fun that never happened again.
Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Now that a lot of the flows have settled down on our rivers and streams it is time to get back out there and start throwing some dries out there to rising Trout. If you are new to the sport you may be thinking all sorts of questions. These are probably the same questions that I had a year or so ago about what size, what type, where to go and other similar questions. If you are like me you do a lot more reading than casting for the first few months. This makes these types of questions swirl in your head, I can't provide the answers directly and you will see why below, but I can teach you where to look.
A lot of fly fisherman will tell you what the most important thing is in fly fishing. They will talk about reels, water flows, what color and so on. I, just like them have an opinion. My opinion is that the most important thing in fly fishing is selecting the size of the fly. Whether wet fly, dry fly, or anything other type, the size of a fly is probably the most distinguishable characteristic of all flies. Sure the color of a fly will make a fish turn away, but it is the size of the fly that even brings the fish close. So what size do you fish with? The answer as with most things in fly fishing is "It Depends". You need to take a moment when you get down to the river and take a look around. If there isn't a hatch currently going on it may not be obvious to you, otherwise take your hat off (you are wearing a hat right?) and try to catch one or two to get the general size and type of fly. Once this is done it is easy. So what if you don't see any flies? Well then my advice would be to throw a nymph or a wet fly first. You can determine the size of these by flipping over the nearest submerged rock and looking closely at the wiggly things. If there are no wiggly things then say screw it and head off to the bar. If I don't see any hatch going on or any obvious wiggly things under rocks, I will tie on a grass hopper imitation and then a nymph dropper. I know I keep saying this but one day I will go over multi fly rigs.
This is even tougher than the size. Most streams have pretty unique hatch patterns. Now regionally speaking you may have the same flies but so many things can affect the hatches on a day to day basis that it is impossible to say that most streams and rivers are the same. So the type of fly depends on what time of year it is, water temperature and water speed. The best advice I can give is to get to your local fly fishing shop and ask them if it is your first time they can give you a general idea of what hatches are currently happening and even what time of day they are most likely to happen. The other option is just to fish a lot and get to know your body of water, hell then you can go down to the shop and tell some poor guy what to sling.
I will be posting some next week on the topic of where to fish. Not like what rivers are the best, but where on the river is best. Until then good luck!