Tactics and Techniques

“I Bet There’s a Trout in There.”

“I bet there’s a trout in there.”  If you have ever uttered these words, odds are you were right.  At the same time, if it looks too hard to reach, it probably is.  I say there is a middle ground, and you might just surprise yourself.  If the spot is truly challenging, chances are you are the only one to go for it.  That can be a big advantage in more ways than one.

There are endless tips and advice that beginner fly fishermen and women receive about methods to bring more trout to hand.  Here is a piece of advice that requires no skill, no special knowledge, no practice.  It requires only persistence and determination.

When you know that trout are there, and it looks like no one else would make the effort to fish there, GO FISH THERE.

Finding a spot on the river that looks fishy, but it is hard to reach is an opportunity to improve.  And I mean really difficult.  Perhaps you must wade through chest high water and roll cast under a grassy ledge.  Maybe it requires climbing over boulders and sliding down to a bank where you can put your fly into a dark pool.  You may have to push through tall willows and thick forest to fish a stretch of river where fish are rising just out of reach below low hanging branches you know will snag at least some of your flies. 

If you embrace the tough spots on the river, a few things happen. 

First, you have fun! 

Second, you build confidence. Moving around the river creates familiarity with maneuvering the unpredictable currents, rocks, and vegetation all rivers present.  This translates into confidence. 

Third, you may just catch a fish.  Chances are no one else has put in the work, or at least only a few.  If there is less fishing pressure, your odds of hooking up increase.   

Finally, you push yourself a little past your comfort zone.  This cannot help but make you a better fly fisherman.  It forces you to be creative and develop problem solving tools that will work in other less demanding scenarios.

As you learn to read a river, there will be places that you might shy away from.  Don’t. 

Challenging yourself in fly fishing makes you better.  This is true regardless of your experience.  Complacency is the enemy of progress. 

Even if you do not catch a fish, you will improve.  Soon there will be very few places that you will pass up, and that, my friends, is a wonderful and liberating feeling.   

As you gain experience you can balance the risk and reward of the time spent fishing with what trout you might end up catching.  You do not want to waste a disproportionate amount of time trying to meet every challenge you wade up to.  Of course, you want to be safe as well as you push yourself.  In the beginning though, look at those challenging places on the river as opportunities to learn and Wadeoutthere.


Jason Shemchuk

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