We drove along the Provo River looking for a good spot to stop and fish. From the passenger seat I caught glimpses of the water over the guard rail between the curves in the highway.
Tactics and Techniques
When I first started fishing to the middle of the water column, it was typically to trout eating just below the surface. The hopper dropper (or dry dropper) was my primary tactic. But the more I fished, the more I saw opportunities to fish the middle of the water column that were not best suited for the dry dropper technique.
Getting your flies down is a requirement if you want to catch trout while nymphing. It’s just the way it is. I cringe when I think of all the hours I’ve spent with flies in the water and very little chance of catching trout because I didn't understand this concept. This article is an attempt to spare you some of those wasted hours, and perhaps introduce some new techniques.
Spotting fish is easy, until it’s not. We all know what a fish looks like and when it’s obvious, sight fishing moves along nicely. But mother nature has a tendency to make things tough. There’s a reason these trout are so beautiful. They blend in with their surroundings, and we all know “trout don’t live in ugly places.” Rocks and stones along river bottoms combined with debris, vegetation, or branches do a good job of fooling us and helping trout. There are lots of things we can do to help us spot fish and tell the difference but only a few ways to know for sure. How can we be certain what we are looking at is not a rock? There are only two guarantees. Catch it or spook it. Even though catching fish is the goal, both will improve your sight fishing game over time. Here’s how…
We oversimplify the pursuit of trout when we think changing flies will result in more fish caught. Surely fly fishing can be a simple endeavor if we let it be. Carry a fly rod and some flies to the river. Wade through its currents and cast flies to where the trout swim below. Wade and cast. Wade and cast. If the fish do not reward you, the overutilized solution is often to change flies and continue on.
Getting to know the river is important for finding your own spots that you know will produce fish. Even if it is a short stop at the stream, every little bit of time on the water counts. If you are fortunate enough to live close to a trout stream, but short on time, stopping to wet a line even for fifteen to thirty minutes can add up and help build experience.
“Hey! Keep it tactical Shady.” And a smile. I miss it dearly. Talking tactics is one of life’s great joys. I learned this from years in a fighter squadron but looking back I understand why talking tactics was so special. I realize that while the endeavors and communities are different, the men and women who move through them seek similar goals. Progress. Knowledge. The betterment of the whole. And, yes, a touch of competitive spirit that pulls us forward and requires our best. Engaging these “tacticians” in the fly fishing community and sharing those experiences has become one of the great joys of my journey with Wadeoutthere. Talking tactics with dedicated fly fishing men and women who passionately share their knowledge and listen for those ideas they know will move them forward. People like Domenick from Troutbitten.
The first time I fished Mammoth Creek, I drove past them. The fences were weathered grey and white cedar bleached by the sun. Faded and torn, the old coral melded into the tall grass along the river. Part of the landscape. I noticed them just before the gravel road took me up a small hill behind wide oak trees that reached over and made a tunnel for my small white truck. I drove on until I knew that those worn posts had been the landmark. “The Corals”. Then I travelled further through the beams of light that penetrated the trees and strobed off the white gravel until I found a spot where I could make a three point turn and drive back through my dust cloud towards The Corals and access to the river.