I know many, many things have been written about becoming a better trout angler. I do feel compelled to write a few things on the topic because as a guide I see things that most anglers do on a regular basis. The fly fishing industry claims that the average angler nation wide fishes 10 days a year. If that’s even close to true, most anglers need to read more often so they can formulate sound plans for the few days they get to be on the water.
I have made a list of some of the top mistakes or misunderstanding I see from being a guide and that are easily corrected. This is not picking on anybody, I just want my readers to become better and in so catch a few more good fish. So here we go.
STUDY: If you cant be on the water, you can learn about your local fishing waters. There are so many online resources for rivers now a days it should not be hard to find something about your local fishing spot. Studying about you waters is not always about the fish. learning things like flow patterns, and insect hatches can be really helpful. Studying the history of the area can even lead to breakthroughs in locating fish. Point in case, while reading about the construction of the railroads along the Deschutes river, I learned that many places where they blasted the path way for the track sub-grade rock were shot into the river. These new placed forms of structure made lots of new habitat for the local redside trout, and places for myself and sports to find fish!!
OBSERVANT: One of the biggest on water mistakes or just misunderstanding is being observant… Or maybe just where and how to look. The Deschutes River is big water! Trying to look at the river in its entirety is hard to really see what happening, but start looking at the water around you. Fishing the water closest to you breaks the water down. don’t look where you can’t cast to watch closer, move slowly. You will be really surprised at what you have passed by in the past and the fish you will start catching that live in their own microcosms. The factor of becoming more observant to the things in the water around you, but really watching how the fish you are casting to behave. Noting the differences in the actions of some fish may help reveal what they are feeding on.
PATIENCE: With the first two points fitting in nicely with this one, it becomes a bit self explanatory. Remember you are on the fishes clock, they are not on yours. So if the weather of conditions dictate that trout fishing will be good between 8-11 am and again from 6-9 pm, be ready then. Fishing during hours that fishing is not very good wont help with ones time spent on the river. The other side of this coin is, once you have found a good trout and you want to get him it may take a bit of patience too. I have fished with lots of anglers and can tell you the angler that takes his time and stays calm can get most fish.
POSITION: Now that you have studied your fish and patiently watched and observed what the trout was eating, finding the best angle or place to cast from is the next step in a good battle plan and carries just as much importance as any other of the components of becoming a good trout angler. Some fish you find the answer will be straight forward, others will take some thought and this is where the chess match begins. On my waters the most common position is behind the fish. Trout have 270 degree field of view and one big blind spot, that’s right behind them. On most of the spring creeks I have fished from the best shots were quartering up to the fish from behind them. Some fish make that perfect situation unavailable. so them we have to be smart and take extra care to find the next best position.
ACCURACY: I know that most of us want more distance in our casts. I know that for sure as a distance caster. In 99.999% of all trout angling situations accuracy will be more sought after than distance. That said most flats fishing is about accuracy, maybe more from 40-70 feet. I believe that someone who practices 1 day a week on making accurate cast from 20-30 feet will improve their trout catch rate immensely. So get out in your yard, or the street, the local park, or even your local river and practice.
Just a heads up Spey Nation is in 2 weeks I still have a few openings in the Sunday class. If anyone is interested shoot me an email. I am excited to be there!! Cant wait to see you all again.