Fly Fishing Techniques for Trout – how to improve your skills

The sound of the river splashing its way through the mountains on a beautiful spring morning, the sight of a trout rising in the distance and the sweet smell of that morning dew. These are all a part of this wonderful sport of fly fishing and something that we all get to look forward too as we gear up to hit the water early in the morning.

All the different flies stuffed neatly into our boxes unsure as to what they might want to eat today. Will they want drys, nymphs or perhaps the streamers. How deep will they be sitting will they be coming up to the surface. Will they want caddis or mayfly patterns maybe midges or stone flies, all the different options start to race through your head, and so the puzzle begins.

Fly fishing techniques for trout are an ever-changing thing, and can drastically change even throughout the day on the river, being prepared for whatever is going to happen is your best bet at staying successful on the river. In this article I will go over some of the many techniques we use on a daily basis on the water to keep the fish biting and the smiles going.

Casting and the importance of a good drift

One of the most important things for any angler hoping to get a few bites is there cast, being a guide I have taught many anglers over the years how to cast a rod and it’s probably one of the most important techniques in the sport of fly fishing to master. Having a solid over hand cast and a solid role cast are the fundamentals to staying successful on the water.

Spending some time to work on your accuracy and your distance will go along way when on the river. Being able to double haul in the parking lot, will get you know where tho if you don’t know how to perform a decent role cast when your tight against the bank and have a feeding trout up in front of you. Learning as many casting techniques as possible is a great idea and will improve you overall skills as an angler.

After your cast hits the water the mend and line management comes in to play which is another huge factor to getting that hungry trout to eat. I’ve always believed that a good drift will catch more fish than the right bug dragged through the water. For me it has always been about getting that perfect cast to a drag free drift, that has brought in the smartest of trout.

A solid mend, and a good drift is especially crucial when fishing to weary trout with drys. When fishing with nymphs or wet flies this provides a great time to learn how to perform a decent mend and drift to help improve your fly fishing techniques for trout.

Fly choices and matching the hatch

When approaching the water always be aware of the insect life that is around, this will help you tremendously to figuring out what the trout might be eating and will give you a leg up on hooking the first trout of the day. Generally the size of the fly is of great importance and I tend to try and match that first and than narrow in on the color and spieces.

A lot of times the fish well be feed on subsurface insect life, As this makes up almost seventy five percent of there diet so if there are no adults hatching in the air flipping a rock is a good method for figuring out what kinda insects the trout may be feeding on under the water. Again matching the size and color is always your best bet and than trying to match the specific bug, if that is not working

Some times of year the trout will be chasing smaller fish especially in still water situations so knowing the water and what particular bait fish are in it will help you to match your streamer color and increase your bites tremendously. Watching the banks and keeping a good eye out for all these things will help you become a more well-rounded angler and increase your fish to net ratio.

Leader length, & tippet size

When you first starting out casting a seven foot leader is ideal, it will help you to turn the fly over quicker and be more accurate with your cast. As you get better with casting you will find that a nine or ten foot leader will get you more hook ups and in some situations like still water and slow moving rivers a fifteen to twenty foot leader is what is needed for picky trout.

The water clarity also becomes a factor and that is where adding tippet becomes a completely new issue as well. Down sizing your tippet when water is clear will increase your hook ups but will also make the fight a little more difficult. If the water is dirty a thicker tippet size is perfectly except able and can help you to land fish faster and more effectively.

Leaders for nymphing is a whole different matter and I personally like to build them myself, having a smaller tippet size at the top will help to get your flies down quicker and more effectively to the trout. Building your own leader also allows for you to help set your depth more accurately and can help you get as deep as you need to the feeding trout.

Fighting the fish

One of the toughest fly fishing techniques for trout has to be fighting and landing, every angler out their has the story of the one that got away some anglers more than others. The main thing to remember is to keep solid pressure on the trout and keep control of his head without pulling to hard and breaking the line.

Changing angles and turning there head is a quick way to take them off there lateral line which tires them out at a much quicker pace. You can also stop them by adjusting your rod angle adjacent of there direction, this can help stop them from running into unwanted structures like banks logs and anything else that they can wrap around and loose the hook.

Staying below the trout on the river is another effective way to keeping good tension and keeping the fly pulling in the right direction. Any time a trout can get below you on the river you are essentially helping him to pull the fly out of his mouth so if you can keep your feet moving and stay down stream of them you’re going to see more fish hit the net.

One more major thing I have seen over the years is losing trout when they go air born, if the trout is a jumper and a lot of them are try and release tension while they are in the air. This is easier said the done but if you don’t release tension as the fish goes into the air your chance of them spiting the fly are very high.

Watching the river, not rushing, and observing

One of the biggest mistakes most anglers make is putting together a rig at the car rushing down to the water and start throwing at the first spot they see. Taking your time in the morning to walk down to the river and see what is going on, you might notice a hatch or a trout rise, the water may be dirty all of these clues can help you in setting up a proper rig.

When approaching the river, remember to walk slowly and approach with cover on your back, try not to stomp up the bank trout have great vision and will def see you, if you come up the bank aggressively, they will most likely see you and move away. Trout vision is made to determine predators and are likely to spoke if they see something coming in from above. Also, try not to wear bright clothing when you are fishing try and blend in to your surroundings and keep it stealth.

Taking a moment to observe the water and take a break can lead you to finding fish that you never knew were there, Once you have spotted a fish, this is when all the fun begins, make sure you take note of where he is feeding if you can what he is feeding on and approach the situation accordingly, switching your rig if need. Sight fishing is one of the most exciting types of fly fishing for me and something I am always looking for while on the river.

Learning from your mistakes

Every day on the river is a new chance to learn, most of the lessons are hard-earned and come in the form of mistakes made. Spooking the large trout you’ve been looking for all day, plopping down a bad cast in front of him, or snapping him off once you’ve hooked him, all are unfortunate situations but good chances to learn and grow as an angler.

Picking the right bugs is also something that can be a challenge, also running the right size tippet and leader, when fishing in clear water you may spook some fish and you may catch some but learning from these experience is what going to help you improve as an angler.

Just remember that all the fly fishing techniques for trout, are at your disposal and taking your time when on the water and picking the right one for the situation will help you to become a more experienced angler and have a better time on the water, if you have any question at all feel free to leave a comment on the page below and ill get back to you as soon as possible.

 

 

 

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6 Replies to “Fly Fishing Techniques for Trout – how to improve your skills”

  1. Curtis Henderson

    This whole article is very accurate. We go to Campfire Lodge outside of West Yellowstone Montana every year for a few weeks. Fly fishing the section of the Madison River just past the outlet of Hebgen Lake is always the best. My son is the fly fishing expert and ties his own flies. He has much better eyes than I do. We always watch the river and for the hatches every day, morning, night and evening.

    This post is awesome and brings back a lot of great memories. The only thing I don’t see is, you need to have a good pair of fishing glasses to block some glare and it even helps see ito the water even better.

    Thanks for this fun and very useful information.

    • Trent Jones

      Thanks Curtis for reading I’m glad you enjoyed, if you check out my article on fly fishing for beginners it goes over having polarized its a good read as well hope you check it out. Thanks again

  2. Tony

    Hi Trent, you are a real expert and a very experienced angler! Thank you for all these tips and pieces of advice on how to catch a trout!

    What do you think, how much time an inexperienced angler would need before seeing any decent results when going fishing?

    • Trent Jones

      Thanks Tony I’m glad you enjoyed the read, it really depends on where you are and the water around you to see results but after a few outings you should be able to bag your first couple trout. If you want give it a try let me know where your located and i can try and get you linked up with the best spots.

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