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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Id like to think Im fairly compentent at doing this(when it comes to hardware) but I realized today that even with all the reading and videos Ive seen or read, Im fairly clueless when fly fishing. What I mean is, should I be downstream and throwing dries above the rapids to let it drift into the rapids and let just float out into the pool? Should I be upstream and do the same thing, angle across? Stick to floating dries on the "pools"? As I do with spinners, should you bring it through the meat of the run and then try to get it to the "edge" of the run so that it sometimes comes back into the back eddie right where they like to lay? I know I asked alot of questions, but any "local" advice I can get I think would help immensely.


I went out today and got frustrated with it and ended up chuncking hardwared to catch a few....
 

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Sorry for the long response, but that was a loaded question. :wink:

Reading the water is the same if you are fishing with spinners or fishing with the flies. The fish are in the same spots. So don't make it any more difficult than it already is. The answer to your questions is mainly yes. Fish are all over in a river. Most people make the mistake of fishing just their 'honey' holes. You will be surprised by what you can catch in a small riffle, or along the banks inbetween the 'honey' holes. Fish the entire river.

As far as casting goes, when using a dry fly I rarely cast straight upstream. I have a hard time mending my line. I would rather drag the fly in the water down stream. I also think if you cast over a hole, riffle or run with your fly line, you scare the fish, especially on waters that are fished heavily. I prefer to stand on the bank, or slightly in the water by the banks and cast slightly upstream and across the water and let it float down the river. You have to mend your line and not let your fly drag when using a dry fly. A drag free dry fly will catch more fish. (Sometimes dragging them across the surface will catch fish too though.)

Reading the water is more than just knowing where the fish are when it comes to fly fishing. It also requires you to know what fly to use by reading what bugs are hatching or whats in the water.

What fly works one day, may not work the next. This is what I love about fly fishing, it changes every time you go out. This is where experience comes into to play. You need to become proficient on what bugs are what. You can have the prettiest cast in the world and run that line perfectly, but if you don't have what the fish want, you wont be catching many fish, at least when it comes to dry flies. Streamers, wetflies, nymphs and attractor patterns can work anytime. If there is a hatch though, dry flies can be deadly. Don't fish a hatch that doesn't exist. If the fish aren't rising, change your tactics or fly until you get it dialed in.

If you can't figure out what the fish are biting you can use a seine to catch the insects off the water surface. You can also submerge it and kick up dirt and rocks with your feet and let the seine catch bugs that are on the bottom.

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templ ... id=0004934

There are also hatch charts that give you a pretty good idea of what insects you can expect to find in any given month on a particular water. They are guides though and usually only have the main hatches. They are usually right on, but don't be surprised if you see something unexpected.

http://www.utahonthefly.com/entomology/charts/index.htm

You can also pump a fishes stomach once you catch one. This is a sure fire way to find out what the fish are eating, but catching that first fish can be tough. For you, you could catch one with a spinner then pump the stomach to see what bugs are there.

**Please be very careful doing this. It takes practice and you can easily hurt the fish if you force the pump down. Be very, very, very gentle and try to be quick at the same time. I usually do this with the fish in my net and in the water so I can reduce the time it is out of the water. Some people discourage this because the fish can be hurt easily, and they are right. Below is a nice article on how to do it.

http://www.flyanglersonline.com/ldy/ldy9798.html

I hope this wall of text helps and answers some of your questions.

I know this is short notice, but I have the day off tomorrow and will be going fishing. You are more than welcome to tag along if you want to.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome post, some great info. I figured that my original post might be a little much, as I sat there and tried to answer my own questions.

I would love to try to make it one of these times with someone more accomplished than myself, even if just to watch. I got to work tomorrow and busy on Tues and Wed evenings through out the fall/winter/spring. I would love to head out another time if your willing. Thanks
 

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waltny said:
Awesome post, some great info. I figured that my original post might be a little much, as I sat there and tried to answer my own questions.

I would love to try to make it one of these times with someone more accomplished than myself, even if just to watch. I got to work tomorrow and busy on Tues and Wed evenings through out the fall/winter/spring. I would love to head out another time if your willing. Thanks
I wouldn't really call myself accomplished. It wasn't too long ago that I was exactly in your shoes.

I will be going out Friday as well. I don't have the whole day off, but I will probably go out in the afternoon and evening. Let me know.
 

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Good stuff! If I can add my two cents in, when you find a spot that you know holds fish and you can't get them try different flies until you pick them up. Carry a screen and do the san juan shuffle before you get started that way you can see the color and size of the naturals and try to go one size bigger or smaller seems to work for me. You will have your own set of "go to" flies that you feel like you can catch fish on any river and you will fish them with more confidence as well. Make sure you are getting a good drift with no drag that also makes a HUGE difference. Good luck hope you guys had fun on friday, I am expecting a report!
 

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rnf said some great stuff the only things i want to add is casting directly upstream doesnt scare the fish if you cast properly, and dont slap your fly down. attractors work great with a nymph dropper. even if they aren't rising they usually come up for an attractor, even on the lp.

reading the river can be very difficult depending on the type of river. for small streams (pocket water) i like to hide behind a bush and cast at the head of a pool and let it drift freely all the way down, or i wade up river fishing the pools from beneath casting up. these fish aren't picy and will take about anything.

for larger streams like the logan, provo, and im assuming green, fish everywhere. when i first fished the logan i fished the pools, then i moved onto runs (these hold the most and biggest fish in my opinion), then went to undercut banks, onto riffles, then to deadfall(for me this depends on the situation whether or not it has a lot of fish holding their). i caught tons of fish everywhere. now it takes me a few hours to go about 1/4 of a mile. also any place where two of these things converge (seems) will most likely hold fish.
 

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chuckmiester said:
casting directly upstream doesnt scare the fish if you cast properly, and dont slap your fly down. attractors work great with a nymph dropper. even if they aren't rising they usually come up for an attractor, even on the lp.
You are correct, one reason I don't cast upstream too much, is that my casting skills need some work. The way things are now for me is that I don't have as much success casting upstream. That's just me though. Take what I say with a grain of salt and try different things to see what works for you.

I prefer to get up ahead of a hole and swing a fly down into it, vs. casting up to a hole.
 

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yeah it does take some practice getting your casting down. im still working on it but i figure i have a better chance than downstream because i fish quicker water, but for slower water downstream is probably easier.

rnf that was the only thing i found differently in my experience from your post. you know a lot and im glad you share your knowledge to people on this board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
RnF said:
waltny said:
Awesome post, some great info. I figured that my original post might be a little much, as I sat there and tried to answer my own questions.

I would love to try to make it one of these times with someone more accomplished than myself, even if just to watch. I got to work tomorrow and busy on Tues and Wed evenings through out the fall/winter/spring. I would love to head out another time if your willing. Thanks
I wouldn't really call myself accomplished. It wasn't too long ago that I was exactly in your shoes.

I will be going out Friday as well. I don't have the whole day off, but I will probably go out in the afternoon and evening. Let me know.
Ill be in contact with you via pm or email. I should be able to sneak off for a bit on Friday afterwork, have any idea where you might be headed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Also its good to see some open dialog being passed back and forth here on ideas. Always good to have different points of view as nothing is absolute.
 

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Reading Water: see step 37 out of 1500 steps in your fly fishing manual.

Good info posted already.

Reading water is easy when it comes to fishing a hatch where the fish are rising, you know right where the fish are! Keep a mental note of what type of water those fish are feeding in. When there is no hatch and you're using attractors and terrestrials you'll want to hit those same areas.

My advice is to focus on reading water for nymphing. There are hundreds of places the fish could be waiting for a bite to eat. Stick with the logical places and explore them top to bottom, left to right, forward and backwards, and back again. You'll get the hang of it the more you do it and make an effort to remember for next time.

Don't make it more difficult than you can handle. Take it one riffle at a time, it'll come, just enjoy it.
 

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icthys said:
Reading Water: see step 37 out of 1500 steps in your fly fishing manual.

Good info posted already.

Reading water is easy when it comes to fishing a hatch where the fish are rising, you know right where the fish are! Keep a mental note of what type of water those fish are feeding in. When there is no hatch and you're using attractors and terrestrials you'll want to hit those same areas.

My advice is to focus on reading water for nymphing. There are hundreds of places the fish could be waiting for a bite to eat. Stick with the logical places and explore them top to bottom, left to right, forward and backwards, and back again. You'll get the hang of it the more you do it and make an effort to remember for next time.

Don't make it more difficult than you can handle. Take it one riffle at a time, it'll come, just enjoy it.
Amen! "reading the river" in terms of knowing where the fish are going to be and be feeding is more improtant nymphing when you cannot SEE where the fish are. I would only add that "reading the River" changes with the time of day and the time of year. A good rule of thumb is to "fish the seam", that area between where the most food is drifting down the river in the current but where the fish spend more energy to stay there then they get in food and where the fish spend very little energy but there is no food (calm water). But this changes. In the heat of the day and summer look more to the grassy banks where fish can excape the heat and find terrestrials falling into the water and in deep pools or durring the spawn when fish will be in the shallow flats and ripples but not in the deep holes. The fun and challange of fly fishing streams is that you never stop learning.
 

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Great input here! - I just want to ad a few things...I used to struggle with some of these same issues- some things that helped me were:
- look for fish, use those polarized glasses and stare at the water at each run or pool, look for rises, and assume every disturbance on the waters surface is a fish- I think you should spend almost as long looking at a given section of stream as you do fishing it...
- stay out of the water as much as you can- stand behind bushes and rocks whenever possible, stay low, get on your knees if necessary...
-Cast to the banks first, before anywhere else within casting distance- that's where the big guys (often) are, then drop a couple of casts to all of the water that DOESN'T look likely to hold fish( really - you'll be in for a few surprises!..), then to likely water( seams, pools, eddies...), then, finally, to fish you CAN see...
-Regarding casting upstream, some time ago I decided that my cast was good enough( if not great...), but that I was spooking and miscasting - especially upstream, because I hadn't "dialed in" my gear... I use longer leaders and longer and finer tippets for upstream fishing, and I recommend the "George Harvey" leader formula for upstream fishing as well as hand tapered mono leaders- and if you are really ambitious make some "furled" leaders of both mono and of Uni thread.... you should be able to consistently get the leader to straighten out fully, with five or so "s-curves" of slack in the tippet when the fly touches the water, and the fly should touch so lightly that there isn't a ripple...you will be very surprised at what a good leader can do for you!( For reference, on a stream like the Provo or Logan I fish a 10 foot long grey/blue colored furled leader with at least 3 feet of tippet....

....and don't get me started on bamboo rods and silk lines....!
Good fishing!
 

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Another 2 cents worth of info:

A great flyfisherman that I learned from told me he would walk down to the water and observe it for 10 min or so before he made a cast. I know I am guilty at missing this one I am so eager to get going I throw in as soon as I get there. But if you watch the water often you can see rising fish or better yet flashes under the water with your polarized glasses (a must). Work inside out in lanes, disect a pool in lanes and fish it like a highway with several cast into each lane. With my last trip to YNP I fished in only 3 holes to catch all of my fish on one river! If you get an opportunity team up with someone more experineced from the board and hit a river together you will learn a ton. Good luck and hope all of this info helps!
 

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Years ago, my mentor used to say, "They are as apt to be where they are as where they ain't."

Not sure just what that meant, but he would fish the whole river, and pick up fish in the darndest places.

If you fish a river or stretch of a river a few times, you soon get to know where to expect a fish to be. If they are rising you look for a fish then when you see one wait about 20 seconds after a rise then cast above, and send your fly to him.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned, look for a stream of bubbles floating along through the holes and into the tail. The bugs will also be floating in that stream of bubbles. That is where the fish will lie in wait. Put your fly in that stream and let it drift.

In heavily fished waters, the fish are easily spooked by a line hitting the water. Start close in and pull out a bit of line each cast to cover the whole pool without sending your line over fish lying close in, at least until they have had a chance to see your fly.

It has always seemed easier to fish faster water with lots of ripples, than slow water with a smooth surface. I think the fish do not notice a line as easily in the faster moving water.

One thing for sure, you can't catch a fish if your line ain't wet. Just go fishing. Enjoy!
 

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Something else to add.

I have noticed 3 distinct ways the fish rise for insects. I believe this is generally true. You can get a good idea of what type of an insect the fish are keying in on by the way they are rising.

1. A fish is keying in on midges when it leisurely rises and only shows it's dorsal fin or tail fin. Typically their fins barely break the surface of the water when they are feeding in the ripples. When feeding in smooth water, they barely make a ripple.

2. A fish is probably keying in on mayflies when it does its typical splash or makes a classic ripple on smooth water.

3. The fish who are launching themselves out of the water tells me there are caddis flies about.

I know this is a general thing, because fish are opportunist and eat many things at once. But if you see the majority of the fish rising the same way, you probably can get an idea of what type of fly pattern to tie on, maybe not color, but getting the right shape is definitely a start.

Anyone else notice this, or am I out in left field here?
 

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i have observed the same thing also. however from summer to fall i usually fish attractors (except on the provo) so it doesnt matter what they are really taking. good info though rnf. i hate it when they are taking midges because sometimes they are taking emergers and swimming nymphs but look like they are feeding on top because it is just their fin that breaks the surface (usually their tail).
 

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chuckmiester said:
i have observed the same thing also. however from summer to fall i usually fish attractors (except on the provo) so it doesnt matter what they are really taking. good info though rnf. i hate it when they are taking midges because sometimes they are taking emergers and swimming nymphs but look like they are feeding on top because it is just their fin that breaks the surface (usually their tail).
This is actually one of my favorite things. Floating a midge pupa pattern like a zebra midge down to the fish can be deadly if you match the right color. If they don't take it, I usually try adding a small weight to my line to get the fly down just below the surface. But yeah, it can be very frustrating at times. This is when fish seem to be the pickiest.
 

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that sound like a really good idea. ill have to try that sometime.
 
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