Tip # 10 – Approach Fish From Downstream
Ahh yes, the excitement begins to build. We’ve parked at the bridge just upstream of one of the best holes on this river. As we wade downstream, we take a few casts here and there….oh yes, today we’re fly fishing. There is a decent hatch of giant green drake mayflies coming off, and the fish are rising with confidence. We’ve already managed a couple of nice brook trout and one brown fishing in the riffles, but that glorious deep hole on the next bend is where we always catch a big fat brownie!
All of that excitement however can lead us to disturbing the feeding of the trout and put them down for quite a while. We’ve fished here a number of times, and the bush is thrashingly thick once you leave the stream bank. Its also worth noting that the stream is less than 20 feet wide, and spooking fish is a big problem here! Fortunately there are quite a few deer in this area, and there are trails that the deer have been using, and consequently have worn paths through the bush. Today we’ll take our time getting down to that bend. We won’t walk down through the river to get there, and we definitely won’t stand on the beach of stones on the inside of the bend either.
Lets get out of the stream here, a good hundred feet upstream of where we know that big brown is sitting. Looking closely in the bush, we can see what appears to be a bit of a trail. Thats it, the old deer trail. We’ll follow this downstream, a good distance from the river I’ll add, and we won’t come back out of the bush until we are downstream of the big bend we want to fish. Why are we doing this you might ask? Simple. When trout are feeding, and particularly large trout, they take up a feeding lane and stay put. This way, they are using the least amount of energy possible while consuming the most food possible.
Now, we’ve made it just downstream of the bend. Lets just sit here and watch for a few minutes. Look up there! There’s his snout! He just grabbed a big green drake off the surface. And over there, some very splashy rises. Those splashy rises are the smaller fish. We don’t want to bother with them until we’ve tried our luck with the big guy! Ahh, there’s that snout again. What was that? 30 seconds or so? Lets keep watching and see how long it takes for him to rise again. Yes sir, about 30 seconds between rises. Now, we best tie on a brand new fly, one that hasn’t seen the water yet today. We’ll only get one shot at this, so we must make our cast perfect. We’ll start by false casting downstream and measure out our line. Now we have enough line out to cast to big old brownie up there. Send it up to him now…..wait……wait….BAM! Set the hook! He’s on!!
Always remember to pay very close attention to your surroundings……trout stalking is just that….stalking, and to stalk you must be stealthy!