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Fly Fishing Tips and Secrets   Back to Categories

Fly-Fishing Tips and Secrets that will help you catch more fish.

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I have been fishing sense I was 4 years old, and I'm 67 now.  That means I have fished for over 63 years.  In 1962 at the age of 19, I started fishing for trout. so I can truthfully say I have been fishing for trout for more than 48 years!  Countries In which I have fished for trout are Japan, Canada, and the United States.  I fished for two years in Japan.  I was stationed there in the Army from 1965 to 1967. In Canada, I made one 10 day trip to Northern Manitoba to fish for northern pike, lake trout and grayling.  The states I have fished for trout are: Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, and Michigan.  Ninety nine percent of my fly fishing experience has com from fishing in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. I became a serious trout fisherman n 1967.  That's 43 years ago.  For each year, I have averaged approximatey 100 days of fishing.  That works out to 4,200 days of fishing, and counting.  On average, I would estimate the time spent on-the-water for each day fished is in the neighborhood of at least 8 hours (shorter days in the winter and longer days in the summer).  All this adds up to over thirty three thousand hours of on-the-water experience.flyfishingthings.com/resting by stream

I'm sure there are other fly-fisherman that have more time on the water than I have, however, based on my on on-the-water experience I consider myself a fly fishing expert...for trout.  The time spent stream fishing versus lake fishing is about fifty fifty.  I do more lake fishing now than when I was younger.  Wading all day over rocks, and against strong currents can be exhausting.  Fishing has always come very natural to me.  I'm not the greatest fly tier in the world, and my fly casting lacks perfection from time to time.  However, for a long as I can remember I have always been able to catch lots of fish.

flyfishingthings.com/another lake rainbowFor the record here are my averages for fish caught and release.  Note that for every fish caught, another was hooked and got off.  A catch means I actually held and unhooked the fish.  On a slow day I would catch around 10 fish.  On an average day the number is 35.  A great day produced 50 to 75, and on an exceptional day over 100 fish!  To look at it an another way would be that on an average day means that every 7 minutes I would either catch a fish or have a strike.  My individual record for big fish (freshwater-cold)are:  Rainbow trout: 13 lbs 8oz.  Brown trout: 10 lbs plus.  Cutthroat: 9 lbs plus.  Brook trout: 6 lbs plus.  Northern pike 20 lbs plus.  Small mouth bass:  5 lbs plus.  Grayling: 2 lbs plus.  Lake trout: Can't remember the specific weight but it was in the neighborhood of 12 lbs. Carp:  30 to 35 lbs.

The greatest number of trout caught in the least amount of time is:  135 fish in two hours.  Yes, I was counting.  And yes, that's more than one a minute.

There was one occasion on the Big Horn River in Montana where my long time fishing buddy Ross Welsing and I caught and released in a span of about 6 hours, more than 75 fish weighing from 3 to 7 lbs each. On that glorious day, we each missed as many as we caught!  That's over 300 hook ups.  We had to stop fishing because our arms literally cramped up from fighting fish. I have had many days on the Big Horn where I caught more than 50 fish.

There have been many days where Ross and I would cease to keep track of the number of fish caught simply because we would be catching so many fish so fast we lost count.

I do recommend you count the number of fish you catch, not because of ego, but to give you an idea of how successful your day was. It's a simple way to evaluate your experience.  keeping a record of your daily catch: number, where, date, water temp, etc. has lots of obviouse benefits. 

Anyway, for what it's worth, here are my tips and secrets to enable you to get a jump start on catching more trout the next time you go fishing.

 

  Tips and Secrets.
     

Tip #1

Always check the barb of your hook every few minutes when you’re actively fishing;  especially if your back cast comes within the vicinity of rocks.  Hitting a rock with your fly can break the barb.  You’ll get a clue when you start hooking fish and they keep getting off.

Tip #2

Don't spend an excessive amount of time fishing one spot unless you're catching fish. Keep trying different spots until you start hooking up. Some fishermen will stand and fish the same spot all day long and then complain that the stream doesn't have any fish in it because they only caught two or three fish.

Tip #3

 When you want to cross a river to fish the other side, and the water is fast and the flow heavy; carry a rock(big enough for you to hold onto)to give you added weight, or carry your companion across on your back.

Tip #4

You can tell what species of trout you have on your line before you see it buy the way it fights. Brown trout generally do not jump, and they fight harder than a Rainbow trout which do jump. Cutthroat trout does not fight as hard as either.

Tip #5

Give names to the productive “holes” you fish and to the productive sections of the river, and mark them on a map.  This will serve as a reminder as where to begin the next time you go to that stream.  By doing this you will accumulate a list of “secret” fishing spots.

Tip #6

When fishing in extreme cold conditions, get rid of ice that forms on your rod and line by submerging the rod in the water.

Tip #7 

Fishing small streams is a great way to perfect your fly-casting and presentation skills along with your fish hooking skills.

Tip #8

Small stream fly-fishing is a great way to introduce your children to fly-fishing.

Tip #9

Use a loop-to-loop connection to attach your tippets, that way you extend the life of your leader.  Just make sure you use the correct method or else the line may break. The loop should not hindge.

Tip #10.

If you begin to catch a lot of fish, say 14 inches or bigger, remember to re-tie the fly because the line will become fatigued from the strain produced by the fighting fish, and you may lose a good one.

Tip #11.

Use a stomach pump to reveal what the fish are feeding on.  This is valuable information.

Secret #12

Always seine a river before fishing it, that way you will get a good idea about what the fish are eating that day at that time. Hold the seine in the water for five minutes then observe the top, middle and bottom of the seine for insects. Where they're located on the seine(water line, mid way, or bottom) is a clue to where and what the fish are feeding on in the water column.

Secret #13 

Getting fish to reveal themselves on a bright, hot, clear, and  sunny day when there seems to be no visible fish in the river, (they’re all or under rocks in the shade) try fishing a “Boss” fly or a black and yellow wholly-bugger by casting it as close as possible to the bank and stripping it hard back to you. The fish will instinctively attack the fly because they can’t resist fleeing prey.

Secret #14

If the fishing is real slow, try standing in the water upstream of the spot you want to fish and wiggle your feet. This will break loose lots of nymphs that will float down stream and start the fish feeding. Only do this if your desperate to catch a fish.

Tip #15.

Any time you're standing knee deep in a stream; check behind you.  Fish will move and station themselves in the eddy created by your presence in the water.

Secret #16. 

If you spot a big fish and he moves away from you when you enter the water (and most all of them will.  Stand still for 10 or 15 minutes, after you enter the stream and he will return to his position.

Secret #17 

The canyon section of the South Platte river at Decker’s, is notorious for its “educated” fish. The fly shops in Denver will tell you the way to fish the canyon is with small flies (RS2’s size 18’s and 20”s) and fine (6x and 7x) tippets. Even so, I have never lacked catching fish all day long there by fishing scuds!--on 4x tippets.

Tip #18.

Fishing small streams will teach you how to catch fish on a big stream.  In larger streams the fish behave the exact same way as fish in a smaller stream only on a larger scale.

Secret #19.

Small streams that have good flow year round, can and may  hold a very large fish. Look for deep, protective, holding spots.  Spots that are almost impossible to get your fly into.

Secret #20 

A hooked fish will stop running if you give him slack, because he thinks he’s no longer hooked. Giving a running fish slack goes contrary to our basic instincts, even so, I can tell you that the fish will stop, and you can fool him from running into cover. Once he stops running for cover he will turn and casually swim to a resting spot. To resume the fight, gently tighten the line, and you may get him to swim toward you. He'll probably make another run but by this time you will be able to turn him and keep him out of snags or weeds. If the fish seeks cover in weeds, give him slack an eventually he’ll swim out.

Tip #21. 

A tail-hooked fish fights a lot harder than a mouth hooked fish, and you'll be disappointed when you land him.

Secret #22

Catch trout like an otter; approach low and from behind.

Tip #23.

Enter a stream slowly and quietly otherwise you'll create a pressure wave when you move through the water and the fish can sense them and move away.

Tip #24.

Always try to match your fly to what the fish are feeding on. This is so obvious however, fisherman don't do it all the time.

Tip #25.

Learn how to "read" water to know where the fish position themselves to feed.

Tip #26.

You can get closer to a feeding trout because they're more concerned with feeding than with predators.

Secret #27.

If you "line" a trout, forget about catching him for at least 30 minutes.

Tip #28.

Never walk through another fisherman’s hole while he is fishing! Or you may catch a fist instead of a trout.

Secret #29.

Big fish are harder to catch than small fish, because they feed differently.  Big predatory fish will attack prey as large as what will fit in their mouth. That's why you should use big flies to catch big fish.

Tip #30.

If you want to a catch big fish, go to where big fish are.

Tip #31.

Look under rocks in a stream to find what kind of insects the stream holds, that way you can get a clue as to what fly imitation to put on the end of your line.

Tip #32.

Never tell anyone about your secret fishing hole, or it won’t be a secret any more.