On the fly: Embrace your inner scientist | AspenTimes.com
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On the fly: Embrace your inner scientist

Photo of a local rainbow trout.
Courtesy of Jerry Pazar

If you boil it down, most scientific studies are a series of continual failures, until they aren’t. The same applies to our fishing pursuits, and we need to use a process of elimination on the water if we are in the struggle box. We as anglers need to rely on the clues that the river, fish and insects are sending us and use that information to our advantage.

Most anglers have the occasional day where they can’t miss. Yet, when you go back to the scene of the crime, nothing is the same. The hatch is different, the fish are behaving erratically, and that fly they wouldn’t leave alone yesterday is being ignored with extreme prejudice today. We anglers are left to wonder why.

There may not be an answer, but our process of investigation should give us the clues we need. Did the flow of the river increase or decrease? Is today pre-frontal or extremely sunny while yesterday was cloudy? Did someone fish the pool before you today and put the fish “off their tea”? Most of the answers to these questions are better found using your powers of observation versus frothing the water with 10 different fly patterns.



My advice is to sit down, near the water, and just watch. Is anything hatching? How are the fish reacting, if they are at all? Are the fish glued to the bottom and sulking, or sharking around eating everything in sight with reckless abandon?

Clues and fixes abound out there. If you’re seeing the backs of the fish and not the noses, try sinking an emerger just under the surface. If you’re not hooking fish in the deep runs, try making your rig a bit longer and heavier. Are they looking at your dry fly and then refusing it? Try downsizing your tippet, and if that doesn’t do it, downsize the fly. Developing a process of elimination will add confidence to your day on the water, so embrace your inner scientist!




This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

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