On the fly: Be the fish
September 8, 2011
BASALT – Fooling a trout with a fly is the ultimate way to get back to nature and be closer to the animal world. Fly fishing is about paying attention to the smallest details.
This could mean a variety of things, including reading the water, selecting the appropriate fly in the correct size, shape, color and movement, and lastly and most important, reading the fish. On highly pressured fisheries like the Fryingpan and the Roaring Fork rivers, being able to correctly read the fish will make a world of difference in your successes on the water.
When I refer to reading the fish, I’m referring to whether the fish will positively respond to your fly. Be the fish. Is the fish a happy fish? Happy fish like to eat. How do you know if the fish you’re looking at is a happy fish? The best way for me to answer that is to watch the fish’s body language. Is the trout actively eating or searching and scouring the river looking for food? If so, that’s a happy fish and those are the kind of fish that you’ll want to target.
Secondly, be the stork. Being the stork means standing still, looking and waiting for the perfect opportunity to present your fly and make the cast. There’s no need to be in a hurry. As the old adage goes, good things come to those who wait (or wade).
Oftentimes, trout will eat your offering even if they aren’t hungry. It is possible to trigger a trout to strike even if they aren’t actively feeding. There is no one right way to catch a fish, but if you find happy fish and make a good presentation, your chances of success increase exponentially.
Recently, one of my friends and co-workers, Travis Lyons, ventured up the Fryingpan in hopes of catching a fish on a mouse pattern. For many trout anglers, catching a fish on a mouse pattern is the pinnacle of their trout angling career. Travis is the ultimate stork and knows how to find happy, aggressive fish. He fishes with confidence, knowing that if he can find just one happy fish to present his fly to, he’ll be successful. And he was. Not only did he catch a fish on a mouse, he caught several. That’s what I call feeling the Zen in fly fishing.