On the fly: Downstream fishing | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: Downstream fishing

Scott Spooner
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Contributed photoKyle Holt displays a brown trout caught with a downstream presentation.

BASALT – When you work for the Taylor Creek Fly Shop, the Fryingpan River is your business and literally sits right outside the back door. It’s what you talk about all day, fish on your day off, and the reason for your tossing and turning some nights. It’s certainly the reason I work there. Like many others within the fly fishing industry, I live, eat and sleep fly fishing.

This summer I determinedly fished the Fryingpan for a few hours nearly every day; a goal most folks who fish have concerning their favorite waters.

The most important thing I can share is that once in a while, and on some days exclusively, forget about upstream trout presentations. This is especially true when dry-fly fishing. Selective fish are often best fooled with a “fly first” presentation. It feels weird at first, but try fishing below you now and then. Remember, you are hunting the fish. Stealth and a well-planned stalk are paramount to success.

When you’re a fat rainbow in living in the fabled Old Faithful Pool on the Fryingpan, you get to see a few flies throughout the course of your day. Show that trout your fly first instead of the line, then leader, indicator, weight and ultimately your fly. Refusals from the trout are rarely the result in this scenario when your fly is presented properly.

Patience is a must in downstream fishing, as the trout needs to turn back to its lie or go back under the surface before you bring the line tight. Keep in mind, if the fish is downstream of you, set your hook downstream as well.

Keep it simple out there. Use the flies your parents and grandparents used. On most days, nothing can improve upon a well-tied pheasant tail or parachute Adams.

I would also suggest embracing the lower and middle river, especially when the upper river is busy. There are big, strong fish everywhere in the Fryingpan, and they have lots of friends.

Lastly, stop and smell the roses out there, people. Look up and out and sit just down for a minute to take in your surroundings. Take a break from staring at your fly selection when you know you don’t have the fly they want during that tough hatch. It’s awfully pretty out there.

It’s right outside your doorstep too, folks. And to think that it’s just the tip of the fishing iceberg in the Roaring Fork Valley. Proper presentation pays.

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