Prepare to catch more fish.
As with many great activities, fly fishing offers us the chance to get outdoors, test our skills, and share time with family and friends. A day on the water chasing your prey can turn from enjoyable to gloomy if not well planned. A sudden thunder storm drenches your party and blows out the stream; you didn’t know the water temps have been well into the seventies for weeks; you didn’t realize you needed 6X tippet; your buddies told you to go west on route 554 but it is nowhere to be found; and the list goes on. Below are a few overlooked fly fishing tips to help make your outing more enjoyable and productive.
1. Know the weather forecast.
Weather plays a huge role with many aspects of a fishing trip. Starting with your level of enjoyment and comfort; wear the proper clothing for the day’s weather conditions. More importantly, understanding how weather impacts the fish can make all the difference between a successful outing and not so good. Trout prefer overcast conditions. Sunny skies require more stealthy approaches.
2. Determine the water conditions.
Water temperature, clarity, river or stream height/ flow, and oxygen level are critical factors to success. When is the temperature most conducive to feeding? A common rule is cold/cooler months fish during the warmest part of the day and hot/warmer months fish during the coolest part of the day. If the water is cloudy use bigger darker flies; clear water brighter smaller. Low clear water requires longer casts as does long leaders and fine tippet; drab camouflage clothes help.
3. Map out your route.
Lessen complications and hassles by mapping your drive. Find out public access points. Learn where the closest fly fishing shops, towns, food, lodging, and gas stations are located.
4. Prepare your gear.
Check and repair your gear for damages. Have leaders ready. Ensure you have ample tippet, spilt shot, leaders, floatant, and flies. Bring a spare reel and rod if possible. Duct tape and a multi-tool are life savers.
5. Know what food sources your prey will be feeding on.
Typically with trout fishing it will consist of bugs. Bugs will vary from stream to stream, area of the stream, and by season. Although the food source will change, this holds true for other species as well. Learn your bugs.
6. Make a tentative fishing strategy.
Although you should remain extremely flexible because fishing is dynamic by nature, making a strategy will help in many ways. It helps you zone in on success. Narrow down your approach, by thinking through where the best fishing may be located and what they will be feeding on. This will also help with fishing confidence, because you have made an educated strategy beforehand and provide greater efficiency by actually fishing rather than on-location guessing. Also, make a back-up plan research other waters and species near-by.
7. Practice fly casting at home.
One of the most overlooked underrated aspects of fly fishing is the ability to cast well. Casting should be effortless and subconscious. Through practice, you can develop muscle memory and confidence. Practicing difficult casts will empower you to cover more water especially difficult lies or spooky fish; resulting in improved catch rates. Can you slip a fly under a lawn chair in your yard? Hit a pie plate at 40 feet? Throw a slack-line aerial mend cast? How about double-haul?
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association: http://www.noaa.gov/wx.html
• United States Geological Service: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/sw
• National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/index.htm
• Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/preview
• Wikipedia Planning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planning
• Wikipedia Entomology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomology
• Wikipedia Hydrology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface-water_hydrology
Fly Fishing Checklist
o Fishing License
o Vest/Chest Pack/Etc.
o Fly Boxes/Flies
o Split Shot
o Strike Indicators
o Toilet Paper
o Local Hatch Guide
o Extra Dry Clothes
o Sun Screen
o Repair Tools