Catching fish is terrific fun - no argument. Second to that is
sitting on a lovely piece of moving water and watching. This could be just enjoying your
surroundings. But it could also be very instructional. Improve the heck out of your
catching as well.
Al Campbell wrote a outstanding column on Check
Your Surroundings For Better Fishing explaining what to look for along the
stream - and on the way to it. If you haven't read it, do so. Your understanding of
the insects, when and where, will be greatly improved.
What I'm talking about is watching the fish. They live in a very unique world. Some
observation on our part allows us to share a little of that world, by watching the signs showing
us what they (the fish) are doing.
Fish feed from the bottom of the stream to the surface of the water. Why? Because in their
world, the food starts out on the bottom. As the nymphs mature, they migrate to the surface.
Well, Stoneflies crawl out on the shore, but the rest pretty much make their way to the surface
You need to recognize rise forms - or as Vincent Marinaro calls them, 'Rings of the Rise.'
He was the author of a super book of the same name, I understand it is available again. One
to put on your Christmas Wish List.
Not familiar with rise forms? Read Rise Forms for the
basics. Each of the rise forms is explained, and I'm sure you will recognize most of them.
But here is the toughest one: The Bulge.
This is tough to see because there usually isn't any break in the surface. No rings. No neat
splashy take. It's just a bulge in the surface, sort of like there was a lump of dirt or a rock
the water barely runs over. Even harder to see when there is a little wind riffle on the water,
or in the broken water of a run.
But when you can see it, (having the light in just the right direction helps too,) it is a dead
giveaway that the fish is taking nymphs. And probably just in the important couple of inches
just below the surface. A floating emerger isn't the match. The fly has to sink - but barely.
Take a little break from catching. Even if it is Catch and Release, that doesn't mean you
should catch every possible fish you can. Regardless of how careful we are, you will kill fish.
Spend more time learning about how and why the fish respond. Try to put yourself into
Find a nice place on a bank, perhaps a little mossy knoll, or an accommodating log.
Take a deep breath, suck in the scents of the cedars and crisping leaves. Close your
eyes and feel the sun and breeze on your face. Capture a little essence of the beautiful
wild places for the times you can't be there.
When you've done that, start looking for the subtle bulges. See if you can figure out the
fishes waiting station. Does it feed in about the same place each time? What is the time period
between the feedings? Where exactly do you put your cast to get your nymph in the right
place at the right time? And once hooked, where will the fish go? Can you play and land it
Got it all figured out? Check your leader and tippet for knots or nicks. Put on a fresh
fly, soak it in river water, (you might want to massage it a little) so it sinks to just the
Now, go catch it! ~ LadyFisher
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!