Lots of good knowledge to improve the catching ratio come from observation. A very important
piece of information comes from watching how the fish are behaving.
Fish have a tiny brain compared to humans. Most of what they do, and how they do it are not
from deductive reasoning, but from instinct. Fish also must practice conservation of energy. They cannot
swim all over looking for food. The small amount of nutrition from an insect has to be balanced with the
amount of energy used to get the food. Food comes to them, usually floating in or on the surface of the water.
A fish that is eating nymphs usually 'catches' them while the nymph is swimming to the surface of the water
You and learn to tell what a fish is doing, by carefully watching the 'rise
form'. A rise form is the name used to describe the action or manner of an individual fish as it
The most visible rise form, and the one in the classic photographs and paintings is the
Caddis Take. Caddis hatch from the water, and lay their eggs on the water - but they don't really much
like the water. So a caddis on the water doesn't just sit still. It flutters and jumps. The method fish have
developed to eat a caddis is a noisy, flashy, sometimes even leaping-out-of-the-water take. You can't
miss the rise form. Matching what you have in your fly box may be another story. Always have caddis
in more than one size and color.
Buldging is another rise form. It is visible as a 'hump' in the water. Sometimes a dorsal
fin or tip of the tail will break the surface of the water, but usually it is just a hump. Looking similiar to water
flowing over a submerged rock. When Buldging occurs, the fish are either taking nymphs within the top two inches
of the surface, or taking emergers. After a spinner fall, the dead and dying spinners begin to sink, and can
be taken by trout in the same manner, tho less common than nymphing or taking emergers.
Last, and my personal favorite, is the 'sip' or Dry Fly Take. Trout in their holding lane
or patterns, face into the current and 'sip' the insects from the surface. No flashy takes, the insects are
quietly sucked in by the fish expelling the accompanying water back out through their gills. Have your fly
in the feeding lane, after carefully timing the rises of the target fish and it will 'sip' you fly in just like the
natural. You can watch it happen! For me, the ultimate in fly fishing.
Sometimes you have to decide, restrain yourself, not to charge off and jump in the river.
Take the time to observe what is happening. Pick an area, watch it carefully. There is always something
happening. You just have to learn to see.
Each time you fish you learn something. It may not seem like a lot, the just keep doing it.
Almost like magic the light goes on! It begins to make sense. With that comes