Tuesday’s Tip - Fishing With Small Flies
Sunny days at this time of year can make for some tough fishing. The rivers are low and clear, and trout are spooky and selective. Most of the insects are small at this point and trout aren’t going to be easily fooled by larger attractor flies.
Blue-Winged Olives and midges will make up the majority of the fall hatches, and both of these are small insects. Matching the size and color can make a difference when you find the trout are being tough. On guide trips this month I am finding that many people ask me why we are fishing with size 18 flies because they think it’s too small for the fish to see. It often ends up paying off with more fish being caught. Keeping the line mended so that you are getting a good dead-drift is very important. Dragging flies through the water is not going to fool picky fish.
Hooking fish on small flies is another challenge. Setting the hook on a downstream angle will improve you catch rates. Setting is much easier when the flies are being fished upstream, but if the flies are straight out or downstream of your position then you will need to set on a steeper angle downstream. Swinging small flies often results in the fly being pulled out of the fish’s mouth. You can allow the fish the extra half second to eat the fly before setting in a downstream situation.
Don’t be afraid to size down the next time you are finding the fish to be difficult. Even the best angler is going to miss a few fish on small flies, but it’s still better than no strikes at all.