Rising trout

As fly fishers, many of us have developed a special interest in one or more aspects of fly fishing that somehow become a very big part of the entire "experience". It may be aquatic entomology, fly tying, casting, fishing for muskies, or bamboo rods. Mine is selective trout. I would rather spend several hours and hook a single "picky" trout than catch five or six easy ones in an hour. I am sure this makes no sense to many of you. I am not sure I understand it either...

I think part of it is a certain "twisted stubbornness" that happily does not express itself in my daily life. Regardless, it is the way I have been for the better part of forty years when confronted with particularly selective trout. I also believe that these trout are what has kept me intensely focused for so many years. I do know that this affliction started in my early days of fishing the Henry's Fork. For those of you who may not know, the Henry's Fork has a reputation for its selective trout. From my very first day, I knew I would be returning to the Henry's Fork at every opportunity. As a result, I  decided I should do my best to figure those fish out or risk a lot of frustrating days. It took a great deal of time with books, articles and videos but I slowly learned enough to get lucky once in a while and eventually win most of the battles. It wasn't until I met and became friend with several of the Henry's Fork "Masters" that my education truly started. Two of these friends are Mike Lawson and Rene' Harrop.

If you ever get the opportunity to sit and watch a real master at work, you should take it as I did (and still do). One of the first and most important lessons I learned from them was to simply sit on the bank and really watch a particular fish that catches your attention. I recently wrote an article titled Some thoughts on "bank sitting"... I think if I were to make my list of the top five lessons to learn when dealing with selective trout, The first one would be "bank sitting".

Clearly sitting on the bank is not enough. Other lessons on such things as fly presentation, basic aquatic entomology, choosing the right fly for the situation, being stealthy in the water and others are important. The more of these you understand and put into practice, the more successful you will become as a fly fisherman. This is written from the perspective of a dry fly fisherman but much of it also applies to fishing with a nymph...especially small unweighted nymphs.

Even if "selective" trout are not especially present in the water you fish, if you have a basic understanding of the process many of us go through, you will no doubt catch more trout regardless of where you fish.

I will do my best to relate my experiences with "picky" trout in this section on "Selective Trout". Click here for more on selective trout...

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