The sun is slowly rising over the trees as a warm breeze radiates from the open window of our car. The aroma is nostalgic, a sweet summer aroma left over from last night’s rain. As we climbed the last hill and descended to our favorite trout terrains, I let out a sigh of relief. I feel at home and with no other cars on the horizon, my husband and I have already won.
As we unload things from the car and put the equipment in our packages, my attention goes to an insect that jumps over my head. The top switch is on. Their brown bodies and slightly white wings are a stark contrast as it falls into my bright red rod tube. A smile creeps over my face as I think to myself I have the perfect fly in my box.
As we turn to start off the path for the long walk on the river, I stop in a hurry. “Did we lock the car?” Take the key out of your backpack, pressing the button to control; not once, but three times… a habit of mine.
We rush along the anxious path to reach the river. Looking at my feet, I notice a large chunk of wild winter. Reaching down, I pick a few leaves and rub them between my fingers.A sweet mint scent fills the air. Wintergreen is traditionally used to make tea, to relieve headaches and to calm the mind and body. If I only knew, I remember slowing down and enjoying my environment. However, it is all part of the journey and the charm of the day.
Tip # 1: Keep a thermometer
I always carry one with me and check the water temperature before fishing, especially when we enter the warmer months. Know your temperature thresholds for trout and stick to your ethics when it reaches that limit. Usually remove my rod above 18 C or 66 F. If you still have itching to fish, aim for a warm water species like sea bass.
Tip # 2: Match the Hatch
Take a minute to observe the river, search for insects, and roll over rocks. Specific patterns usually do not matter, but consider the size and color of each insect you find and choose something as close as you can to your box. If you really want to cheat, get a book Entomology (study of insects). You can really get down to the rabbit hole, but that just adds an extra layer of interest.
Do not be frustrated! Trout fishing is a game and you have to open the code. When filling your fly boxes, it is good practice to carry three of each model. The worst thing that can happen is to finally break the code and immediately lose the fly to a tree in your next caste… speaking from experience here…
Tip # 3: Observe the behavior of the fish
If you see fish rising, pay attention to their behavior. If they are pigs and you are looking at their backs, they are likely to get something a little under water. If you can see their mouths, they are removing the fly from the surface. I will sometimes fish the same pattern, differently. For example, I could start fishing for my dry fly and suddenly notice a change in their behavior and change it and fish it just below the surface with a narrow line.
Tip # 4: Suitable equipment for fish
Fish equipment that is suitable for the area and species you are targeting. If you are fishing in a place with larger fish, make sure you are using a suitable rod weight. This will allow you to land the fish quickly, so you are not playing it until exhausted. There are no prices for the lightest equipment in trout fishing. Match your fly size to your leader diameter. Trout can be extremely embarrassing and the last thing you want is to fish an 18 size dry fly with an 8 kg tip. For the Streamer fan, it’s the opposite. You will want to have a heavier leader to turn a bigger and heavier fly.
Tip # 5: Be secretive
Think stealthily Matrix. Trout are spooky. Try to secretly climb into your place quietly and try not to spray too much while walking. Keep your jumps out of the water; fake aerial gypsum to avoid splashing and “lining” the fish. Stay away from the sun, if possible, especially in clear water to avoid being seen by fish. Just because you can not see them, does not mean that they can not see you.
Tip # 6: Practice proper fish handling
Always wet your hands before handling your fish. Barbed hooks make a release faster and easier. I usually tighten my grip on the vice while tying. Use a knotless mesh whenever possible. This makes hook removal easy by keeping the fish wet. It is also useful if you want to take a quick picture of the fish. When taking a picture, try to keep your water friend in the water. Photography and quick publishing are all you need and with all the waterproof camera phones these days, some of my favorite photos are of fish held in water.
Tip # 7: Know your river ethics
This is important. Know the rules of the area where you are fishing, written and unwritten. Be respectful of others. Silence does not share secrets, the best way to learn is to be polite and courteous with other fishermen, engage with them and listen. There is nothing better than meeting someone who has been fishing in a certain area for years and is willing to share some secrets. Divide the river. Give others space, the river is for everyone. This includes others you may meet who may not be fishing.
Tip # 8: Do not be afraid to walk
This tip may be related to the latter. If you are not inclined to fish side by side, do not be afraid to walk to defeat the crowds and explore a little further away from the beaten path. When you go out, make sure you have a package that can hold all your equipment, but is sleek enough not to hinder your fishing. My favorite is the TOPO Designs river bag.
After all, everything is in the name of adventure. Just make sure you remember how to get back.
Tip # 9: Know your invaders
Get to know the native species in your area and report any invasive fish you encounter.
Consider the possibility of invasive species spreading through your equipment. If you wear boots with handkerchiefs, make sure you clean them thoroughly before your next fishing adventure in a new location.
Tip # 10: HAVE FUN!
Remember, we all fish because it is fun. Experience does not dictate your passion. Get out there, explore and learn while you go. It is not about how many fish you will catch, but about the memories you collect. Join a river association or conservation group. It feels good to return to the river or the area where you fish regularly.
We hope these tips help you have a better trout fishing experience. It is important to remember the last tip, because whether you despair or not, it is the small moments that make any fishing adventure worthwhile.
Thank you TOPO Designs for making this educational part possible New Outdoor! Go see what The New Outdoor is all about here.
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