Originally Posted by chris_n
Thanks for all the info guys it is much appreciated. I do have a seine and I often use it when I don't see fish rising to the surface. The issue I sometimes have is whether the fish are eating the emergers or the adult bugs hitting the surface, I often times can tell the difference in the rise (mouths or backs) but I have missed a whole feeding frenzy when I thought they were eating off the surface but apparently they were not. Any tips for this situation? I may have been fishing the emerger patterns wrong, any advice on using an emerger? Do you swing it or fish it as a dry fly?
P.s thanks for the warm welcomes, glad to learn what I can from you guys.
There are 3 rules of thumb for beginners when the trout are rising but ignore your fly. Consider making these changes. The order in which you consider making these changes depends on the situation as discussed below
1. Go to an earlier state of emergence. Rational - the fish are feeding on the emergers rather than the adult.
2. Go to a smaller fly. Rational - you are being fooled by a "masking hatch". A masking hatch is when you see the larger insect of two simultaneous occurring hatches. The fish are feeding on the smaller insect, but you think they are feeding on the larger one that is easier to see. To see the smaller insect get low to the water so you can look along the water surface. Bend down along the river back and see if you can find the small insects on the water surface.
3. Go to a thinner and longer leader. Rational - the fish are refusing because of micro drag. If you see a fish coming for your fly but refusing at the last instant; or if you think the fish has taken the fly, but you are missing the strike time after time, this could be do to micro drag. You are not actually missing the take at all. The fish is refusing the fly at the last instant and you think it has taken the fly. This is called a "late refusal". It can be quite frustrating.
Read the FAQs I PM'd to you. You can read the rises to learn in what water layer the fish are feeding and then you can tell what stage of emergence the fish are feeding on.
Reading rise forms is extremely important in determining what fly to use and how to fish it. A beginning fly fisher may see the "ring of the rise" and assume that the fish is feeding on the surface, and therefore on duns. This is not always so.
When fish are feeding on nymphs under the film, you will see a head and shoulders rise. Since this will also leave a ring, it can fool you into thinking the fish are feeding on the surface duns.
You need see the snout of the fish come up before you can be sure that the fish is feeding on in or on the film. You actually need to see a fish take a dun before you can be sure that the fish is feeding on duns. If you do not, assume that the fish is taking an emerger rather than the dun.
If the fish is too far away to be certain whether it is taking a dun or emerger, always start with an emerger. If you start with a dun and the fish refuses, back up one stage and put on an emerger.
If the fish continues to refuse, you can back up another stage and use a floating nymph OR possible there is a masking hatch and you have put on the more obvious insect.
Look for a smaller insect hatch that may be masked by the larger insect that is more obvious to you. The smaller insect hatch is more prolific than the larger hatch and so the fish feed on the smaller insects because there are more of them on the water.
When fish are feeding selectively, I always look for a masking hatch before I decide to put on a fly. One clue is that there are many more rises than the number of larger insects would indicate. So if you see a lot of rises but only a few large insects on the water and in the air, look for a smaller hatch that the fish are feeding on.
The order in which you make changes depends on the situation. For example, if the fish are actually rising and refusing
the fly, the most likely cause is micro drag. So if you get a refusal the most likely causes in the order of likelihood are:
B. Wrong stage of insect
C. A masking hatch.