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Old 09-23-2013, 05:47 PM
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Default Tactics for wary trout?

OK, familiar scene already for this new fly fisherman....

I go to my creek yesterday, crystal clear, mid-day, warm and sunny, trout have probably seen half dozen fisherman already. Sitting in about a foot of water are at least 15 trout. I sneak up all stealth like and toss a fly. The biggest fish says, "look guys, a hook with feathers on it, I been eatin bugs all morning and don't think I am interested".

So after a half hour of emptying my very limited flybox, I busted his troutazz with a gulp minnow on my wooly bugger.

Some or you purists might call that cheatin How do you normally proceed on tight lipped trout in tough conditions?
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

Presentation, presentation, presentation!!

9 times out of 10 its presentation. If you are absolutely sure your presentation is good then downsize fly & tippet.

Good luck!
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

In my little local creek it's go smaller, smaller... When that doesn't work I move upstream..
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

Take a break and rest the hole. After casting a bunch over visible fish I'll get down low, sit back, and rest them for at least 5 minutes, probably longer depending on the conditions/fish. Take this time to spot and track the biggest fish in the pod, refresh your tippet, dry some flies, whatever. Keep your rod down low and out of sight. When you think you're ready to try again, try to make that next "first" cast without any false cast over the fish. If I'm casting upstream I'll position myself before the break at a place where I can load the line in the water downstream and make a single cast to the target.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

Appreciate the tips and I will try them all. In this instance, size didn't seem to matter much, but I know from my non-flyfishing experience that small is a notably higher percentage play for a slow bite. Resting the hole helped as I clearly got their attention on the first cast or too. Even got a strike or two but they were really just bumping it. I'll have to learn to move on as after a couple casts, I was wasting my time.

What are your go to small patterns for stubborn fish?. I got them to tap a small pheasant tail nymph. Little response from much anything else. As I said, my flybox is thin. Is a dry fly generally hopeless in this situation?
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

It's tough to make a recommendation without being familiar with the stream. And "small" is relative. I had to go down to a #24 black RS2 earlier this year to find the menu of the day.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

Amazingly enough, I am pretty sure that false casting over some of the heavily pressured trout in my local stream will shut them down. Sometimes you just have to be a ninja. I also agree with going small. I am always amazed at the size of the fish you can catch on tiny flies. Sometimes I have thought to myself that the energy needed to eat the fly has to be a net loss for the trout.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

When it's like this I do a couple things. I move slow and stay as low as possible. The lower you are the more water surface distorts your figure to fish. If I know the fish have seen me I stand there long enough for them to not percieve me as a threat. I try to not false cast over them as well as all that has been mentioned already. This is one of my favorite tough situations to fish.

I watch closely to what the fish are doing. In several streams I fish when they are stacked together like this in open shallow water they are nymphing. Sometimes they won't move more than an inch or so to eat. Many times I've watched them do no more than lean over to eat. This is when I sight nymph. Dead drift, long leader and only watch the fish to set. If you tryed to rely on an indicator you would likely never see it flinch. They will take and spit it out before it's translated to the indicator. I land the fly far enough upstream that it doesn't just appear out of nowhere. This is a long (12' to 18') light leader situation (6x or 7x) for me. Keeping track of where your fly is can be tough at first. I started off learning this with some type of indicator (dry fly or 1/8" foam) but as time went on the indicator became a distraction for me and sometimes would keep the fish from taking the nymph. It is not uncommon for me to see a fish take and set the hook only to find I hooked a fish I didn't see move.

The other thing I have had work is casting a streamer/bugger upstream. If the fish are holding at the head of the pool I land the fly just above the pool but end of the line behind the fish. I keep all the slack out of the line. when the fly is about a foot or two in front of the fish I strip like mad and sometimes speed it up some with the rod tip. I have had this trigger brutal strikes from the biggest fish many times. And it's kind of wierd that on one pass not one fish would even move the next would trigger several to chase. The only difference I could see in the presentation is the fly landed a foot or so further upstream. I normally try this as a last resort as it can put them down.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

Thanks, I am learning a lot here. Long leader/tippets are tough to handle on my small streams. That should improve with time on the water. For me, small is a #18. Sounds like I need to add some 20-24 to my fly selection for these occasions.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Tactics for wary trout?

From my observation of your scenario, the fish would have responded well to a streamer if it took your gulp minnow. Maybe a zonker or clouser. I am a WAY outside the box guy. I almost never go smaller, I prefer to show them something theyve never seen. But it must be presented naturally! I used to fish one of the most pressured waters out west. During big hatches these fish would get so jaded it was almost a lost cause to match the hatch. I would swing a natural/gold zonker thru there and just HAMMER them LOL.
It is definitely not a joke and worth a try.
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