I just bought my first fly rod this past fall. I spent a good part of the fall reading up on fly fishing basics and practicing casting in my front lawn. I have spent some time on the internet research NJ hatch charts but I have only hit the water a few times but have not had any success yet. During the times that I am out on on the water I find myself wondering if there are really any fish where I am standing, and spend a lot of time moving to different spots where I think there might be fish. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions as to what type of spots I should be targeting?
Search the threads for "Finding a Big Brown Trout" in the search option. This thread and the posts to it discuss your question a bit. If you are looking for some other species of trout the conditions will be varied a bit. Feel free to PM me and I will try to help you via e-mail.
treetrout: You might stop by your local fly shop if you have one nearby, see what kind of books they have and ask questions. Let them know you are just starting out and what stream you are trying to fish. They can be a big help with not only likely locations but what patterns might be effective and how to fish that pattern and how to properly rig your leader. Also ask them about local fishing clubs in the area, try to join a TU Chapter if available. You will be surprised at how willing other fly fisherman are willing to sharte their knowledge, it will cut your learning curve in half at the minimum.
Good luck and by all means keep posting your questions here on the forum, our members are more than willing to help, but give us more information, like what water are you trying to fish and with what. There is a big difference between streamers, nymphs and dries.
Go to the web and search your states stocking schedule for a place to go and when. Then check areas stocked by Trouts Unlimited.
You will be surprised on what you find. Doing this will give you confidence and of course the fever.
Yours are common questions. I think that I spent years doing the bouncing around the stream like you discribe. Now days there is so much more information on where the fish are hanging out. One good book that is all about how to fish different sections of water is "Trout Rigs and Methods". Wish that I would have read one of these in the earlier years. Back then some of us were pointing at the other guy saying, how does he do it. Now I know that he learned it somewhere.
Youíve gotten great advice. There are several TU chapters in NJ that are very active, Itís a great way to jump start the learning curve, and to meet some new fishing buddies. You can find one near you here:
That Rosenbauer book was exactly what i was going to recommend. Another good one is "Trout Tactics" by Joe Humphreys.
Keep in mind that trout are hungry, lazy and a bit paranoid. They seek out spots where food is constantly coming by, where they're not having to swim too hard to maintain that position, and to where they're protected from overhead predators and/or have a safe place to run to real quick. This means they will generally be in eddies beside fast currents, in front of or behind rocks, under cutbanks, and at tails and heads of pools.
Seems to me this is the crux of fly fishing, and even if you figure out where they are supposed to be, they are not always there. Lots of things seem to affect the behaviour of the wiley (supposedly unintelligent) beast we pursue. My buddy is a big believer in if the barometric pressure is rising, then fishing is good, if it is falling, don't bother. But sometimes there are other things that can affect a good spot.
Now, I am a beginner at this, so I make no claims at expertise.
A short story, some of the best fly fishing I have ever had was on a cloudy day, with a BWO hatch going off right in front of me. Right time, right place, great time.
Yesterday, I fished a new area of the river, I had driven by it a couple times and it looked promising, I thought I had found a good spot, and I also, found a downed tree in the water, current was funneled towards the tree, run a lazy controlled path around the trunk, there was a nice little eddy behind the tree, AND there was a hatch in progress, the bubble line traveling just as you would expect - just like it talks about in Mr. rosenbauer's book, water was about 5 feet deep - perfect at least that is what I thought. Now, I resisted the urge to just toss a fly into the mix, and forced myself to watch from a distance of 30 or so yards. In the 15 minutes I watched this spot, 15 minutes before I ever approached it or threw a fly. In that 15 minutes, not one fish rose to the floating and dancing BWOs in the bubble line. Not one, rise, not one jumping fish, not one fish broke the surface. So, I tied on a nymph and nothing.
Come to find out, they had recently done some construction on the river, building a "water park" and during this construction they diverted the river around the spot where this downed tree is, basically, killing off any underwater greenery, insects, etc. Maybe, this spot will come back and be a good trout spot, but for now, there is a about a 500 yard stretch of prime trout lies, that appears to be devoid of any fish, they just finished up the construction about 2 weeks ago.
So long story, but the point is, we may find the perfect spot, but, other factors can, and do affect whether there are fish there.
DearTT: you haven't told us enough information. Are you looking for particular streams that hold trout or are you on such a stream but still can't catch any?
Your local fish and game department ought to help plus there are also some top streams in Eastern PA and in the Catskills.
Even on a top stream, not all areas are going to have trout in them. So the next step is to ask if you are on streams that hold trout but are still not having any luck? If that's the case- welcome to trout fishing! There's a lot involved, stream temperature, oxygen in the water, food supply, holding areas, PLUS your skills in stealthy approach, casting, etc.
There are a lot of books on where to locate trout in a particular stream. Generally a stocked trout is easier to catch than a wild- educated trout so heading for areas that are heavily stocked may be okay to start.
If you are totally new to fishing, try fly casting to panfish- easy to catch and it will put some experience under your belt.