A tough approach

Matt4.0

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How about an actual fishing topic? How do you approach a pool of very slow, clear water full of fish? See pic below (this is the same pic, one I just took through my polarized sunglass lens in an attempt to better show the fish).

Not sure how well this cell image will show via mobile upload to the forum, but there are probably 20-30 fish in this frame.

While this pic is probably not the best example as the position it was taken from is completely unapproachable (you can’t tell from the angle but it was a 15-20’ drop down those rocks to the water), but I came across several pockets like this on the river last weekend. What may appear to be riffles is actually some sporadic foam floating by so it really didn’t provide any cover.

In situations like this the only way I’ve had any success is if they are rising and I’m able to get upstream for a downstream presentation to the risers. But when they are feeding subsurface like these I can’t think of a time I’ve been successful in fooling one. Ca sting an indicator is a good way to spook the entire pool with one cast, and it’s tough to get close enough with a euro nymph setup without spooking them as you’re as visible to them as they are to you.

Anybody have any tricks or techniques?



 

Ard

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This is a small remote stream in Alaska not a place that gets pressured.



Prior to being on my knees I had been sitting flat on my butt at waters edge which gave me an even lower profile. To reach the area I wanted to fish I had crawled quite a distance to avoid spooking fish. When I was a younger man and fishing tiny streams in the mountains of North Central PA. I probably can say without exaggerating that if you combined all my fishing on low clear streams I'll bet I crawled at least 1/2 to 3/4's of a mile all together. I used to wear the knees out of waders and I still do but it takes longer at my current age.

BTW that's me fishing a streamer using my 7'9" Far & Fine, I've never even dreamed of using an indicator and bead here because it is not fly fishing.

Tell you how old that picture is... that's an old Lewis Creek wading jacket I bought in 1992 I'm wearing. The picture is probably 10 years old taken before I went gore tex.

The answer is to crawl into position then slowly get into kneeling posture but no taller than that. Limit false casts also because they will see the line. My fishen buddy back east who accompanied me for 24 years is a member here and could relate to you watching me "slither to the edge of the water like a snake" on Spring Creek many times and I caught the fish that others didn't. I'm no expert on rod actions but I know how to fish and how to catch fish on a fly.

Get Low
 

JoJer

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Stand back, long leader, as far up stream as you can. Curve cast down stream right into the foam line with a small terrestrial, dry or parachute emerger. Feed line into the drift.
 

dr d

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hi,


ad #1 and "euro":kneeing behing the rock rightside in shadow and precise executed tension-cast.


have fun


thomas
 

tcorfey

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From the looks of the man standing on the far bank that is a big deep pool. It is kinda of hard to judge distances, speed and depth but those fish look like they may be 15' deep.

I would approach from the far bank where the man is standing but, I would come from the downstream angle and slide up behind that big rock with the white line through it that is in the shade (looks to be about chest high). Delivery would probably require a sink tip or 10' poly leader attached to 15' of leader and two bb split shot 18" in front of the top fly to get deep and would probably use a weighted top nymph (dicatated by the food sources on that river) and under the nymph about 24" behind a size 18 soft hackle unweighted fly (again dictated by the food sources). Cast has to be on the seam closest to shore don't let the fly line land over the fishes heads but get a slight curve to allow the leader and flys to go closer to mid-stream. Retrieve the line at current speed with your tip close to the water (reaching over the rock) you are going to have to watch closely or use a spotter to see the fish flash / turn as the flys pass by. An alternative might be to go hands and knees in front of the big rock (stay in the shade but get closer to the waters edge). Once positioned in front of the rock and at the waters edge feed your line in to the current behind you and perform a water load cast to the same place. That second approach would give you better control on your retrieve and the water load cast would keep your rod tip below the fishes window maybe. One of those two would be my first cast for whatever it's worth.

Regards,

Tim C.
 

flav

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I'm with you, Matt, I've pretty much only hooked fish if they're rising. I've caught a few on nymphs at the head of pools like that, where the surface has a bit of riffle and it's usually a bit shallower and quicker, but few out of the deep and slow stuff on nymphs.
Either way I approach low and quiet, trying to use rocks or trees to hide me or at least mask my silhouette. I've never felt the need to crawl, but I do stoop low, and I will cast from my knees or sitting on a rock to keep a low profile. In the photo you show I'd prefer to come at the pool from the other bank where the big rocks are in the shade of a pine. If there isn't a good way to approach close, then I go with an upstream approach and a downstream drift. Unless the fish are rising that's not a place I'd devote a lot of time to, I like to cover water and find easier fish.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Do you know of the 'Scarecrow' tactic?

Make a model man, nothing intricate, just some stuffed old clothes, a filled bag for the head and a hat. Stick it at the best casting position and leave if for a couple of days.
Return in the dark and substitute yourself for the scarecrow. Stand still, rod ready, as dawn breaks, then cast. The fish will be used to the shape on the bank and won't be aware of the deception!

What!??! Too much hassle? Bloody part-timers!
:D

If your knees can still hack it, crawling and casting from a kneeling stance may help. I know some pools here where one must if you're not going to put the fishes down but thankfully heather and peat bog is easier on the joints than gravel. Just keep as low a profile as you can or get there and wait 10 mins or so, as still as you can. Take up smoking, it passes the time most pleasantly. You'll have time to observe and perhaps target a particularly good fish before wetting your fly.

Not all of my advice is worth taking. ;)
 

patrick62

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Similar to the scarecrow is the "Stand Still for 15 Minutes" technique, after which they think I'm a tree.

I've got pools and runs like this on my regular routes. The number one thing is to get low and stay there as far as possible.

AFter that there are options. Long rod, long leader, no line on water (Tenkara comes to mind.)

Shorter rod from a somewhat concealed position at the head of the pool, and feeding line out after a short cast.

Off the top of my head I'd probably go with number two, and use a two fly rig with a weighted nymph up top and something lighter, nymph or soft hackle, below. The point fly will swing around and lift as the cast plays out.

If you spook them stay put and wait for them to stop freaking out. Or say the hell with it and move on.
 

jayr

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We have water that clear and often times clearer down here in the Smokies. Not as big a pool as that, but we also have the added "benefit" of overhanging trees, rhododendron, laurel, etc.

What I do is what Ard does, keep as low a profile as possible, keep the false casts to a minimum and try to use the natural cover to hide as you approach.
 

denver1911

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Great topic. My answer? “Don’t.” Seriously. When I choose a fishing location, a lot of factors go into it. In general though, I go to where I can catch fish on that day. I pass over water like that some days and just move on to where the fish can be caught by me. I’ve seen people park by such nice areas thinking it is a great place: Nice, deep, slow moving, lots of fish, etc. I think: All those fish, no cover for me, line will spook them easily, these fish get fished to a lot, I’m moving on. What many people don’t realize is that just above or below locations like this there is probably some great fish that CAN be caught more easily. If this means I am a poor fisherman, so be it. I just like to stack the odds in my favor.
 

el jefe

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I think Denver has a pretty good answer there. One thing about fish in such a pool, particularly when they are deep, is that they are more likely resting and sheltering, and not actively feeding. Unless they are actively moving and feeding, you'll have to hit 'em right on the nose with a fly and **** 'em off to catch 'em. They are also going to have a lot of time and very clear vision to examine your fly. I never have much luck in those kinds of pools, as tempting as they look when you can see all those fish, but your mileage may vary.
 

Lewis Chessman

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The 'scarecrow tactic' is from one of the finest UK fishing series ever, 'A Passion For Angling', of which there are a few full episodes on YouTube and many clips. It's mainly coarse fishing with one episode on Atlantic salmon of which there are a few minutes here. It's often rather twee and old school English but it has a charm and the camerawork is quite wonderful.

YouTube

Regrettably, I can't find the full Scarecrow scene on line but this interview with the cameraman, Hugh Miles, has clips of this and also the chaps hiding high in a tree whilst hunting carp ..... Once hooked they have to jump!
See here, mins 28-29.

YouTube

and here for the tree jump (6:40 ff).

YouTube
 

trev

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My impression based on the rocks in foreground being 20' and the man appearing so small is the pool is about 100' wide and 25' deep, so, I'd probably skip that hole.
But the low profile, use of shade and putting the large rock either in front of or behind you to break up your silhouette are all useful strategies for similar smaller pools. Another might be to stand far enough away from the water that you are out of the fishes attention area and cast overland to put the fly down where wanted.
I have waded right into a gin clear pool, then done the stand statue still for 15 minutes bit and had fish become used to me being there to the point of them sheltering in my "wake".
If you do scare them; nothing is lost and you will have learned a "not to do". The fish won't stay down forever.
 

satyr

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I'm with Denver on this one, I generally just walk past this kind of pool. The only time I will fish this is if I can get to the very top of the pool and cast downstream and let my flies drift into the pool. But even then, I would only give it a few casts before moving on to water where I know I can catch fish.
 

jzim

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Anyone get on all fours and come face to face with a snake?
 

Ard

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Anyone get on all fours and come face to face with a snake?
Only when I was photographing them.



I spent enough time on all my favorite streams that I knew where to look for whatever someone ask for. I took that photo and many more using a Minolta SRT film camera loaded with Kodachrome 64. Back then I did guided treks for people who had relocated to my part of the country. That yellow phase eastern timber rattler turned up right where I had predicted to my clients it would. Near the confluence of Randall Run and Francis Branch. It was a great day with deer - black bear - fox - bobcat - porks - rattlers and to top it off I hand caught a really nice brown trout right there in the Francis Branch for them because they had never seen a brown trout.

When I tell you guys that I've spent my life outdoors I'm not exaggerating, even now getting older and hemmed in by the Alaskan winters I still manage more time outdoors than most outdoor types.
 

silver creek

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