Pro Tips: How to Fish to Deadfalls and Other In-Stream Wood

Written By: Phil MonahanStream fly fishers learn pretty quickly that “wood is good,” as it provides fish with protection from predators, a hiding place from which they can ambush food, and oftentimes a deep hole during times of low water. But “large woody debris” (LWD) also presents some problems: how can you get a fly in front of the fish, and how can you get a trout or smallmouth out of there once you’ve hooked it? The biggest key to fishing downed timber is to approach it from upstream. Casting down and across to a log offers you much more control of your drift, your line, and your pickup at the end of the presentation. If you fish to wood often enough, you’re gonna lose some flies to underwater snags, but this will occur much more often if you try casting from downstream because it’s much harder to stay tight to...

Classic Story: Learning Not to Count Fish in the High Uintas

Written By: Chris MorganThe brook trout in the high country were not picky, and they threw themselves at our dry flies. All photos by Chris Morgan, Two SherpasIt took me over a decade of living in Utah before I successfully ventured into the nearby Uinta Mountain range and discovered what many people already knew—that we have a gorgeous, high altitude wilderness just hours from Salt Lake City. It’s not like I hadn’t tried to love the Uintas. Over the previous years, I’d attempted a few tentative trips to the outskirts of the wilderness with my young family, but always left with swollen extremities from swarms of mosquitoes, clothes drenched from non-stop rain, and memories of sitting in soggy, loud, overcrowded campgrounds. Not exactly a great introduction, yet I continued to hear people talk about their mind-blowing experiences high in the pristine mountains with wide vistas, heavenly meadows, and tons of fish. Tons...

Video Tip: How to Avoid Hitting Your Rod With Your Fly

[caption id="attachment_50769" align="alignnone" width="1152"] Jaimie Mercer of Orvis casts to rising trout with Falcon's Ledge guide Grant Bench[/caption]Welcome to another installment of “Ask a Fly-Fishing Instructor,” in which we answer readers’ questions about their biggest fly-casting problems. Reader Larry asked for help with this: Sometimes my fly hits the rod on the forward or backcast. How can I avoid that? In this lesson, I’ll explain why a smooth acceleration is so important to a proper casting motion. If you start a forward or backcast slowly and then speed up too fast—or even worse, “flick” the rod tip—your line and fly can intersect with the path of your rod. There are three possible bad outcomes of this situation: 1. your cast collapses entirely, 2. you create a nasty line tangle that keeps you from fishing, or worst of all, 3. you nick or even break your rod altogether. Learning to apply smooth acceleration...

Pro Tip: The Keys to a Good Downstream Dead Drift

https://youtu.be/oIqvVH5hpDUOne of my favorite fishing holes in Yellowstone National Park is just below the attraction called Mud Volcano, where the Yellowstone River flows over a ledge of volcanic rock into a very deep pool. (I don’t feel like I’m giving any secrets away here, since the stretch of river is so popular.) When blue-winged olives are hatching, huge cutthroats come to the surface to feed at the center of the pool, but because the pool is so large and so deep at the edges, there’s no way to cast to these fish from the bank or from downstream. The only way to present a dry fly is to stand at the edge of the ledge, make a 40-foot cast directly downstream, and then allow the fly to dead drift. Most fly fishermen can cast 40 feet, so that’s not a problem. Achieving a good dead-drift at the end of a downstream...

Pro Tip: Reading Water part 1

Tip: Look close for fish.As guides, we always look for ways to put our clients in the best position to catch fish. One thing we forget to teach clients is all the places to look for feeding fish. We see with a lot of anglers that when they arrive at the river the first place they begin to fish is the middle of the river. I watch people all the time standing right where the fish are usually feeding.Once you get to the river, observe. This is hard because you want to catch fish so bad that you are focused on one thing. Charging into the river before observing could cost you fish.When you observe look close and work your way out. Most fish will be close to the bank in shallower water looking for food. Before you get your boots wet look upstream from the bank so you have...

Video: How to Tie Mike’s Honey Ant

Mike's Honey AntOne summer afternoon, we had a reception on the back lawn here at Orvis HQ, and we were treated to a massive flying-ant hatch. Bugs were flying into people’s hair, eyes, and ears, and it was kind of frustrating to be in the middle of a conversation and have to be digging ants out of your collar. But fly fishermen know that trout love ants, and a lot of folks began inching away from the party before it was really over, as if they couldn’t wait to get down to the Battenkill to see if the same hatch was underway over the water. There are tons of any patterns out there, but in this great video from Tightline Productions, author and blogger Matt Grobert demonstrates how to tie a simple, yet visible and effective ant that trout will surely rise to. You can view the step-by-step video at: https://vimeo.com/73238686.Mike’s Honey Ant Hook: Standard dry-fly hook...

10 Tips That Will Make You a Better Fly Fisher

 Here are 10 great tips from our friends at Orvis on how to become a better fly fisher.One of the great things about fly fishing is that you never stop learning. No matter how long you’ve been at it, there is always another technique, style, or fishery to explore. Every day, we offer tips and tactics that will help make you a better angler. Here are 10 such useful tips to help you make the most of your time on the water. 1. How to Make a Delicate Presentation The secret to a delicate presentation is in controlling the rod tip. If you drop the rod tip too early on the presentation cast, the fly line doesn’t roll out completely and instead “crashes” to the surface. Instead, the rod tip should stop at or around eye level to let the loop roll out. Only then should you lower the rod tip. Tell...

Video Tip: How to Tie On a Dropper

Tying on a dropper when you’re on the water can be a real pain for some anglers, as Steve Moore says of this video: “Tiny tippet, big fingers and small hooks all conspire to make this aspect of fly fishing difficult.” We’ve offered a couple simple methods for creating the standard hook-bend dropper knot–see here–but Steve shows another great way that makes use of your hemostat. I have found that, no matter the knot, there’s no method for tying it that works for everyone, so I always enjoy discovering new methods that will help more anglers be able to get the job done.Written By: Phil Monahanhttps://youtu.be/5e2wei5_mTw...

Video Tip: How to Tie the Classic Renegade

The Renegade is one of those classic attractor patterns that doesn’t necessarily look like anything in nature but has consistently caught fish for decades. With fore and aft hackles like its relative, the Bivisible, the Renegade floats well in rough water and looks buggy enough to bring fish to the surface. Plus, the contrasting hackles make the fly easy to see in all kinds of light. In his latest how-to video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions walks you through the process of tying a Renegade, explaining how to choose the right hackles, orient the peacock herl, and make a clean thread head.https://youtu.be/RyUUqi3HnfkRenegade Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here, a Dai-Riki #300), sizes 12-18. Thread: Cream, 8/0 or 70-denier. Tag: Gold/silver Mylar Tinsel, extra-small. Rear hackle: Brown. Body: Peacock herl. Front hackle: Cream or white. Head: Tying thread....

Tip: How to Mend Line

Here is some great advice on mending line from our good friend Tim Linehan. Enjoy!I remember the day the light bulb went off for me. I was standing shin deep in a small New Hampshire stream under the colorful fall foliage canopy while several brook trout rose in front of me. I was a rookie angler but had finally managed to learn how to cast without embarrassing myself. It wasn’t pretty, but it was beginning to work. However, I knew little about the importance of drag-free drifts and the extent to which they contributed to the success of catching trout. I was vaguely aware of the term “mending,” but the concept hadn’t really taken hold. I’d make a cast, drop the fly right in front of a fish, and immediately the current would grab my Elk-Hair Caddis and swish it downstream so fast it was impossible for anything to grab it. Then...