Pro Tip: The Keys to a Good Downstream Dead Drift

https://youtu.be/oIqvVH5hpDU One 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 Ant One 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 Monahan https://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/RyUUqi3Hnfk Renegade 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...

Tip: How To Tie A Killer Ant Pattern

Ants are among the most important summertime fly patterns for both trout and panfish. When the sun is high and nothing is rising, oftentimes a Black or Cinnamon Ant can save the day. One of the great things about this fly is that you can fish it in all kinds of water–from flat eddies to riffles to bankside runs. Plus, it often works even when it has been sunk by the current or rough water. But my favorite place to fish an ant is in the mountain freestone streams near my house, where wild brookies are almost always looking up for a tasty morsel floating by. There are tons of ants on the banks and in the bushes along these streams, which means that the fish are accustomed to seeing (and eating) these nutritious insects. I’ll often fish a black ant as a dropper behind a grasshopper or attractor dry fly. The splat! of the...

Video Tip: How to Retrieve Streamers, Wet Flies, and Nymphs to Catch Trout

When rivers are blown out from runoff or rain, lakes and ponds offer some of your best chances to catch trout. Many anglers think that stillwater fishing involves little more than chucking a fly out as far as you can and then stripping it back, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The way you retrieve a fly can be the key to catching fish. Here’s an educational video that teaches you three different retrieves to use with streamers, wets, and nymphs. There are also several more tips at the end to help you decide which stripping technique to use in a given situation. Written By: Phil Monahan https://youtu.be/w9bwP2amPKU...

How to Attach the Second Fly in a Tandem Rig

Tying the dropper to the hook bend of the top fly is the most common method for creating a tandem rig. Photo by Phil Monahan A few months ago, we introduced a new weekly “Ask the Experts” Column and asked you to pose some questions for our panel of experts. Our latest question for them to chew on is: “How do you attach the second fly in a tandem rig: to the hook bend of the top fly, to the hook eye of the top fly, or to the tag end of a knot in the leader?” Their answers are below. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask our panel, write it in the comments section below. Alvin Dedeaux, All Water Guides (Austin, Texas): I use a regular old clinch knot tied to the bend of the first hook. Fast and easy, and when I want to change droppers or change the length of the tippet,...