My mantra in fly fishing is be flexible and let the trout tell you what to tie on the end of your line. There are good fisherman who only fish dries and others who only fish nymphs, streamers or wets. But the best fisherman I have fished with could fish all of them good and were flexible in there approach to fishing.
A guide trip I did last weekend once again reinforced the need to be flexible in your approach to fly fishing. Friday I stopped by the river to check it out as Saturday morning I had early guide trip. The river was just right for some decent early caddis dries and maybe an olive hatch in the morning with it predicted to be overcast. Well mother nature thru some heavy showers into the mix overnight Friday. When we got to the river the water was much higher and more than a bit off colored. My first thought was crap this day just got tough. I changed a few flies I had set up in my pack and we head to the river. We fished the first section with only a couple of tugs on the line.
After about 2 hours I decided we needed to change sections of the river. From keeping a journal for the last 20+ years I know of a few sections of this river that will start to clear faster than the rest of the river. We headed to one of the spots and the water was still running high but much clearer. They rigged up with a nymph and indicators and started to fish the seams of the current. I put myself right between them so I could coach them thru this kind of fishing. They both picked it up fast and were getting good drag free drifts but no fish, then on a quick pickup to recast one of them hooked up, after a minute and a half the fish came off. The light went on the fish were holding on the outside of the seam and picking off emergers. I had them both take off the indicator and showed them how to do a Leisenring lift. This is where you cast above suspected fish holding water or were you know fish are holding. You dead drift the fly until just before it reaches the fish, you then quickly raise the rod tip so the fly swims toward the surface. The fish will rise up and take the swimming nymph. After a few minutes he hooked and landed another fish this time it stayed on and we landed a nice rainbow of about 15”. A few more missed fish his brother hooks up with a fish that missed the fly twice. After a good fight he landed a tiger trout about 14” long it was a one of the best tigers I have seen come from this river. If we had not changed tactics it would have ended up a fish less day.
So keep your eyes and mind open it just might tune you in to help keep a day from being a bust.
I was then out Sunday evening with an old friend who i have not fished with in far too long. We almost decided to not head out but after checking flows we headed to a class 3 wild trout stream about 20 minutes from my place. when we got there the water was high but clear enough that the fish would be feeding. We dropped into the first pool and fished nymphs for a while with only a few hard takes that were missed to show. we moved down to a sweet run that always gives up a few trout. it did not disappoint as we took a few 9-10" wild browns from this stretch. We fished down thru the rest of the area we planned to try with out any more action.
We then moved up to the area above were we started, this is a deep pool just below a road culvert. I had a couple of takes and broke a fish off as did my buddy. He then noticed that there were a bunch of fish at his feet that were feeding.He had just broke off and did not want to retie, so I moved up into his spot and found several fish flashing just below were I was standing. I put a sulphur emerger on and covered it with some mud to sink it. on the first drift a fish took and the fun was on. After a few good runs and head shakes I landed a beautiful 16" rainbow that was solid muscle. This fish was a great way to finish off the evening we packed it up and completed the night over a club sandwich and chicken tips at a local pizza place. All in all a good weekend made better by flexibility.