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3 Tips for Targeting Reluctant Trout

The following content is part of our Fly of the Month Club. This article is written by Peter Stitcher from Ascent Fly Fishing.

We have all had days on the water when the fish just don’t want to cooperate. We’ve sampled the water, matched the hatch, and even after tying on all of our tried and true patterns, these even fall short and fail to elicit a rise from trout. Trout get lazy or fly-shy for a number of reasons, including: heavy fishing pressure, low flows, and cold-water temperatures. If we want to avoid getting skunked and stir some life into these fish, we’re going to need to dig a little deeper into our fly box and apply the three principles found below…

  1. Go Smaller – When fishing to skittish or lazy fish, casting a large fly on the water can elicit the same response as throwing a rock in the pond – you are going to scare the fish. Paring down your flies a couple of sizes that are slender in profile tends to put fish at ease. Small insects in (hook) sizes 18-22 make up the majority of the trout’s diet year-round and presenting them with smaller flies get them ready to eat.
  2. Go Deeper – Shy fish like to hang close to cover. When trying to tempt a strike from shy trout, we need to drift deep, dropping our flies close to snags and undercut banks and dredge the depths of the deepest pools where the
    trout like to take refuge.

  3. Add Some Flash – If you want to turn around a slow day on the water, you will need to first grab the attention of the fish before you can actually catch the fish. The best way to do this is to offer them a fly that has some flash. Metal beadheads, wire wraps, white biot wings, or mylar flashbacks act to draw the wandering eye of trout and tempt them to strike!

Here are a couple proven patterns that will help you flip the script on reluctant trout:

BH Disco Baetis
Colors: Pearl, Red, Purple
Sizes: 18-22
S.O.S. Nymph
Colors: Olive, Black, Purple
Sizes: 16-22
BH Psycho Prince
Colors: Metallic Pink,
Purple, Yellow
Sizes: 16-20

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