Hot Summer Tip: Selecting Flies on Technical Water

“This is a type of fishing where we can throw out the “pattern versus presentation” debate. Here, both must be right. Your pre-fishing research should lead you to some suggestions about fly patterns for the particular stream at the time you’re going to be there. My further advice is to carry a number of different patterns to imitate each stage of the hatch you’re likely to encounter. If you’re going to be on a tailwater river at pale morning dun time, you’d better have two or three different emerger patterns, a few dun imitations and a couple of different spinner patterns, for both the male and female spinners (the natural males and female spinners are different colours). Be prepared to run through your fly selection often too, changing flies as soon as you’re sure that the fish has seen the last one presented perfectly. Your best odds for a take are on the first two perfect presentations. After that, your chances drop quickly. So don’t keep hammering away with the fly that worked on the previous fish, because for some annoying reason different fish often want different imitations. Yes, I know, it’s not supposed to work that way. When we find the right fly, we believe we’ve “broken the code,” meaning we’re home free and able to catch most every fish we throw at. But it often doesn’t work like that on the toughest of technical water, and you might need to try a number of flies for each different feeding trout you encounter.” Jim McLennan, Managing Editor