My Fly Fishing Axioms

by Fly Fisherman

A list of fly and fish axioms that I’ve picked out of my notebooks is herewith presented, again not as final, flat declarations, but as facts that I have found true and effective more times than not.
Tailing or bulging trout is the signal to tie on a nymph. Large rolling fish are interested, usually, in a nymph or wet fly.
Dimpling may mean a tiny fish or a whopper—seldom of medium size.
As a rule, larger flies will catch larger fish more often than will smaller flies,
Success will be greater early in the spring, on any water, with large dry flies, streamers and nymphs.
Use darker toned flies in clear water and bright weather. Use darker toned flies at dusk or evening. Exception to
this rule is when it is extremely dark, with overcast
sky. Then switch to light flies.

On dark days or in the evening, wet fly patterns with tinsel bodies, tinsel ribbing or tinsel tips are usually of greater value.
If you can see your fish and can ascertain whether he’s large or small and you can control setting the hook, strike as fast as you can on smaller fish, but the larger he is the slower the strike. (That’s a lot to advise, and I know the complexes that hinder it, but it does work.)
During the heat of summer, except on extremely high altitude streams, fish are more receptive to flies during early morning and in the evening. The water surface is cooler than at midday and usually the fish are finding it more comfortable. This applies, of course, to those periods when there is no hatch on the water.
When food is scarce fish will take more chances than is ordinarily the case. If the food is abundant the trout are wary, wise and exasperatingly choosy.

Now, my friends, we come to the topmost requisite to suecessful fly angling. Should every condition of the leader and fly, its size, color and pattern be perfect, and the APPROACH and the PRESENTATION be lacking in quality, the whole effort is wasted to the degree of poor versus good in these very important essentials. Regardless of the type fly you may be fishing, if it is one that fits the day and the stream conditions, it will be taken, if at all, without delay if presented correctly and never when not tendered properly.

Faulty judgment in determining your position, near or actually in the water, is one substantial condition that causes inferior results and has a greater effect on your “luck” than amateurish or inefficient casting of your fly. Do examine the situation carefully—indifference is an attitude that is intolerable to success—study all the angles, then put yourself in the spot that your judgment dictates is best, in spite of obstacles and obstructions, providing it is physically possible without endangering yourself.

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