Fly Fishing: Don’t Overlook The Trout Water Close To You

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Don’t underestimate the trout water close to you. Photo By: Louis Cahill

When you fish your home waters day after day you get pretty good at knowing where the trout like to hang out.

But if you let your big ego convince you into thinking you know it all, that’s when the fish will put you in your place. The other day guiding, I approached a honey hole with my client and gave him the break down on where I thought he should make his first presentation. I backed up my preaching by telling him about all the big fish we had landed there in the past. I insisted that all he needed to do was land his flies off the big rock on the far bank, and he’d get a hookup. My client promptly responded, “That sounds good Kent, but let me ask you a question? Shouldn’t I make a cast on the close side first? That water looks good too?” I replied, “That’s probably not a bad idea. It definitely could hold a fish, but if it was me fishing this spot, I’d land it off that big rock and drift the far seam first.”

This is where my client put me in my place and showed me that even though I spend hundreds of hours a year on this trout stream, I’m no physic. Despite my coercion, my client went with his gut feeling and made his first presentation to the water close to him. Then, two-seconds into the drift, his line went tight and a behemoth trout came shooting out of the water like a tomahawk cruise missile. We landed the fish, and my client looked over at me with a “I told you so” grin. I smiled and said, “What…? I told you it probably wasn’t a bad idea to fish that close water.”

Just because you’ve caught trout after trout, in specific places in a stream or river, doesn’t mean they’re going to be in that exact place every day of the year. Trout aren’t chained to the river bottom. They do have the freedom to move around at will. When water conditions or food sources change, pointing trout to greener pastures, they will leave home to take advantage. Furthermore, just because that water on the far bank looks unbelievable, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to make a cast or two to the water close to you first. That being said, there are times when water conditions will have fish extra spooky and only allow anglers a couple presentations before they’ll spook. When this is the case, you’ll need to roll the dice and gamble where you think the highest percentage spot is located, and land your flies there first.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “Fly Fishing: Don’t Overlook The Trout Water Close To You

  1. This is good advice to consider. In the past I I’ve spooked tons of trout wading through what I thought was “B” water trying to get to what looked like prime water. I’ve been shocked at where I’ve spooked fish. This also reminds you to take the time to scan the water for a few minutes before making your presentation. Sometimes the trout will give away their lie and it helps take out the guess work.

  2. I would add to not overlook the waters near home that are un-fished because the reputation is they ‘don’t have trout (fill in species)’. I just got back from home in Pa where my sister said the stream running by her house didn’t have trout because (so everyone told her) it was to warm etc.. It was a good place to show her drifts so we tied on an irresistable adams and we caught dozens of wild, native brookies, the majority over 9″.

  3. Kent, I’ve recently discovered the blog and enjoy it very much.

    This summer that the unusually high water from all the rain made me change my ideas about where fish were holding in my favorite streams. A lot more fish in what was “marginal” water in normal years that I would have waded through.

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