Sunday Classic / The Best Way to Improve Your Trout Game

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Don’t be afraid of technical trout water, it’s the best way to improve your trout game. Photo: Louis Cahill

The single best way to improve your trout game is to fly fish on trout water that challenges you.

I’m talking about super technical water where trout are wary and extremely educated.  The places where the smartest of trout live, where all you get is one or two shots to hit your target. These trout streams force you to maintain the highest level of discipline in your fly fishing. You have to think out every step of your approach and presentation to find success. If you fail at executing these strict requirements, you’ll almost certainly be skunked on the water.

It’s really easy for many of us with our busy schedules to focus our time fly fishing locations that allow us the most success, or should I say the easiest success. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy these easy trout streams myself, where I can immediately start catching fish within minutes of wetting my line. Just remember, if all you do is fish easy trout water, you’re going to have a rude awakening when you finally get around to stepping foot on a truly technical trout stream. You won’t find success, your confidence will shrivel, your pride will take a beating and you’ll probably feel like crawling off into a hole when it all said and done. Not only that, but you’ll also be impeding the improvement of your fly fishing skills in the process, and you’ll be no different than a kid refusing to take off the training wheels on his/her bike because it’s easier and safer.

So change up your routine, step away from your comfort zone and the rookie trout water for a while. Next time you go fly fishing, choose trout water that requires you to bring your absolute best to catch fish. Be prepared for there to be a learning curve, and some very slow days. But continue to press on and persevere, because when your fly fishing mojo acclimates to the challenging conditions, and you finally find success, the reward will trump all those banner days you previously witnessed on those rookie trout waters. Most importantly though, when you look back at your journey, you’ll find that your trout game will have shot through the roof.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / The Best Way to Improve Your Trout Game

  1. Great advice!

    I have taken this route and my first suggestion is to keep your expectations very ,low; one trout – maybe. Technical fisheries all contain wild trout and they are a very different animal than stocked fish. If you switch from stockie water to wild trout water all the rules change. The proper approach on technical fisheries is much more like hunting than fishing.

    Secondly, you will be hard pressed to improve on technical waters unless you commit to putting in a lot of time on the water.
    A casual, occasional approach will rarely cut it.

    Slow, low, clear, and bright conditions are why such fisheries get the reputation for being so technical. High stained water, dark stormy days, or the dark of night can all turn a difficult fish into easier fish to catch.

    Finally, work hard to find happy, feeding fish. Even the most “educated” trout get very stupid when they are feeding like pigs in a trough. Your success will be directly related to the feeding mood of the fish.

  2. Well stated, Rick. A nice slice of humble pie makes for better skills in the end. And you’re right, alll fish drop their guard from time to time.

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