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

By Kent Klewein

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,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “The Best Way to Improve Your Trout Game

  1. I experienced this last year when we fished the Snowy Mountains in Australia. By far, the hardest place to catch fish that I have ever fished. When you walked out of the bush or over a ridge, you would see all the trout scatter. We fished there for 3 days and learned you had to approach all the fish from behind and under cover. In 3 days, I caught 3 fish and every one of them were casting up stream and had to have a perfect drift back down. And my buddy, who is newer to fly fishing wasn’t able to catch one fish. Contrast that to the Frying Pan where I pulled out over 2 dozen rainbows on my first trip there. Good article.

    • I fly fish on some catch and release ponds that get hit hard by good fishermen, so I am constantly testing and improving. One of the best things that has helped me is using the drop shot method under an indicator, loop knots and unweighted #20 flies. By using a very small weight below the flies, the trout can’t suck in and expel it without me seeing it on the indicator.

  2. I fish mainly for a small species of Brycon (Brycon henni) in Colombia’s Coffee Zone. Exactly a year ago I found that I could fish in a small river just 5 minutes from home. There was a problem: It was the hardest of the rivers I know until now. The firts time I had two good strikes, one of them was a really good catch. Then nothing. For months… nothing. Now I am getting the rythm of the river, and my catches are more frequent and -what matter most- more consciuos. Every day I get to know better the river and myself. Still I have more slow days than “good” days of fishing. The important thing is to be in the water.

  3. Timely write-up… I got humbled last weekend. Laziness and complacency on my part. Splashy mends, lining over fish. etc. Thanks for the reminder and kick in the pants.

  4. stealth in everything, approaching water to rig and presentation. I learned more from a great guide in a few days than 20 years on still waters! Light gear, TnT LPS#3 or Scott G#3 with a #2DT line and furled leader made catching the impossible, possible.

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