Flyfishing 101, Class #5 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Flyfishing 101, Class #5

12-12-2003, 11:56 PM
George is about to fish a stream in Western Idaho to which he was
invited by an old friend. The friend asks George whether he wants to
fish up or down and George says up, partly because he is going to fish
dry flies and partly because he thinks it’s more effective to fish a river
up than it is down. They agree to meet back at the truck around noon or
George’s friend told him to never mention this river to anyone and that
the river, although not all that big (wadeable), is chuck full of
West-slope cutthroat and a few browns here and there and, rarely, a bull
trout or two.
He starts with his favorite set -up which is a tiny # 20 black midge dry
fly below which, about 2 ft., is a black chironomid, also size twenty. His
tippet is 5X. The first fly is a floater and the bottom one is just along for
the ride.
He presents a nice cast to a cut bank on the far side and his flies are
immediately stormed by two chunky cutties, both about 11 inches. He
lets out a holler to his friend who waves in return and then disappears
around a bend.
And so it goes, one fish after another, a real turkey shoot. The problem
is that all fish are under 12” including a few browns that he managed to
hook. He is a happy camper and releases as carefully as he can all of the
trout. He vows to himself that he will quit fishing soon because of
accidental mortality. But he is a bit disappointed that he has not seen any
large fish.
Then he arrives at a strange situation. He is on his knees at the tailout
of a large, and quite deep pool. On the right is a cut bank which is
bearing the full thrust of the current so he figures that the bank is well
undercut. There is a large boulder just at the head of the pool, in the
middle of the run. On the left is a huge pile of stumps and logs and other
debris and looks like it would hold fish underneath. Unlike the rest of
the river, there are no fish rising. This is the first time he has
encountered deep water, deep enough that he would not be able to cross
at the top of the pool.
If you were George, what steps would you take and in what order?
Make a list.

John Desjardins
12-13-2003, 08:17 PM
Alright a test where avoiding death is not challenge #1. This is the order of what I would do. [list=1]
Youve probably hit the spot for large fish. It's time to get rid of the midges and go to a streamer on 3 or 4X. I'd use a pattern that imitates the local forage, and maybe add weight, or a weighted leader .
Now the fun begins. You've got a couple of very different areas to fish. I would start out fishing the tailout of the pool and then the back water by the logs with short casts, then longer casts making occassional casts into the seam between fast & slow water, and then wade as far as possible into the area I have fished. My reason for choosing this is that if you fish the undercut you stand a chance of scaring fish in the backwater and, the seam between them.
After fishing the tailout, backwater & seam, I'd back out of the water then wade to a location close to the right bank. I'd add weight and start working the undercut, swimming the streamer from a couple of feet out to right against the bank, again with increasing length casts.
Afterfishing as far up the undercut bank as possible I'd back out of the water and go to the left bank (facing upstream). I'd remove the weight and try to cover any spots in the backwater I couldn't get to before.
Finally its time to go to the head of the pool. I'd fish the flats upstream of the logjam while figuring out how to fish the parts of the undercut bank which I couldn't reach from below.

John Desjardins
12-16-2003, 09:15 AM
What no more answers!!! You guys are going to make me think I actually know something about fishing. :razz: Come on, I can think of at least 1 thing I didn't put in.

Dble Haul
12-16-2003, 09:55 AM
First, I'd be thankful for the great fishing up to that point. :)

Second, to me all of the structure in the deep pool is secondary when compared to the large boulder. That spot, both in front and behind, offers fish relief from the current, an ambush point for forage, and close proximity to either bank and their related structure. I would fish the other sections carefully, but that boulder would bear the brunt of my efforts.

John Desjardins
12-16-2003, 10:36 AM
Mark, Thanks for bringing me back to reality. I completely forgot about the boulder. :chuckle: :chuckle:

Dble Haul
12-16-2003, 10:39 AM
Reality? What's reality? :eyecrazy: :eek: :p

12-16-2003, 11:42 AM
The location describes a spot that I fish on the Elk river, near perfectly.
John's strategy is a good one as far as steps by step, If I'm going to spook fish away, I'll start by moving them towards the edges of the pool Vs. the middle/deeper water. But I would approach this somewhat differently because the target fish is Cutties!, not Rainbows or Brookies.
Since the stream has Cutties, a few Browns and the occasional Bull I would recognize that Bulls are most likely sitting in this pool, most likely along the cut bank. Hence the Cutties will be very wary of moving about because when they do, the Bull's will get them. (I've had many Cutties on my fly only to see a big Bull come out of nowhere and take the fighting Cutty). I doubt many Bowns will be hanging around, they tend to be more weary about Bulls than Cutties seem to be.
So focus on Cutties! They will eat dries, even if you don't see any rise forms and even at the risk of being chased by a larger Bull. I would stick to a dry but go to a larger (size 8/10) attractor or imitation, perhaps with a heavier dropper nymph (size 14/12). I would start at the boulder, then the brush/stump pile and then the cutbank, hitting the inside and outside seams at each location. If that tactic does not work, then the streamer attack comes on, as described by John. I would give the pool (and me) a 1/2 hour rest in between attacks. My last resort would be to go with a full sink line, a heavy and large (size 2 4Xshank minnow pattern) and target Bulls sitting on the bottom.
The key here, as I read the situation, has more to do with targeted species and selecting an approach based on species Vs. focusing only on the structure of the pool.

12-16-2003, 12:03 PM
The pool sounds deep, dark, full of deadfall and scary!

I would go to a sink tip, 3x floro, biggest, nastiest wolly bugger or stone in the box and dredge the floor.

If Mr. Big is in there and sees a big chunk of protien floating by, he might just come out to play!

What do I win? :chuckle: