fly presentation techniques
Unlike the active retrieve methods of the tropical, northeast, or warmwater scenes - this presentation style is one of swimming the fly in an carefully calculated manner through the complexities of the river's domain.
Steelhead fly presentation, like it's mentor the salmon fly presentation, is all in the positioning of the rod, line, fly and more importantly the resulting tension on the fly as it is swum (swimmed?) down through the promising lies in the pool.
There are perhaps dozens of famous names for these techniques and hundreds more unnamed ones, but these would be the list in a nutshell for me.
Given the three basic elements of the presentation:
variation in these three provides a wide range of combinations. Whether one casts upstream or downstream makes a huge difference. Whether one applies tension on the fly or not is everything to the swing. The finish is often when the payoff occurs.
The most simple is the classic salmon swing. You cast slightly down and across the river, then put the brakes on the fly so that it eases down and across at about half the current speed or less. If the current is faster between you and the fly, you'll need to mend to keep a slight curve in the line in the direction of the oncoming current. The current eventually straigtens out the upriver curve, so you repeat mending. This ensures that the fly swims downriver from the line which swims downriver from you. The result is that the fly positions itself in the current, facing toward the leader butt upstream, and the feathers undulate temptingly in the current. Because it is not flotsam it attracts the attention of the steelhead. If the fly is meticulously tied to appeal to some deeply buried memory in the fish's brain, or to trigger an aggresive reaction that the fish can not inhibit, the angler is in for the fight of his life from a giant silver trout.
(next: part 2 of series - setting the swing upriver)