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Fly Selection & Presentation

Fly Selection & Presentation

Fly Selection & Presentation | Fly Fishing Rainbow Trout

Fly Selection & Presentation …….

Most of us have a really broad selection of flies in our fly boxes. In fact, some of us could use ten different flies every day of the year without using the same fly twice. So just how important is it that we get just the right fly for a given lake on a given day?

We can estimate the importance of fly selection based on how well the various fly fishers on a lake are doing. Some days, no one on the lake is catching any fish and they are obviously trying a wide variety of flies. Other days it seems that almost everyone on the lake is catching at least a few fish. Across the water, you can hear folks asking each other what they are using and almost everyone is using a different fly. In both of these cases, the selection of a fly doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I estimate that about 80% of the time, one or the other of these cases is in effect and the importance of fly selection is minimal.

So that leaves about 20% of the fishing trips where selection of just the right fly becomes important. On these days, most folks aren’t catching any fish but you see one or two anglers that are having a lot of success. They have found the right fly and, and perhaps more importantly, they have found the right way to present that fly.

On several occasions when selection of just the right fly matters, I have watched as a successful angler gives his unsuccessful fishing buddy(s) the exact same fly. And sometimes, the results remain the same. One angler is still getting fish and the other(s) isn’t even though they are now using the same fly and fishing the same water. The only difference is in how that fly is being presented.

You might think that since the right fly is only important about 20% of the time and the right presentation is only important to a somewhat lesser degree that these factors can be ignored. I suppose they can but that 20% of the time is what separates the good anglers from the so-so anglers. If, one day out of five, you can hit 4 or 5 fish an hour when no one else is catching anything, that will amount to a lot of fish over the course of a year.

The moral of the story is to pay attention to details, especially on days when the fishing is tough. When the fishing is slow, keep changing your flies and vary how you present those flies. Try different lines, different retrieves and different locations. When and if you hit on the right combination you will start to catch fish. If no one else on the lake is yet having any success, then you can give yourself a pat on the back. It feels good when you can solve the puzzle that other knowledgeable anglers have failed to unravel.

By Ron Newman

Ron Newman is a long time member of the Kamloops Fly Fishers Association and has spent the last 30 plus years fly fishing the Kamloops British Columbia area still water lakes for trophy rainbow trout. During this time Ron has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge on the subject which he has complied in his book, Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing : A Guide for Still Waters. Whether you are just a beginner fly fisher, or experienced and looking to hone some advanced stillwater fly fishing skills, we highly recommend that you pick up Ron’s book! A big thank you to Ron for allowing us to share some of that knowledge with everyone here at flyguys.net!

*** for more still water fly fishing strategies please hit up & review our still water fly fishing category here!

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Ron Newman

About Ron Newman

Ron Newman is a long time member of the Kamloops Fly Fishers Association and has spent the last 30 plus years fly fishing the Kamloops British Columbia area still water lakes for trophy rainbow trout.
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2 Responses to Fly Selection & Presentation

  1. Gord FGND says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head Ron. One year I used basically two flies all year with different fly lines and different length leader and still had great success. This was before I got into fishing chironomids and though we’re told that fish will key in on a certain colour or size I was able to do just fine with the two flies. Even with this knowledge I still carry hundreds of flies with me every time I go fishing. Probably the tier’s curse. By the way the two flies were a gold bead, black mini leech and green (cactus) muddler.

    • Rob says:

      Great article Ron! Thanks for sharing!

      Even with chironomids I find that more often than not it is the presentation rather than the pattern that is key. Like you say in the post Ron, many times I have given a buddy that’s not doing so well the exact fly that I am hammering fish on only to see them disappointed that it doesn’t work as well for them. When chironies are hatching my go to fly’s are the simple Black N Red and the KKK and I always always always exhaust my presentation options before moving on … and I very rarely need to move on! 😉

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