It’s a fact of life. Many of us who are lucky enough to have beautiful, clean, trout water nearby don’t actually have a whole lot of options when it comes to fishing spots. Not all of us are geographically blessed with expansive world-renowned native trout fisheries, no-name bluelines, or even copious amounts of heavily stocked water, but we might just be lucky enough to have that one stretch of water. You know the one, that somehow someway doesn’t get picked-over by spin fishermen on opening day, gets stocked by the local DNR from time to time, and might even have a few wild holdovers. Yeah, that stream. Not quite the stream of dreams, but it’s “your” stream, and you love it anyways.
Of course, you can always trek a bit further and explore new water, but you don’t always have time for that. You’ve been known to hit this little slice of heaven for an hour or two before work, after work, or even on your lunch break. You’ve fished every last bit of trout-holding water on this beat more times than you can count. Don’t let things get stale, use these tips to keep things interesting on your home stretch…
1. Switch positions
This one seems obvious, but it might not feel that way when you get to the river. You know that saying? Old habits die hard. They really do. Instead of fishing the same pools, in the same order, from the same spots, try approaching things from the other side of the stream if you can. This will challenge you to look at your go-to runs from a totally different perspective, make different casts, and ultimately prepare you for a wide variety of potential scenarios down the road. Plus, it might catch more fish.
2. Practice makes perfect
90% of this game is the presentation. Pick a day and commit yourself to a fishing method that you’re not particularly comfortable with. Maybe try drifting that nymph-rig without an indicator. If you’re usually swinging streamers, how about some classic upstream dry fly fishing? What about that famed hopper-dropper rig you’re always hearing about? Ever tried rigging one up yourself? You get the idea. Every moment on the water is a learning moment, but you can use time on your local water to deliberately learn new methods.
3. Film it
The only thing harder to achieve than the “perfect” day of fishing is the “perfect” day of filming fishing. Once you commit to filming it’s not enough to find, fool, and land that beast of a brown trout, you have to then make sure that you get the right shot of that fish. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself wishing you had never landed it in the first place. If you like high-stakes and high pressure, bringing a camera into the mix is definitely something you should consider.
4. Bring a friend into the mix
How many of your non-fishing friends have told you that they “like the idea” of fly fishing? If you’re like the author and talk about this sport way too much, then the answer is probably quite a few. The fact is that there are even more people in your life who would love to be introduced to the sport than have mentioned it to you. A successful day on the water is extremely rewarding, facilitating someone else’s successful day on the water is even more satisfying. Give it a shot and spread the love.
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#2 is one that I’ve committed to as of late. I’m not a big fan of nymphing, but I’ve understood the importance of it, and I’ve committed to doing it even when I know there are better options.
That has led to some less than stellar days on the water, but my knowledge and skill have steadily improved because of it. Trust me, a lot can be learned from getting out of your comfort zone.