The angler must approach the river with the greatest of care. Being mindful of shadows, silhouettes, and sudden movements, one must proceed with great caution. Indeed, even the intensity of streamside footfalls ought to be considered.
All the while, the fly fisher needs to be scanning the water. All the likely lies of the fish should be studied: pools, behind rocks, along undercut banks. Although the coloration of fish is superbly suited for camouflage, there are certain tell-tale signs to look for. The observant eye may perceive a shadow upon the gravel bed of the river, the quick flick of a tail, or the slightest movement on the bottom of the steam.
Upon spotting the fish, the very first cast should be made with utmost precision. Many fish, such as wild trout, will not tolerate more than one cast – two at the most.
Yet, this particular fish hasn’t chased your offering after five or six casts. Luckily, your efforts haven’t sent him fleeing for cover!
Maybe you need to get a little closer. Easy, now…
Cast again. But gently, you might be in his peripheral vision.
Hmm. Okay, switch flies. Drag a streamer right over him.
Did he just move? I think he was watching your fly! Cast again. Yes, he definitely watched it. This is good; he’s interested.
Well maybe not. Umm… switch colors? No: I know! Get even closer. From that spot, you’ll be able to get the fly to drift right into his nose. He won’t be able to resist. And you still haven’t spooked him.
What in the world?!? You’ve probably put him down. I mean, he’s just lying there and you’re practically on top of him. Oh, you’re hung up? At this point, you might as well wade in and get your fly back. That fish is not cooperating.
…a rock. You’ve been fishing to an oblong rock with some algae waving behind it for over twenty minutes? Yeah… I thought it was a trout, too. I mean, those weeds look just like a tail. And I could have sworn I saw the whole thing move. But maybe it was just the current or glare on the water.
Ugh. What a waste. That would have been a good fish if it wasn’t a rock! Twenty inches, at least. And those casts were right on the money. Again, if it wasn’t a rock.
These things do happen. Rocks are fish shaped. Or, more accurately, fish are rock shaped.
Let’s head up to the next spot. Stealth, quiet, all of that business again. I think there is a fish at the back of this run. It must be huge and hungry. I’m always getting tics when I drag deep nymphs through there. It has even broken me off a few times!
Just put your cast over there, where that downed tree with all the branches slants into the water…