Introduction to Fly Fishing: Reading The Rise
Oh, there's fish rising! So the hustle down to the water, the plop into the stream, hurry and get your fly out......and nothing. I see this mistake all the time.
To become a skilled fisherman, you must be able to read the water and the environment around you. You also have to know what the fish are eating. They are not going to just take anything you chuck at them. If you are able to read the rise, you can stack the odds in your favor.
Read the rise? What do I mean about reading the rise? Fish feeding behavior alters with the food group they are feeding on. You’ve probably never had a delicate streamer bite, have you? There are 5 basic categories of fishing rises. You also have to be able to read the rise to increase your chances of success.
If a trout is cutting through the water, dorsal fin exposed or just under the surface (cue the Jaws theme), it is most certainly taking nymphs or emergers. Nymphs and emergers do not move quickly, so the trout don’t have too either. This by far is their most common feeding pattern.
Conversely, if you see heads popping out of the water, backs breaking, and quicker moves, the trout are feeding on duns. Duns are getting ready to take off, they have to get there quickly.
Even quicker still is if you see big splashes, water clearing jumps, and some acrobatics in swift water. This is the caddis hatch. The caddisfly will zip this way and that across the water. The trout have to be super quick to get them, thus the aggressive strikes!
Then there is the spinner fall. The rise for spinners is best characterize by the trout slurping them on the surface in the film. A slow, meandering take with an almost kissing sound.
For you Stillwater guys, there’s no mistaking a damsel nymph take. Damsel nymphs are quite fast, contrary to most other species. Therefore, the take is best characterized by a trout darting out from cover quickly, grabbing the forage, and then doing a U-Turn back to cover.
That’s it for this edition my fishy friends…..until next time,
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags