Sight Fishing Tactics
Sight fishing can provide both the most rewarding and the most frustrating of fishing moments. Sometimes it works like magic and sometimes fish that you can see simply won't eat, like a particular bass I recently encountered. Here are a few things to try in these situations:
Watch the fish closely. A feeding fish will move side to side or up and down to grab food, open it's mouth occasionally, or just kinda act hungry. Target hungry fish with an appropriate dry fly first, if that doesn't draw a strike go to a nymph or streamer and see if they will move for it, lastly try to get the nymph or streamer right in front of the fish's nose. If you have lots of feeding fish don't spend too much time on one if it won't eat.
If you only see fish that are resting, hiding, or sluggish from water that is too cold or warm, try to give them a small presentation first and present it as slowly and delicately as possible. Sometimes even a spooked fish will open up for a tiny nymph if it basically slowly drifts right into their mouth. Sometimes hanging a small nymph in the path of or laying it on the bottom in front of a bass or other warm water fish and then giving it a tiny twitch will get them to attack. Last resort on tough fish I usually grab something big and buggy like a Chernobyl Ant, rubber legged nymphh, or big streamer. This doesn't always work but sometimes it gets the desired reaction even from tough fish.
Grab some good polarized glasses and try this stuff the next time you can see 'em.