“Eagle-Eyed Tiger” – It’s not just a cool band name. It’s a fun way to think about approaching rivers with stealth! As a big game and turkey hunting guide, stealth is a fundamental component to the game I play out in the fields and forests of Nebraska. The more time I spend on Front Range waters, the more I realize there is are several crossovers among archery hunting and fly fishing skills and tactics. The bottom line in this case: stealth matters.
The booming Front Range is blessed with a lot of great fly fishing rivers to choose from, which has led exponential growth of our beloved sport and increased traffic on our waters. This growth and increased pressure has similarly upped the challenge of fishing for trout who have been caught before (“educated,” “selective,” “wary” “wise,” etc.). With this reality in mind, we want to be mindful of our approach as we work to hook and land these experienced fish.
Let’s up our odds by paying attention to what we are wearing. Trout are wary of dangers lurking above the water’s surface. Hawks and other prey birds are constantly seeking them out for their next meal. The very motion of anglers (AND THEIR SHADOWS) has become the equivalent of a winged predator, as far as the trout are concerned. What can we do about it? Try to blend in to the river edge by wearing either camo or other natural color clothing. The bright whites or other bright colors may alert the trout of your presence. They may or may not dart away, but will still likely close their mouths while waiting for this new danger object to leave. An easy way to understand this is to think of a time in your life when you were terrified….I’ll bet you weren’t looking for a cheeseburger at that same moment.
Another thing to be aware of is your wading noise, especially once in the water. Plan your entry (or better yet avoid entry when possible) into the water to minimize impact, steps, and overall noise. Try to slide quietly through the water to get into casting position. Trout have no ears but there is a nerve that runs the length of their body where they can sense your vibrations. Move slowly and patiently…blend into the environment as much as possible. Try to stalk them in slow motion. Use your powers of observation FIRST.
The third thing to work on is your casting and presentation. I frequently watch anglers on the river as they rush their casts, and it often takes several casting efforts before they finally put the fly in the right place. Unfortunately, by the time they have done so, they have alerted the trout and the show is over. Once again, slow down and make one really good cast to put your flies in his feeding lane. First cast. Best cast.
Finally, a good pair of polarized sunglasses is a must. Many times I slowly approach the river edge and see trout feeding close by. A high quality pair of glasses is an indispensable asset to a stealthy angler…EAGLE-EYED TIGER! Without quality sunglasses, I would not see even half the trout. That would result in spooking them without ever having known about them! Still worse, as that trout darts, more may follow.
Develop your stealthy tactics, and I’m sure your trout catching numbers will dramatically increase.
Tight lines, my EAGLE-EYED TIGER FRIENDS!
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