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WbranchJanuary 21st, 2008, 8:05 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
Casey has a good comment about bright lines being cast over rising fish and maybe spooking them. It may be true. I seldom use any of the very bright lines but I often use a Triangle taper in bone white with no problems. I also use light green and a buff. One thing that you might want to get used to doing is to false cast less (most guys false cast way too much!) If you can't throw the fly 40 feet with one false cast you need to be practicing your casting. Also if you just like to spend time false casting do so away from the target. Then when you are ready to drop the fly adjust your body position to get back on line with the riseform.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfJanuary 22nd, 2008, 9:25 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3159
Excellent tips Matt, thanks. I've been thinking a bit about this since Dano and I went back and forth on the topic some.

Perhaps if one is on a gin clear spring creek with heavy cover on the sides as in New Zealand, there is less glare and thus fish can see bright lines more easily. Then if one is on big water, with open sky, there may be more. One would have to know more about physics and light than I do--perhaps it would take some diving and looking up with a mask to determine if this idea holds water, but there may be situations in which line color matters more or less.

Also some fish seem very spooky to movement and flash, while others seem almost immune. This seems to have some relation to pressure, but I believe also that some populations are naturally more or less spooky. The fish on the Letort are notoriously jumpy, prone to flee if one blinks at the wrong time.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
FalsiflyJanuary 22nd, 2008, 1:49 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
I ran across a study, using underwater observation and photography, dealing with the troutís vision of angler, rod and floating line. As was expected high gloss finished rods especially of the flat sided cane variety developed a flash that was highly visible within the troutís window. This of course is magnified under bright conditions. It was also shown that, do to refraction, a vertically held rod increases in thickness and becomes quite distinguishable as opposed to those held at a 45% angle or less which almost disappear. A case for changing casting technique in wide open spaces.
The fly line study was done using brown green and white colored lines in the air across the window. It was shown that the darker lines where more visible against the sky but under bright sunlight the white line had a tendency to flash. With a dark background, such as trees, the white line was marginally more visible.
Next, the lines were observed on the water in the window. It was concluded that there was no advantage to line color in this situation. All three equally cut off light to the under water observer.
Finally, the lines were tested on the water in the mirror under varying reflective bottom strata. In every case the white line was described as showing up like a flash of lighting and remaining as a bright crack in the mirror. The study placed white, peach and yellow lines as equivalent.

For those of you who may need further explanation in what is termed the window and the mirror I will leave to others.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
CaseyPJanuary 22nd, 2008, 4:46 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
so my matte-finish Scott 5 wt and its dyed-dark line aren't so outlandish after all, even if the outfit isnick-named Darth Vader.

thank you, Falsifly!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
DanoJanuary 23rd, 2008, 5:53 am
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Allan,

I think what gets lost here is that in these studies, the lines/rods/anglers are intentionally placed in the window. The concept of the trout's window is not a new one, nor is the concept of avoiding that window. I've always understood that the "object" of fly angling is to place the fly in the window, not the line/rod/angler. Hence, the "standard" method of approaching your quarry from downstream and casting up and across.

Personally, I've found waters that have high angling preasure to be easier to fish than those the have little or no preasure; the fish are conditioned to all the "noise". Whereas in waters where the preasure is minimal or non-existant, the trout are far more wary of the slightest "anomaly" in their environment.

Case in point would be the main branch of the Au Sable River in Michigan. Not only do you have high angling preasure but, you have the added commotion of the high number of canoists. Can't count the number of times when a drunken group of canoists have passed me by and within a few minutes after their passing, the trout would start hitting again...On the other hand, as I mentioned previously, the waters I fish defines "gin clear". Note in the picture I posted that there aren't any riffles to speak of; the surface is nearly like glass. What with the eagles, osprey, and mink the trout in these waters are extremely wary and are the most difficult that I've ever fished. Yet, in terms of size and numbers, it's the best fishing I've experienced in my lifetime.

I don't think this is because I am uncommonly lucky or skilled. I believe it begins with my silent approach to the stream and once in it I move with extreme patience and "caution". I fish only to known or suspected lies constantly aware of the "window" and where I am in relation to it. This is why line color is of no concern to me.

Methinks that if folks were more concerned about their approach to a stream and their activities (tactics) once in it than line color and what not, their rewards would increase dramitcaly. FWIW.

Dano


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
WbranchJanuary 23rd, 2008, 6:22 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
Perhaps many of the posters are giving our quarry too much respect in relation to the size of the trout's brain! Granted if you are fishing small water where the width of the stream is less than 20' and the target is no more than 10' - 15' away from the caster then the fish may see you due to your movement and your line due to the fact that your leader may be in the 7' - 9' range.

I'd estimate that I catch well over a 100 17" - 22" fish every season and never give a second thought to whether I think my casting is inhibiting the trout from eating my fly. I seldom use a leader less than 12' long or heavier than 5x or 6x. Most of the time my tippet is 36" long. If the conditions warrant it I will go to 7x but in all but the most difficult fish 6x is very adequate. Possibly my success rate is based on the waters that I fish. I spend most of my time on either the WB of the Delaware or the main stem and two weeks in June on the Missouri. These rivers though are hardly pristine and underfished. The trout often see thousands of flies cast over them during the course of the season.

Use as long a leader as you can comfortably handle and a tippet no less than 30". I never cast directly upstream to a rising fish as I don't like the line and leader going over the fish. Ideally I prefer to be directly opposite a target or a foot, or two, below. Then I make my cast to land no more than two feet above the riseform. I take some guys out in my Hyde that I met on another forum and many of them throw way too far above the riseform than is necessary. What is the sense of throwing 4' - 6' above the riseform if the fish is most likely suspended within two feet of the surface? How do I know the depth of the fish? Well I don't exactly know the depth but if you see a trout rising steadily, every 5 - 10 seconds, there is a strong likelihood the fish is right near the top of the water column. The further above the target your fly lands gives it more chance to drag before it reaches the riseform.

On the Delaware I'm often in my boat and casting 35' - 50' to rising fish. At that distance they just are not going to see me, my false casting, (if you false cast away from the target)or my line. Actually if you are using a good leader why would they ever see the line? All they should be seeing is the leader and that might be all of .006" -.009" diameter. When I wade fish many of the rise forms I see are still 25' - 40' away and again I don't believe my casting or body plays into whether or not the fish will rise. If you feel the fish can see your form you can always crouch or kneel down into the water to keep as little of your form as possible visible to the trout's window.

On the Missouri there are certain lies that when the Tricos begin to fall the trout just clamor to get in the feeding lanes. The last few years there have been far fewer pods but there have been many times when I'd be floating by in my 'toon and see six heads coming out of the water at once. Fish that are feeding this agressively are far less likely to be even the least bit concerned with your casting motion. On pods like this I park the boat and cautiously wade upstream to get into position. On fish actively feeding on Tricos I like to get as close as possible so I see my tiny little bug. If the water has good depth I'll wade in to my waist and get opposite as mentioned before and then I pick out the bottom fish first and work my way up to the top fish so the others don't spook. If the water is shallow I still like to get close but it takes longer as I will get down onto my knees when I'm still 25' away and very slowly "crab walk" until I'm nearer the risers then the last few feet I'll knell down and just shuffle along the bottom until I feel I'm in the ideal casting range. (See Spinner "Smoke" below)

I don't want to oversimplify catching difficult fish because it is obviously not simple. Sometimes I may cast to a large trout for up to an hour before he/she eats the bug. All I am saying is that they may be cautious and wary but they aren't "smart" in our definition of the word.

Morning Spinner Fall






Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
DanoJanuary 23rd, 2008, 2:52 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Matt,

In most respects, my tactics are much like yours. The exceptions would be leader/tippet length, tippet diameter, and positioning for my casts.



This shot was taken from nearly the same position as the one I posted earlier in this discussion, only "looking" straight accross. The log is about 20' long and comes up to my sternum ('bout 4'). This side of the log, the water is almost 2 feet deep.

I normally fish with 9' leaders with 22" tippets no less than 5x and mostly 3x (about 90% of the time). Casts are typically between the 40 to 60 foot range and I try to position myself so that my casts are no more than 45 degrees up and accross. Naturally, this can vary, certainly no more than 45ļ but, this is always my first thought as this was how I was taught the best position to be in.

There are at least a half dozen Browns within the frame of this picture; all over 5lbs. Directly accross from the left end of the log, there is an outcropping (dead tree) and the resulting hole is about 4.5 feet deep. Therein lies a Brown that I'd say is in the 8 lb range. I've had him on several times but, alas, have been unable to get him to net (his first move is always the same; towards the bank where the snag is).

Any who, I'm not saying what I do is the "right way" but, it works for me and is what I'm comfortable (confident) with....FWIW.

Dano



Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
WbranchJanuary 26th, 2008, 1:51 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
At the Somerset fly show yesterday I attended a presentation by Gary Borger entitled "Trout Selectivity". During the talk he told us the IQ of a trout is 6! So smart they ain't.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
DanoJanuary 26th, 2008, 4:42 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Matt,

Well, I've never considered any type of fish to be smart and I certainly don't equate wariness to intelligence. I would, however, be interested to know what test Gary used to determine the IQ of a trout...;)

Dano


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
Shawnny3January 27th, 2008, 11:09 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I would, however, be interested to know what test Gary used to determine the IQ of a trout...;)


My guess would be a simple multiple-choice test such as those given routinely in our public schools. A '6' is actually not a terrible score considering how difficult it would be for a trout to use a #2 pencil. For comparison, I have had students equipped with opposable thumbs who have scored lower than that on such tests. I mention this lest someone wished to conclude from Gary's data that people are unequivocally smarter than fish.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
WbranchJanuary 27th, 2008, 12:34 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
Mr. Borger neglected to provide the source of his data relative to the trouts IQ. Overall the program was quite interesting. However he made a number of statements that "work" only in the instances that he provided. One was that he didn't believe that trout rise according to a specific time interval between rises that was not related to the number, or intensity, of the insects on, or below, the water's surface.

He indicated the interval between rises was not that the trout was counting "1, 2, 3, 4, rise, 1, 2, 3, 4, rise." But rather the interval was solely based on the time it takes for the trout to observe the insect, swim up to and drift down with the bug, inhale or bulge the bug, drop back down to the resting position and then repeat the process based on the amount of insects present.

His primary premise for the selectivity of trout is relative, and directly proportional to, the amount of insects present and the amount of energy needed to gain the most caloric intake with the least amount of caloric burn.

Two of my friends and me were listening to the program, one fellow nodded off against my friend furthest to the left, and I caught myself before my head hit the floor! Hey, they turned out the lights and I got sleepy.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
DanoJanuary 27th, 2008, 1:52 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Matt,

He indicated the interval between rises was not that the trout was counting "1, 2, 3, 4, rise, 1, 2, 3, 4, rise." But rather the interval was solely based on the time it takes for the trout to observe the insect, swim up to and drift down with the bug, inhale or bulge the bug, drop back down to the resting position and then repeat the process based on the amount of insects present.

So, essentially what you're saying is that he was "interesting" but didn't provide anything new or earth shattering, heheheheh...

His primary premise for the selectivity of trout is relative, and directly proportional to, the amount of insects present and the amount of energy needed to gain the most caloric intake with the least amount of caloric burn.

This would confirm my long held contention that trout are far more opportunistic than "selective".

I once met Borger at a FFF convention in Detroit back in the 80s and I do know he fished a lot on Michigan's Au Sable River chasing the Hex hatch back then. This hatch is everything one has heard about, particularly on it's East Branch. Anyone who has caught this hatch will know that "selective" and all that it implies is a very poor word to describe the behavior of trout; they (the trout) literally gorge themselves with total abandon and it's common to have trout running into your legs and not totally uncommon to be hit by a "flying" Brown...

Any who, it sounds like you enjoyed yourself...

Dano



Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
WbranchJanuary 27th, 2008, 2:08 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2723
Dano,

"This would confirm my long held contention that trout are far more opportunistic than "selective".

I agree, whatever is floating by, when they are looking up, is eaten. Often on the 'Moe I am close enough to the fish to see them eating, with equal interest, PMD duns, PMD spinners from the night before, spent caddis, Trico spinners, and the occassional land insect.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
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