Orvis Fly Fishing
How Far Above A Rising Fish Should I Cast?
Presenting dry flies to rising fish can be nerve racking. Sometimes it can be hard to calm yourself down to make patient and methodical casts in what always feels like a fleeting moment. Just remember that all it takes is one good cast and drift, not a dozen hurried and rushed presentations in order to get the fish to eat.
Wondering how far upstream you should cast is a question that has many answers based upon the situation you find yourself in on that particular day. Rather than trying to map out every particular angling situation possible, it actually makes more sense to categorize how far you need to cast upstream to a rising fish into the types of water conditions themselves: slow water, fast water, and clear water.
Presenting Flies to Fish in Slow Water
Slower paced water can be defined as a speed less than a walking pace of a person; slow walking water.
A fish eating dry flies in faster water is a treat. Typically you don't need to worry about spooking fish, as the fast surface speed will disguise line movements from mends or even dragging flies to some extent. Fish eating hoppers, stoneflies, or caddis flies will often set up in faster water and are more likely to take a bigger fly out of an opportunistic impulse.
Casting dries to fish that are rising in clear water can be very tricky. You can have clear water that is flowing both fast and slow, so your approach to the presentation of dries in this situation is a good combination of both fast-water and slow-water tactics.
Tips on presenting Dry Flies
Learning how far above a rising fish you need to cast is a skill than can be easily mastered with more time on the water and more time fishing a variety of water conditions. How far above a rise your fly needs to land differs greatly based on the specific condition of the drift. Sometimes a refusal from a rising trout can be more informative than a fish grabbing the fly. Always ask yourself "why" or more importantly "what did I do wrong" when that happens, and learn from the mistake by changing your tactic and presentation. Above all, make sure the fish have a chance to see your dry fly by making sure it's drifting in a direct line to the rise form.
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