fly fishing
   Scott Thomas Thorpe

How We Fish

Fly fishing techniques vary with the season and the water shed.Conventional upstream nymphing using a floating line, strike indicator, with natural imitations of caddis, stone flies and egg patterns can be effective in the spring, in spite of very cold water temperatures.

I'll generally carry three rods, one set up as a nymphing rig with a floating line, one set up with a running line with a slinky style sinker for deep "high stick" style nymphing and the final rod being a switch rod set up with a skagit head and sink tip for swinging a streamer. Most streams are very fast and the pools and runs are short. The running line rig is very effective at getting the fly down into these pockets quickly. I'll often fish two flies, usually a stonefly nymph and a trailing small egg pattern. In the fall, especially on the WI Brule, a swung fly can work, although not as well as other methods. Swinging is not a numbers game, but it is a very satisfying way to fish. A large sculpin pattern, or a black wooly bugger can draw some crunching takes.

The day will be spent wading and searching for fish. We'll fish the runs near gravel and pocket water, seeking traveling and resting fish and avoid harassing fish on the redds. Steelhead, like Atlantic salmon, have preferred lies at various river heights, and there is no substitute for just learning these locations through experience. Sight fishing to individual fish, before they are paired up can be very effective and exciting. If a particular river seems devoid of steelhead, we will move and search for better conditions.

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