Hatches. We plan our lives around them—vacations, workdays, weddings, birthdays, probably even some births. Though trout fishing is a multi-faceted pursuit—and thank goodness for that—it’s hard to deny the allure of the head-dorsal-tail rise of a brown trout feeding in a way that deserves its own entry under “finicky” in the dictionary. Sometimes it’s easy, more often it’s hard, but no matter what, putting the pieces together for that perfect dry fly eat is invariably satisfying. We choose the right fly. We find the right position for the ideal cast. We mend and let it drift and maybe mend it just a bit more. And then it all comes together, sometimes as gently as a feather fall, and we remember why we made those plans in the first place.
If there is an afterlife, and if it involves trout fishing, surely that fishing will occur on a spring creek. Mother Nature could not have devised a more perfect confluence of features for both trout and angler alike: cool, clear water; abundant and predictable hatches; trout that are challenging yet still susceptible; and the feeling that here, perhaps more than anywhere else, it’s okay to just sit and wait and watch. Hell, it’s even recommended. Spring creeks are their own special paradise, and as soon as you try to impose your will things fall apart. So just relax. The tricos are scheduled to arrive shortly, your appointment will be right on time.
PERFECT SETUP | SPRING CREEK
Spring creeks often provide some of the most impressive dry fly fishing opportunities for the technical angler – but they don’t come without their challenges. Stealthy approaches from the grass, shorter precise presentations, small microcurrents wreaking havoc on an otherwise perfect drift. Spring creek trout are weary in their small-quarters home and the rod, reel, and line need to match that. Enter the 486-4 TROUT LL, CLICK 3/4/5 Reel, and RIO Elite Technical Trout WF4F. The TROUT LL loads deep into the middle and bottom end of the blank while the quick tip keeps loops tight and presentations accurate. The shorter length of the 8’6” 4 weight provides the angler with more control and quicker response necessary on small spring creeks, while the RIO Elite Technical Trout fly line offers a longer front taper to turn over small dry flies with finesse.
Though it’s hard not to side-eye the dams that create them, there is no doubt tailwaters feature one of the happiest accidents of the industrial age: water maintained at a constant, cool temperature in which trout and aquatic insects thrive. It can be absurd at times, that seemingly infinite variety of insect life, and it’s hard to blame the trout for being selective. Imagine if every meal you ate, every day, had to be selected from a conveyor belt buffet that turns on and off with the predictability of the tides. You’d be a picky eater too. But therein lies the beauty of tailwaters: the fish are almost always eating because there’s no hurry to cram a meal while the getting’s good.
PERFECT SETUP | TAILWATER
“The Missouri River is a place where the small dry fly is king. If you can get a little smaller you can usually catch a few more. I still believe most of our representations of what we’re trying to emulate are still oversized. A good presentation here is king – insect is secondary – fly pattern choice is secondary in my book – placement is secondary – drift is king. If you don’t know what’s going to happen when you stop that rod tip, boy you’re in trouble. Great dry fly rods allow you to understand you have complete control over the outcome of the cast. There’s a lot of things happening out there - what I’m certainly looking for, and what I think everybody is looking for in a dry fly rod is that complete control – the R8 CORE 590-4 paired with an ARBOR XL 4/5/6 and RIO Elite Technical Trout WF5F gives me exactly that.” - Mark Raisler / Headhunters Fly Shop
Just because it’s not spring-fed or bottom-release doesn’t mean the trout—or the situation—won’t occasionally make it difficult. The beauty of getting techy on a freestone is the novelty of the endeavor. It might be an unexpected burst of BWOs after a spring drizzle or simply a cast to the bank that demands a carefully selected—and placed—dry fly; either way it’s time to pay attention, to slow down a bit, to make a plan. Dry fly fishing, when we do it right, should be self-evident; when we do it right, it should be as if there was no other way in the world it could have been done.
PERFECT SETUP | FREESTONE
Pocket water, undercut banks, log jams – just a few examples of the water types you might encounter on a freestone stream. Freestones can be unpredictable and their currents swift – a rod setup that can easily and accurately place a dry fly is critical. The quickness and accuracy of the R8 CORE 586-4 paired with a SPECTRUM LT 5/6 and RIO Gold WF5F offers the technical precision needed for technical dry fly fishing on your favorite freestone river system.