.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


The Basics: Presentation - Part 22- Finding Trout in Smooth Water
Locating trout in the smooth, flat surface streams of Yellowstone isn't always
easy. All the water looks exactly the same until you start to examine the
underwater structure. Grass, rocks, logs, banks and other things in the water all
make the current concentrate the food in certain areas of the stream. Those
areas are not so easy to detect from above the surface, even when you are
getting a good view of these objects in the water. Some of the current seams
are not that visible from a distance.

When you are standing or sitting on the banks examining the water before you
start fishing, you have to rely on spotting the trout more than the current seams.
As we said yesterday, rising trout are easy to spot compared to trout feeding
below the surface. The problem is when the trout are feeding in the smooth
water, such as parts of the Firehole and Madison Rivers, for example, unless
you can see the fish itself, it isn't easy to see the take even when the trout are
eating on the surface. Big trout can come up and just sip a bug from the surface
without making much more than a tiny rise ring. On the other hand, some small
trout may make a big splash or disturbance when they take a fly from the

The key is to get the sunlight position adjusted in combination with your best
viewing angle with your polarized sunglasses. Sometimes you can move around
and see things you cannot see from another angle. If you can spend ten
minutes looking for trout feeding and find one fish,  you are much better off in
this type of water than you would be if you just started to blind cast. The
problem with blind casting is you will normally spook more trout than you will
catch. It works in fast moving, rough surface water, but smooth slick flowing
water is a different thing. When you are not familiar with the water, I think you
are better off searching and looking for fish and bugs on the water than you are
wading and blind casting. It is easy to spook trout when you do not know where
they are. You may cast your line directly over them or you may wade right
through most of the trout in the stream. Granted, there are situations where you
have little choice. For example, if the wind is blowing hard you want be able to
spot the trout very easily. If it is near dark or early morning you may not be able
to see them very well. In some cases you have to fish blind.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh