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· Registered
213 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally managed to get a couple fish swinging a marabou tube fly on Monday in one of the Ontario rivers near me (temps finally warmed up -- try +36 C with the humidex in Toronto on Tuesday) and was looking forward to heading out this evening, only to find that I had more radiator fluid on the driveway than in the radiator! The river is in perfect shape today too, but oh well.
Anyway on to my question, Do you guys stick to a certain piece of water and fish it hard, with different flies and different tips or no tips, or do you prefer to put your fly through as much water as is possible during the day?
The reason that I ask is that many of the rivers around me have only a handful of pools or runs that set up to fish a swinging fly with, and the majority are short, fast, deep, inside edges that are next to impossible to swing a fly through under any kind of control or near enough to the bottom. So am I wasting my time fishing over fish that don't want to bite or aren't there when I should be studying, or does persistence pay off??

Thanks for the input in advance,


· Registered
459 Posts
I always move around a lot on the hunt for steelhead looking for the players (fish that are inclined to take). Thats what the guides will normally do.

Unless I am in a run/pool where I can see the fish and I feel it is just a matter of time before they go on the bite, I will stay in a location, and always think how the rest of the river is fishing before I move.

If a spate just occurred and the river is failing and I have a good pool with known "running lies" (where they stop to rest until the next move upstream) I will stay in that location maybe all day, knowing that fresh fish will be continually moving through it. They are very subsceptible to a fly just after moving into one of these lies. Problem is finding these locations, it normally takes years on your home river. Try and find them on yours.

That said there are some pools and runs which will always hold steelhead when they are in the river and there are some that will never hold steelhead when they are in. It took me a few years to figure these out on my home rivers. I don't bother fishing those locations very much.

Finally, sometimes steelhead just stop biting and sometimes they go "On the Bite" no one knows why this happens it could be water temp, rain, barometric pressure ,clouds, etc.. I have even seen guys hook steelhead in a pool they did nothing on all day and then a couple of canoes came down aggravating the fish I guess to move, and they become aggressive and go "On the Bite".

Keep casting and don't give it up, you never know when you will strike steel.

Best of luck, hope this helped.

· Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
1,771 Posts
This depends on the season for me - at daybreak on a summer day if a fish is hot it's going to torpedo your surface fly the first or second time it sees that wake. Keep moving, but if nothing happens and the pool is too good to leave tie on a new fly or a light sinktip and go thru again.

In winter the fish are much more sluggish and it pays to be a little more deliberate unless you are sharing the pool with others in which case it's proper to keep moving to allow fair access to the pool. In Europe, Canadian Maritimes and the Pacific Northwest it's customary for flyfishers to yield to others by keeping moving. I did not find this to be the case on the Salmon River in upstate NY, but the 'flyfisher' is really drift fishing with slinkies and split shot anywhere up there in Altmar and standing on one rock all day.

In the PNW, there is the potential for the drift fisherman and the flyfisherman to see things differently. Most gear folks are accustomed to camping out in a single spot for a while. Fly folks are accustomed to the traditional cast, step routine.

If someone is camped, I consider it fair game to fish below them because they are not moving along the bank anyway. This is not considered "low-holing" in my book because the downstream angler is not moving. The privilege to have the upstream angler wait to fish water is earned by the downstream angler's yielding at a fair pace by stepping downriver. I usually ask (unless it's obvious) if the angler is working downriver as I walk by. I've never had a camped out angler say "yes, stay out of there". Most of the time, drift guys look at me as if it's odd that I asked.

Fly guys on the other hand expect that they will be given the berth to work through the run provided they give berth behind them to the following angler. You can always work through a pool repeatedly if you feel it has been untapped. Sometimes I prefer to go last because I get to fish the pool without worrying who is behind me. Other times my friends the fish vacuums clean out the pool ahead of me. ;)

As far as maximizing results and enjoyment of the day, I prefer to move. There are only so many magic moments waiting to happen in a steelhead or salmon river and it's a waste to linger in a pool past the point of diminishing returns. Each pool brings a new challenge and thrill, the more the merrier.


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