February 17, 2010
Pop Quiz: How to Catch the Spooky Sipper
By Kirk Deeter
Typically we only award prizes for our caption contests; the prize for getting the pop quiz right is the satisfaction of knowing that you are an angling genius. But this quiz is extra tricky, so I'm going to award the best answer one of the very first autographed copies of my forthcoming book, The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing, which is due out in several weeks.
You're fly fishing an ultra-clear spring creek. The current is slow. It's a slightly overcast day. You see three trout suspended in the water, spaced about 15 feet apart, in a trailing line, one ahead of the other. All of them are eating, but they're not eating dry flies. Because you never see their mouths break the surface (but you still see the bulges and waves in the water as the trout feed) you assume they are eating emergers. There is no real mayfly hatch to speak of, however. It's cold outside.
You cast at the first fish (the rear of the line)-- a very short single-nymph rig... no weight... the fly is about a foot beneath a foam indicator. You make one 30-foot cast... a perfect cast... but that fish spooks. Must be the indicator.
On to fish #2... You're going natural, and instead of an indicator, you switch to a dry-dropper rig. Now your "indicator" is a fly that looks like a real insect. One perfect cast... same result. Fish spooks and slinks away. Maybe trout understand that the grasshopper they see in March is an obvious fake...
Now you're down to your last fish... the good news is, this is the biggest trout of the three. The bad news is if you screw this one up, you're out of opportunities.
What do you do? What's your rig... and, as a tie-breaker, what is your fly? What is your trick for presenting this fly and getting bit?