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5 Tips for Scouting a Trout Run

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March 15, 2013

5 Tips for Scouting a Trout Run

By Kirk Deeter

I often preach about the importance of slowing down and watching before you make casts. The trick to catching more trout with flies, in my mind, has less to do with perfect fly patterns and long casts, and more to do with actually knowing where the fish are and what they're up to. The only way to figure that stuff out is to sit down and watch.

There are tricks to more effective run scouting. Here are my five top tips:

1. Get as high as you can, then as low as you can. In other words, seek a vantage point above the river, like high on a bank, even up in a tree. Once you get to the high ground, you want to keep a low profile, and not go jumping around so you will stand out and spook fish.

2. Put the sun behind you. This dramatically increases the risk of you casting shadows on the run, and shadows spook fish. But I'll trade that for a brighter clearer picture.

3. Find the right polarized glasses. As we discussed earlier, I think finding one pair of all-around glasses that you trust is more effective than wearing 10 different tints for 10 situations.

4. Learn to identify what is NOT a fish. The sooner you lose the distractions, the easier it is to tell what the real fish are doing.

5. Confirm your information. When you see a fish rise, don't barrel right down into the river. Watch it happen again. Then slowly slink into position. The more you understand why fish are behaving a certain way, the easier it is to catch them. You can't capture the why with one glance.

Comments (13)

Top Rated
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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I got as high as I could, and couldn't even cast afterwards...bad tip.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

HAHAHA

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tkbone wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

My favorite Jeff Foxworthy "Might be a redneck" applies to clinchknot's comment - you might be one if you're too drunk to fish!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Scouting upstream? Stay behind the fish.

Number 5 is something one needs to hear a thousand times.

Love number 4. I made about 40 casts to a carp in dirty water until I realized it was a traffic cone. It was even moving in the current.

good tips.Thanks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Thought I made a comment here yesterday but it's not here today? Maybe I'm on what Clinch is talking about. By the way, Clinch, that is a pretty good one.

I like to stand in the river at the bottom of the hole to observe what's going on. Puts me closer to the action plus all my sneaking is done. I just stand there and become one with the hole, picking my cast. Once had a 20+ inch trout snuggle up to my boot while I was observing a hole. Guess I got a little too close that time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from abcdpete wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Kinda like that scene in The Last Samurai where Tom Cruise is surrounded by assassins and he visualizes the entire battle move by move before a single drop of blood hits the ground. Ninja fishing at its finest. Waaaaaaataaaah!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Here's the problem with that guy up there getting high. I can almost smell that whacky tobackie. A guy walks into the hole, and catches a wallhanger while he embibes...and I've been there, and nnt quite done that.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I think of it as a hunt. Only "one" cast catches the fish, all the others are wasted. Truth is flats fishing is as close to hunting as one get.
Common sense says everyone should be doing all the above just on instinct alone. Yet I still see young men running down the bank with their line in the air, seconds after leaving their vehicle.
I guess if I had to add a #6 it would be...."Stop wading unless it is the only way!" "Learn to cast!" ;)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I could differ with that "Only One" cast works notion. I have thrown a bigger, waking, steelhead fly, and had a steelhead swirl at the fly, and not take it. Then I've dropped down in size, ....the big swirl, and fish on. The big fly got the fish excited, and focused, and the smaller fly caught the fish. A two fly teamwork concept.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Clinch, you missed my point.You can throw a hundred casts, but only one hooks up solid (though bedding fish can be fooled repeatedly). My point is that it's better to take each cast as "the one", rather than flail the water repeatedly, like so many newbies are prone to do.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

haverod...OK, so I will take the contrarian point again. I have stood in a riffle, and pounded casts upstream, and out, in rapid casts let's call them...shorter casts without a lot of line in the water. Finally up comes the fish. In my mind I created a hatch...bug after bug coming down until the a fish takes. But I do agree with you. In most instances the first cast is your best chance to catch a fish. That is why I move my feet in a riffle after a cast, or two. Hate to fish with a guy that anchors up, and makes a dozen casts in one spot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pfettig77 wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

what river is that?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

What river for what?...a guy anchoring his feet? Any river that isn't a popular drive to spot, a hatchery pool let's say for example on any river. I fish the SF of the Snake the most.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I got as high as I could, and couldn't even cast afterwards...bad tip.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I think of it as a hunt. Only "one" cast catches the fish, all the others are wasted. Truth is flats fishing is as close to hunting as one get.
Common sense says everyone should be doing all the above just on instinct alone. Yet I still see young men running down the bank with their line in the air, seconds after leaving their vehicle.
I guess if I had to add a #6 it would be...."Stop wading unless it is the only way!" "Learn to cast!" ;)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

HAHAHA

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tkbone wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

My favorite Jeff Foxworthy "Might be a redneck" applies to clinchknot's comment - you might be one if you're too drunk to fish!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Scouting upstream? Stay behind the fish.

Number 5 is something one needs to hear a thousand times.

Love number 4. I made about 40 casts to a carp in dirty water until I realized it was a traffic cone. It was even moving in the current.

good tips.Thanks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Thought I made a comment here yesterday but it's not here today? Maybe I'm on what Clinch is talking about. By the way, Clinch, that is a pretty good one.

I like to stand in the river at the bottom of the hole to observe what's going on. Puts me closer to the action plus all my sneaking is done. I just stand there and become one with the hole, picking my cast. Once had a 20+ inch trout snuggle up to my boot while I was observing a hole. Guess I got a little too close that time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from abcdpete wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Kinda like that scene in The Last Samurai where Tom Cruise is surrounded by assassins and he visualizes the entire battle move by move before a single drop of blood hits the ground. Ninja fishing at its finest. Waaaaaaataaaah!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Here's the problem with that guy up there getting high. I can almost smell that whacky tobackie. A guy walks into the hole, and catches a wallhanger while he embibes...and I've been there, and nnt quite done that.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I could differ with that "Only One" cast works notion. I have thrown a bigger, waking, steelhead fly, and had a steelhead swirl at the fly, and not take it. Then I've dropped down in size, ....the big swirl, and fish on. The big fly got the fish excited, and focused, and the smaller fly caught the fish. A two fly teamwork concept.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Clinch, you missed my point.You can throw a hundred casts, but only one hooks up solid (though bedding fish can be fooled repeatedly). My point is that it's better to take each cast as "the one", rather than flail the water repeatedly, like so many newbies are prone to do.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

haverod...OK, so I will take the contrarian point again. I have stood in a riffle, and pounded casts upstream, and out, in rapid casts let's call them...shorter casts without a lot of line in the water. Finally up comes the fish. In my mind I created a hatch...bug after bug coming down until the a fish takes. But I do agree with you. In most instances the first cast is your best chance to catch a fish. That is why I move my feet in a riffle after a cast, or two. Hate to fish with a guy that anchors up, and makes a dozen casts in one spot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pfettig77 wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

what river is that?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

What river for what?...a guy anchoring his feet? Any river that isn't a popular drive to spot, a hatchery pool let's say for example on any river. I fish the SF of the Snake the most.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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