Scouting Report: Watch the water and plan your path. Rings on the water mean that fish are eating bugs off the surface. Wakes indicate baitfish chases. Identify weedlines, areas with submerged structure, shallow flats, and foamlines that suggest current breaks. These spots are where the fish you can't see are often holding.
Sneak Attack:** Figure out which way the wind is blowing. You'll want to kick into place upwind from your target zone. But don't kick into casting positions; your feet should make long, slow, quiet beats to brake your momentum, and set you up for accurate shots as you drift along.
Bright Idea:** Consider the angle of the sun as you plan your approach. Surface eaters--especially trout--are reluctant to point and feed straight into brightness, unless strong currents are flowing from that direction. And be mindful of the shadows you create.
Think Ahead:** In flat water, presentation really matters. Lead your fish and let the fly sit--more than you would in moving water. When you hook up, gently kick away from the feeding alley to move the fight to open water.
Silent Retreat:** After you've drifted through a zone, if you want to hit it again, gently kick out into open water well away from your target fish before going into "motor mode." As a rule, if you're kicking like a swimmer within 30 feet of the fish you're chasing, you're ruining your odds. And do all of your digging for tackle and rerigging at a safe distance from the fish zone.
From the August 2013 issue of Field & Stream_