Trout Fishing photo
JR Sullivan

It’s no secret that anglers like to pass on their knowledge, especially good tips. Although you might recognize some of those in the list below, there are sure to be others that could likely improve your chances of catching more trout.

The Right Stuff

1. Use a tube of lip balm as fly floatant in a pinch.

2. Albolene cream (available at any drugstore) is an effective fly floatant and line cleaner.

3. Line cleaner will also float your fly if you’ve lost or forgotten your floatant.

4. Fine sand will work as a desiccant to dry your fly.

5. Toothpaste will do a great job as a leader sink and will also remove the fish smell from your hands; plus the little travel tubes don’t take up much space.

6. Rubbing your leader with mud will make it sink.

7. Pulling an old sock over your rod handle and reel will protect them from damage.

8. Most insect repellents will dissolve plastics, including your fly line.

9. Putting the bottom end of a garbage bag over your foot and leg will keep you dry if you spring a leak in the lower part of your waders.

10. A safety pin should be an essential item in your fishing vest. It’s extremely helpful for cleaning out the head cement in the eye of a fly, tying nail knots, or untying wind knots.

11. Sealable plastic sandwich bags make better leader containers than the original packaging. They’re reusable, and you can easily get your fingers inside to pick out the leader.

12. The looped side of Velcro works great as a fly patch.

Simple Solutions

13. You can get a quick idea of which insects are active by looking at the spiderwebs around the stream.

14. To turn a dry fly into an emerger, simply trim off the wings and most of the hackle.

15. The easiest way to string up a fly rod is to double the line and run it up through the guides, instead of threading the leader through the guides.

16. If you’re having trouble seeing your dry fly, make a couple of short casts where you can watch the fly drift to get a mental image of what you’re looking for on the water. If your fly is backlit (you’re facing toward the sun), it will appear darker than the water surface in most cases. If the sun is behind you, the fly will usually show up lighter than the surface.

17. You can increase your hookup rate when fishing really small flies by offsetting the point of the hook slightly from underneath the shank.

18. Warm water carries less oxygen than cold water, so when water temperatures get high, trout will congregate in riffles and in pools below tumbling water where the oxygen content is increased.

19. The easiest way to carry a fly rod through streamside brush is with the handle pointing forward and the rod held horizontally behind you. It will follow along like a small pup and rarely get caught on anything.

20. Stream trout hold at the front of rocks as well as in the slicks behind them. The water flow against the front of the rock creates a cushion of still water on the upstream side, and a trout holding there will get the first chance at any food coming by.