sunny angler
Photo: Pat Burke

High light, low light

Tips for using the sun, or lack thereof, to your advantage when fishing

Low sun angle provides a significant advantage to the angler. The shadows are deeper; they’re wider and longer. In the winter months, the sun sits lower in the sky, and that shallow arc creates more shadows with less direct sunlight. Trout love the dark areas and seek them out.

By contrast, the summer solstice has the sun directly overhead. The hard sunlight beats straight down, erasing the comforting shadows and putting trout on edge.

air-lock strike indicator
The Air-Lock strike indicator (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Know your indicator

A guide to strike indicators, their best uses and setup

The modern indicator has become ubiquitous. Despite that technical-sounding name, let's face the facts, an indicator is little more than a bobber. You can call it an indicator, a flotation device, or a nymph suspender. Hell, you can call it Suzanne for all I care. But, in the end, it's just a bobber—just like the one you had on the Barbie pole that you took fishing for bluegills when you were six. Not that there's anything wrong with that, let's just be honest with ourselves.

Fly pattern should always be the last thing you change

When the results don't come, it's probably not your fly choice that's to blame

Fly selection has always been one of the most frustrating aspects of fly fishing for beginning and casual anglers. We all know the old mantra of “match the hatch” but sometimes that approach doesn’t meet muster. So when do you switch it up? At what point do you throw in the towel on the pattern you’ve got on and try something new?

winter fly fishing
Photo: Joe Rossi

Winter fly fishing: A different world

Winter is the most unique of all fly fishing seasons

Spring, summer, and autumn remain distinctly different seasons of the year yet fish in a faintly similar fashion. Blue-winged olives are a staple spring and fall hatch, while a reasonably sized elk hair caddis will produce fish more often than not for three-quarters of the year.

fly fishing Madison river
Selecting a fly on the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park (photo: John Juracek).

Does fly pattern matter?

How often is fly choice your limiting factor

Certain beliefs are so widely and deeply entrenched in our sport that they’re essentially considered givens, and rarely, if ever, called into question. One of the most closely held says that fly pattern matters. Matters in terms of success. We’re taught to believe that our choice of fly is responsible for the fish we catch, and that if we merely find the right fly, our success will know no bounds. But does it really work that way? Is our choice of fly that critical? Good question.

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