Thursday, December 27, 2012

Favourite Types of Fishing

Cliche: Ask ten fly fishers what their favourite type of fishing is, and you'll get ten different answers and a fist-fight.

Okay, maybe not, because I'd wager a reasonable sum that 4-6 of those guys would say "stream fishing with dries," at least if you asked people involved primarily in trout fishing. 

Well, for some reason I spend a lot time during winter sitting around, reading fishing books, and wondering (for no determined reason) what I enjoy doing most regarding fly fishing.

Maybe it's so I can plan the next season the best.  No.  I play each season by ear pretty much every time 'round.

Maybe it's to rationalise the type of fishing I do most often.  No.  I do a pretty even amount of various fishing types each season.

Most likely it's just to exercise my thoughts, and figure out why I enjoy fishing the way I do.

What are my favourite types of fishing you ask?  Well, trout, for starters. I do spend some time fishing for alternate species, mostly walleye, pike or goldeye (as long as we still consider whitefish and grayling as "trout").  I'm pretty much game to fish for trout wherever, whenever, as long as I get to go and have a reasonable chance of success.

I do prefer to sight fish, if possible, while on streams.  This doesn't always work on the smallest streams, as the trout are frequently too small to see easily, but if I can get those small guys on a light rod and dry flies, I'll be happy enough.
Andy with a good rainbow caught on a small dry during an evening hatch.

But where I differ from many, is that I love to fly fish for trout on lakes.  I'm not too sure why I enjoy it so much.  Many fishers look at a lake, wonder where to start, get frustrated after a couple mediocre hours, and high-tail it for the nearest river.  Not me.  I grew up fishing them, I love the peacefulness of the waves lapping at the boat, I love the strong pull of a healthy lake-fed trout, and the slight tug from a trout that has just inhaled my offering, regardless of the fact that they can take some time to figure out.

A fat lake-rainbow that succumbed to a small shrimp pattern fished in shallow water.
No doubt streams have their charms.  They are mysterious.  You wander up and down, higher and further into the unknown, and you get to discover different stretches that can be very different from others, making the stream seem even more novel.

I love spotting large trout along the banks of famous rivers that most people fish with heavy nymph rigs, dredging the bottom while I sneak along with a 4wt rod and a dry dropper rig, letting me suspend a tiny nymph in front of a clever trout.  But I enjoy spotting large trout on stillwaters, using the same rig and rod as on streams to fool them, as most people kick along, dragging large leech patterns behind a float tube on a clear sinking line.

Now, don't get me wrong, I use sinking lines, and nymph rigs, and pretty much whatever type of fly is needed to catch trout that day, but I acknowledge my preferences.  I tend to give each preference a shot before getting desperate and begin my searching with my heaviest gear and largest flies. 

Nick with a nice rainbow caught while sight nymphing with a #18 pheasant tail nymph.  Photo by Andy Tchir
Fly fishing should be visual, if it's possible.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that I enjoy sight fishing when conditions allow it.  Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it allows me to spend my time on distinct targets, which allows me to concentrate on big fish, if I can find them.  After that, I like to be imitatively searching with flies that are comfortable to cast on my favourite rods, which is a nicely generic qualification that is flexible from person to person.

Only after that, would I say I like to catch fish rather than not. 

Nick Sliwkanich

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