Every steelhead angler has a special brew to catch fish: Preferred rod, reel, line and a select choice of flies.
So do I, and I used them this morning (Monday) to land several fish before I punched the time clock for work.
I fished the Chagrin River at Lake Metroparks' Chagrin River Park, a preferred late season fishing hole where I can sight the trout I want to stalk.
My choice of rods is either an 8-footer or a 9-footer in seven weight.
Meanwhile I carry an assembly of flies I wanted to drown, many of which never get wet.
One of the things I see incorrectly done - and witnessed yet again Monday - was how anglers will wade into a stream to free a fly hooked onto a rock. One angler even waded most of the way across the stream to release a stuck fly.
That, of course, spooked all the fish he was trying to cast to.
If an angler has to worry about losing flies on spawning trout then he's in the wrong line of work.
Fishermen must go well armed and expect to loose some flies. maybe even a lot of flies. That's why it's best to learn how to tie flies, many of which are uncomplicated fish-slayers.
Really, only a few simple patterns is all most of us need. Woolly buggers, sucker spawns, yarn egg patterns, Otter egg patterns, Clouser minnows are enough to do the job 75 percent of the time.
The rest is largely window dressing.
Same goes for casting. You don't need to lay out 50 feet of fly line, not with a 10-foot leader. Twenty feet of fly line is plenty, and 10 feet is often more than enough.
And when it comes to leaders I believe that an angler should go with the heaviest tippet possible and not the lightest possible. For strong currents and stained water I'll use 10-pound test tippet material; maybe dropping to 8-pound test tippet material.
I also keep a spool of 6-pound test tippet material handy but I rarely use it, saving its for really shallow water when it's also gin-clear.
The 10-pound test tippet allows me to do a better job of manipulating the fish instead of allowing the trout to run wild and through the hole, spooking all of the other fish.
I also believe that one needs to work from the tail of the hole - or pod of fish - to its head.
That way I've been able to pick off more fish, working them downstream.
Maybe some of this is elemental or maybe even goes against your own practices but they work for me most of the time. The rest of the time I'm happy just to be fishing.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn