The Rise

By Chris Scalley

When fly anglers think of dry fly fishing on the stream surface for rising trout, it invokes some of the fondest on-stream memories, for even seasoned trout anglers. You are hunting, more than fishing, in this scenario where you actually see the fish rise to the surface to the adult stage of an aquatic insect, most likely caddis flies or mayflies in the early springtime in the South. Blindly prospecting with a dry fly is most likely futile, as the bug hatch and the fish feeding activity must happen within a perfect timing window and you need to be at the right place at the right time with the stars aligning as well.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a rising trout, you must assess not just the general area in the river where the fish is located, but also the exact feeding lane that your fly should be presented in without the slightest drag, as to appear natural to the fish. Silhouette, size and color of whatever is hatching should be matched as close as possible. If the fish is positioned in faster currents, such as a shoal area, the fly selection does not have to be as exact as compared to slower meandering flat water where the fish has more time to inspect what you’re offering.

The ultimate part of this dry fly equation is the final rise to your fly. Most of my newbie clients pull the fly right out of the first few fish’s mouths from the excitement and disbelief. The trick is to say “God Bless America” right after the fish rises to your fly and then set the hook by delaying your reaction by a half a second. You have allowed the fish to turn downward in the current with a solid dry fly hook-set!

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