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Keeping the bite going through runoff

Muddy Water

This time of year is an annual speed bump in our angling time. With freestone rivers such as the Eagle resembling something between questionable fishing water and chocolate milk. As high water turns into the norm for the upcoming weeks still water opportunities keep fishing an option. Often overlooked by many anglers some surprisingly nice fish can be caught in these ponds and lakes. Planning to fish when you know these areas have slow traffic can often yield better fishing success. Many tips and techniques for fishing ponds are out there.

Cutting the Pizza Technique

A less option cited piece of advice is to fan cast a jig style nymph and slowly swim it back. “Cutting the pizza” is a common phrase to describe how to cover water most effectively in still water. The idea is your first cast should be to your left towards the deeper water as these flies sink pretty quick. Make your cast and begin to retrieve your fly with small strips or a steady crawl. Your next cast should be towards your center. Then work your way to your right over the course of several casts. In theory you have presented your fly in an almost 180 degree strike zone. After thoroughly working one spot, move down the shoreline and repeat the process. The benefit of this approach is it presents your fly to the fish that rarely see an angled retrieve. Watch other anglers who are typically lobbing it out in a straight line and rarely change things up. That’s where the term cutting the pizza starts to make sense, instead of casting and watching a strike indicator you can cover more water and find active fish.

Flies & Location

The trick is finding the proper retrieve rate the fish want at the time your fishing try various speeds and see which one the fish want. Starting out slow is usually best. Sometimes you’ll need to speed up your retrieve to keep the fly off the bottom, even the slightest strand of debris will turn a fish off your fly. This technique will often work with a variety of jig patterns even during the same fishing trip. Some favorite patterns are a size 12 Rainbow Warrior or Copper John jig, nothing revolutionary with fly selection. Other similar sized jig patterns will also work well (Prince jig, Duracell jig.). The leader should be roughly 9 feet long and taper down to 5 x fluorocarbon will help keep the jig patterns down and will help more finicky fish bite. Trout on these bodies of water will commonly cruise typically on the ledge between the shallow rock flats and the deep water towards the middle. During midday fish can often be found on the wind blown section of the pond. Often these trout are opportunistic feeders and will readily take a well presented fly. Trout will often follow your fly back almost to your feet, keep it moving then on your next cast try a slower retrieve.

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