Tips for fishing Small Dry Flies of Spring

Wow was it nice to be out casting dry flies this week on the Eagle river here in the vail valley.  With all the great warm weather this last couple of weeks, the Blue Winged Olives have made an early emergence.  After spending the last couple of months pounding a 2 or 3 fly nymph rig with split shot and an indicator, I had to re-adjust my casting technique for size 18-22 dries.  It didn’t help that I got happy feet seeing the trout rising all around me, my hands started shaking from trying to tie on a Parachute Adams at light speed.

Once I regained myself, took a couple deep breaths and remembered to cast my fly on the water and not in the water I was well rewarded.  What do I mean be casting on and not into the water?  Out of habit we are not concentrating on where our rod tip finishes on the forward cast.  When casting dry flies, I always stop my rod tip at eye level.  This does 2 things.  One the fly stops its forward motion above the water so that it settles on the surface. Second, the natural recoiling of the fly line will put just enough slack in the leader to eliminate micro drag in the all-important first few feet of the drift.  If I can eliminate any need to mend on a dry fly presentation the better.  Dry flies stay drier longer when they are cast on the water NOT in the water.

One mistake I also caught myself making was not positioning myself for a better presentation.  RULE:  The first cast better be your best cast when it comes to fishing dry flies.  Each additional cast to the same rising fish will greatly reduced probability of getting an eat of your fly.  It’s time to get into a stalking mode.  Patients is also a must have virtue when dry fly fishing.  Creating a proper angle to the fish is almost as important as the presentation. Especially when fishing the smaller BWOs of springtime to fish in slower water position is everything.  The less leader/tippet that I can drift over a trout in slow water the better my chances.  Watch a rising trout for a couple of minutes to get a sense of timing too don’t just start casting, that’s a sure way to put down a fish.

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