Fishing Tips

HELP Prevent the Spread of New Zeland Mud Snails:

Wash your waders, boots, and soles with a stiff brush and a solution of 50% water and 50% FORMULA 409 Antibacterial Kitchen cleaner for 5 to 10 minutes to physically kill and remove any snails, debris, or other unwanted hitchhikers.

Freezing overnight, or soaking in hot water above 130°F for 5 minutes has also been proven to be effective in killing snails.

Be sure to wash and treat your boots and waders before you enter another stream.

On the Water Etiquette

We’re all quick to recognize impolite, rude, or discourteous behavior on the water. Here’s some suggestions about proper on-the-water behavior to help you set a good example.

Always give an angler already in the water the right of way. That rule goes whether you’re floating or walking the bank. Try to move on up-river, if possible. Never intrude in front of another angler. Ask if you can enter the pool or run he or she is fishing, and if given permission, always enter up-river of the other angler, giving that angler plenty of space.

Take your line out of the water for an angler that has a fish on to give that person plenty of space to land the fish. This rule holds especially true if you’re fishing down river of the other angler. Never move into another angler’s space while they are on the bank landing or releasing a fish.

Be quiet on the water. (Leave your radio at home). Preserve the peace and quiet of the river or the lake and avoid disturbing other anglers. People are incredibly unaware of how sound carries over water.

Be willing to help out another angler. Whether it’s retrieving something of theirs that is floating down the river or lending them some tippet material or a fly that is catching fish, a friendly attitude makes the day more pleasant for all.

Used with permission of Cecilia Pudge Kleinkauf,

Other Tips:

When you go to a new spot, especially a river, stop in the local fly shop and talk to them. They have a wealth of information including current and conditions (flows, hatches, etc). Although it is not necessary to buy a few flies, it shows your appreciation. You will definitely catch more fish and know you’ve supported the local shop. (tip from James D.)

When going fishing, put on your waders, boots, and vest before getting your rod out of the tube. When you are done for the day, put your rod away before taking off your gear. This will keep your rod from being stepped on, shut in the car door, etc. Take along a couple of camp or beach chairs to sit on while getting ready to fish. Take a extra car/door mat for your buddy to stand on while getting in/out of their waders so they don’t step on rocks and sticks with their bare feet. It will make getting gear on much more pleasant! Your buddy will appreciate it.

Get a good pair of wading socks with sock liners. This will save your feet from blisters if you end up hiking further than you planned in your waders and wading boots.

Want to string your rod without the line coming out of all the guides when you drop it? Pull enough line out so you have nine to ten feet of fly line. Fold it in half right above your leader and squeeze the resulting loop small enough to push through the guides. Now, even if you drop it, the line will not slip back out the guides.

If the fishing is slow, move fast. Don’t sit on one spot if you’re not catching fish. If the fishing is fast, slow down. Keep fishing a spot while you are catching fish. If there is another fisherman nearby that is not having much luck, invite him or her to fish your spot and share a fly that has been working.

An extra rod and reels/spare spools (with different lines on them) are a good idea. You never know when you might accidentally break a rod and need a backup. The spare spools/lines will let you quickly adapt to a wider variety of fishing conditions.

Most fly boxes have a place to attach a cord to the fly box. To the other end of the cord attach a large safety pin and pin it to the inside of the pocket of your fly vest where you store the fly box. This will keep you from watching your fly box float down stream after you drop it in the river.

Take time to watch what is happening on a stream before charging in. Look for rises, hatches and sips. Check the underside of rocks and logs to best match what the fish are eating.

Lubricate Your Knots – Always lubricate your knots before tightening them. Saliva works on monofilament, but lip balm or a commercial knot lubricant is better for tying knots in fluorocarbon.

Reading Water:

A fisherman needs to fully understand the fishes survival needs and behavior patterns in order to properly read a stream. When searching for trout in a river or creek look for three things.

  1. Food. The bugs will be floating in the same lines where you see foam on the surface of the water. Eddies with a lot of foam on top are buffets for the trout.

  2. Protection from the current. Look for seams of fast current next to slow current or still water. Trout will sit in the slow side of the seam waiting for food to come to them. The front of large rocks are often overlooked by fisherman. A trout can sit in the cushion of water right in front of a large rock not expend a lot of energy fighting the current.

  3. Shelter from predators. That includes larger fish, raccoons, bears, birds, and flyfishers. This shelter could be a deep hole, a log in the river, an under-cut bank or some other place he can run and hide in.

Find these three things and you will find trout. Skip water that does not have any of these things. Why waste your time fishing where there are few if any fish? Read Tom Rosenbauer’s book Reading Trout Streams for a lot more information on reading water.

Remember: presentation – where the fly lands and how it behaves thereafter – is more important than the fly pattern. Keep this in mind: a fly that is correctly presented where a fish is feeding will work better than the perfect fly presented where a fish is not.

Size of Tippet:

Divide the size of the fly by three and that is the size tippet you should start with. If you are using a size 12 fly, 12 divided by 3 is 4, so use a 4X tippet. If you get refusals and the fly matches the naturals, change to a smaller tippet, then if the refusals continue, change to a smaller fly. If fish are aggressive in hitting the fly and are breaking off, only then would I use a larger tippet.


Set your indicator to 1½ times the depth of the water you are fishing. If fishing water two feet deep, set the indicator three feet above the top fly. I have seen people fishing shallow water like this with the indicator at the top of their nine-foot leader. Just doesn’t do much good. Adjust your strike indicator and adjust your weight to the conditions of each spot you fish.

There are three different ways I rig a two-nymph system.

The first way is to tie on your first nymph to your tippet. Tie to the bend of the hook a smaller size tippet in whatever length you want and tie your second fly to the end of this tippet. You use a smaller tippet so that if you hook a fish on the top fly and the bottom fly becomes snagged on something, you only lose the bottom fly and not the fish.

The second way is to tie on your first nymph to your tippet. Tie to the eye of the first nymph a smaller size tippet in whatever length you want and tie your second fly to the end of this tippet.

The third way is to tie a smaller size tippet to you first tippet using a double or triple Surgeon’s knot. Leave only a two or three inch tag (keep it short so it doesn’t tangle) of your larger tippet from the Surgeon’s knot. Trim the tag end of the smaller tippet as close as you can to the Surgeon’s knot. Tie your first fly to the tag end left at the Surgeon’s knot. Tie your second fly to the end of the lighter tippet.

Remember to stop and enjoy the environment around you. Trout don’t live in ugly places.