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Stealth Fly Fishing

Stealth Fly Fishing Stealth Fly Fishing

Stealth Fly Fishing can be summed up with an old saying "Walk Softly and carry a Big Stick" Before you head out to your favorite Sierra Nevada stream; take a good look at your equipment. When you stalk the Wild Trout of the Sierra you will use all six of your senses. These six senses are sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and intuition. Since Fly-Fishing is not a static sport you must also consider the dynamics of the environment you occupy.

SIGHT: Your sight can be improved with a good pair of Polarized Sunglasses and a pair of side blockers. Wear a wide brim hat to prevent direct sunlight into your eyes. If you are standing in the middle of a stream and looking directly up stream you will not see fish very clearly. However, walk over to the side of the stream and look perpendicular to the water flow. Your vision into the water will improve significantly. Look for spider webs with insects for clues to the most recent hatches.

SOUND: Now stand on the side of the stream with your eyes closed and listen to the sound of the water. If you are in a long slow running pool you may only hear the sound of a rising trout. False cast your fly a few times over the water and listen to the sound your line makes. Now cast upstream and listen for the sound of your line hitting the water. Did it make a crashing sound? Open your eyes and take two steps toward the center of the stream. Look at the wakes your legs made and watch how far those waves travel into the pool! What types of boots do you wear? Are your soles, rubber, felt, felt with metal cleats, or chain slips overs? Did your steps make any noise on the bottom?

TOUCH: When you stalk Wild Trout you will need to know the environment that Trout live in. Touch the water with your fingers. Is it cold or warm? Better yet take the temperature. Touch the bottom with your hand. Is it muddy, sandy, or gravel? Turn over a few rocks to determine the food supply. These things are all time of year dependent.

TASTE: Since the mid 1970's our water supply has had Giardia, a painful bacteria. Do not drink the water… and do not eat the Aquatic Insects. Terrestrial insects are a different story some are very tasty.

SMELL: Take a slow deep breath and try to smell the clean air around you. Do you smell the fresh air after a rain shower, the Cedar, the Wild Azaleas? Smell the water if you want to … clean water should not smell.

INTUTION: Now that you have your five physical senses in order it is time to use your intuition. Think back a year or more when you were fishing this same spot or one just like it. Are the conditions the same? If you were walking along in a High Desert and smelled sage would you remember to use a Grasshopper pattern? Sitting along the bank and watching Trout rise will give you an indication of what and how they are feeding.

Look for fish in their feeding stations. Trout normally feed up stream or on the side of a rock. They do this because it uses less energy and food will flow to them. The aquatic food drifts past their feeding station and the trout move up or down, left or right. Cast up stream and let the fly drift to the fish. Since the trout will be looking upstream they will not see you if you are behind them. If you are to the side of the fish make sure that you do not cast a shadow on their position. Also consider how you are casting; too many false casts will also spoke fish.

While walking up stream try to avoid the slow pools, try to walk around as not to spook these fish. Trout do not hear sound they feel it through vibrations. When you walk on top of a bank those vibrations can also be felt by the trout below.

The clothes that you wear are very important. Try to match your clothes to the surrounding environment. Consider the decked out the dude or dudette with Christmas tree lights on the stream. Get rid of those shiny zingers and stainless steel hemostats. They will give off a reflection that the fish will see. What color is your reel? Dark or polished? Don't forget your watch, rings and eyeglasses.

Your fly line, consider using a clear or light colored line to prevent spooking the fish. The last two years I have been using a new tippet material made of Fluorocarbon. It works well I have a hard time seeing the tippet and my catch rate has also gone up.

Stalk Trout in the stealth mode and watch your catching results improve.

Rich is affiliated with the Tracy Fly Fishers out of Northern California. Check out his website or drop him an email at [email protected]

Rich Lobrovich

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