Speed of the Water Effect On Trout Flies
Now lets discuss another, huge factor is how well a trout is able to see an insect
or your fly – the speed of the water. In fast moving water with a broken surface,
the trout must make a very quick decision as to whether to take or reject a fly.
The speed of the water doesn’t just apply to flies drifting on the surface of the
water. The same thing applies to a nymph or larva moving through the water. In
fast moving water, the trout cannot take their time in deciding whether or not to
take the fly.

The speed of the water is the number one reason trout can be fooled by generic,
impressionistic or attractor type flies. In fact, if the water in the current seam is
moving fast enough and the trout are holding fairly close to it, they can often be
fooled by a fly that doesn’t resemble much of anything they have ever seen
before. Due to the factors I have mentioned above and the fast speed of the fly
they don’t have much opportunity to examine anything.

In smooth, slick water where the current is moving at a slow rate, the trout has
plenty of time to make a very close inspection of your fly. For years I have said
that you want a fish to see any artificial bait or lure just well enough to think it is
a real creature but not well enough to determine that it isn’t. In other words, you
want them to be able to just barely see it – just enough for them to think it is the
real thing. The same thing is true of flies. It doesn’t matter if it is a twelve-inch
long marlin lure, jumping in and out of a wave in offshore blue water; a crankbait
passing by a bass in dingy water, or a fly passing by a trout in clear water. You
want the fish to see the artificial imitation only well enough to fool it into thinking
it is the real thing. The more the lure or fly looks and acts like the real thing, the
longer you can allow the fish to examine it. In other words, the slower it can pass
by the fish. Notice I said “acts” like because that is even more important than
“looking like” whatever you are trying to imitate. A solid brass nymph cast to
perfection exactly like the real thing won’t fool a trout very well. It’s abdomen,
gills, legs and other body parts will not move and act like a nymph.

When you are fishing for trout with flies, the faster the water is moving, the
easier it is to fool them. When trout can only get a quick glimpse of the fly they
are much easier to fool than they are when they have a lot of time to closely
examine the fly. This is especially true when it passes by at close ranges where
they can really focus on the details of it.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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