Posts Tagged ‘reading water


Fly Fishing: Impressionistic Patterns

Today, I was perusing a book by Darrell Mulch called Reading Water, An Illustrated Guide to Hydrodynamics and the Fly (2001). The book has a lot to contemplate while presenting materials about the holding patterns of fish in various hydraulic scenarios. 

reading-water-illustrated-guide-hydrodynamics-fly-darrell-mulch-paperback-cover-artOn the very last page, a section entitled The Beginning, there’s a passage that I thought interesting: “However, in a store, flies are usually tied to either attract fish or fishermen. That is, they are made to look like a specific insect or they are made to appeal to the fishermen’s understanding of beauty. Ugly flies, though, are constructed to interact and relate to the characeristics of moving water to produce an animate behavior. The image they present to the fish is dynamic; it is seen as a cinema (a sequence of events), instead of a snapshot (a moment frozen in time).” 

The ‘Ugly Fly’ patterns in the book are scraggily, wavy patterns that move upon and under the water’s ‘roof’ as Mulch calls them. I like the Cinema (fluid movements) vs. the Snapshot (static) idea. I have long suggested the impressionistic pattern is preferable to the perfect replica pattern on many occasions. Rather than being my excuse for sloppy tying, perhaps Mulch has given me even another reason to tie my unkempt patterns.



Fly Fishing: Reading Winter Waters

Sandy River at Oxbow (SwittersB) PP


“Let me remind you that good “fly” water for steelhead, summer or winter, is 3-6’ deep and the current has the speed of a nice walking pace. I like to add that structure can play a key role as well… the Winter…we are looking for water that… the current has a nice walking pace speed if not slower. Structure is still very important to help stop and hold fish as they are moving upriver.” Jason Hartwick


Fly Fishing: Reading Water by Adam Reder

A nice visual for the beginner, to show/explain Riffles, Seams, the Bank, Joined Seams & Rocks importance in providing fish oxygen, feed and protection. Check out Generation Fly-Reading Water Effectively

Adam Reader on Reading Water (Generation Fly)

Nice visual and simple explanations re holding lies.

Also, a 2006 piece by Mike Gorman on where Steelhead like to hold at Gorman Fly Fishing

“….my assessment that more than 99% of the area in a typical river does not hold resting steelhead.  Most of any given river may be too shallow, too fast, too slow, too exposed, too warm, too cold for steelhead to linger for long.  The astute angler must discover the “Sweet 1%”.”


Small Stream FFing (Never forget this centering experience)

A Treasure

A Treasure

Beautiful Brookie

Beautiful Brookie

Small stream fishing brings the kid out in me and lets my imagination run wild. My mind transports me to the early 19th century and I can see the settlers crossing the streams or the Abenaki tribes trekking through the woods and meadows with great old oaks and maple trees whispering about the history they have experienced.

It’s so easy to do when you have wild land surrounding you and no signs of civilization Very Happy

Pop on an elk hair caddis or golden stone dry and start picking pockets.

I have written before that I started my flyfishing with a Sears & Roebuck, Ted Williams rod and reel. My neighbor provided one fly, a tied down caddis. He and I fished a small Oregon stream, Silver Creek with cutt throat trout. It was a small stream, with cutts lurking beneath overhanging trees and near beaver damns. This was a wonderful lab to see the take, learn roll casting, make the side arm back casts, learn the pocket water. All this is transferable to big water. This is a great beginning for any ff’er or a respite from the intensity of big fish…big effort. 

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September 2020

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