Question of the Week: October 20, 2020

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Question of the Week


Why are you so serious about keeping my attractor fly dry when fly fishing a freestone river?


If you want to be successful when dry fly fishing a mountain freestone river then you must keep your dry fly high and dry.  “If it aint a floatin then you aint a catchin” is just not one of my catch phrases here.  There is actually some science to the above.  Trout that live in freestone rivers have a large search image for a reason.  Because of the traditional lack of aquatic insects in freestone rivers trout have learned to supplement their diets by searching for food floating on the surface.

I always say it’s like working a 12 hour day without eating a lunch, you are tired, your feet are sore and you’re very hungry.  The problem is when you get home there is no food in the pantry, no food in the frig. and no food on the stove.  What are you going to do? You and the wife are going to go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant right?  That’s very much like a freestone river trout only it’s restaurant is the surface of the river.  Better known as the meniscus.

Trout have little or no cognitive thought; they just can’t think.  What they know is food for their entire life has been floating on the surface of the river (Meniscus).  If your attractor dry fly is floating on the mirror then it’s a good chance the trout will mistake it for a meal.  If your fly is under the surface then it’s simply not food.  If a trout had cognitive thought if would know your fly drifting under the surface is food and will eat it.  However trout have no cognitive thought so if it’s not on the surface then it’s just not food.  That’s the science of it however, like most things in fly fishing there are exceptions to every rule.

Mike Sandifer