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  1. #1
    SClay is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    Or, to be more appropriately named, let's all laugh at the rookie.

    As I mentioned in my other thread, I am totally new to this moving water-fishing for trout, thing. But I like to think I do a fair amount or research and understand things pretty well. So here is the deal. I've been out a few times here in the Upstate NY area(just north of Albany), on some of the small pieces of water, but, pieces of water that are stocked and I have seen others catching fish out of. Spincasters yes, but apparently the fishes are there...

    So after this happened again, this morning, I figured I would post up here and see if anyone can just say, "Hey what you're doing sucks! This is what you should be doing ________". Moved through a few different flies today, zebra midges, an olive bugger, and a wee gnat looking fella'(only because they were bugging the crap out of me on the water, and even though I saw no action on the surface, I figured it wouldn't hurt.

    I got a tip from one of the guys I saw this morning, to head to a specific hole, so I did, and of course. No fishes. So one of the questions I have, since I'm pretty used to this is in saltwater, I'm thinking I should physically be able to see the fish correct? I see no logic to point otherwise. Polarized sunglasses in amber, and no fish in sight. So can I justify saying that there are no fish in whatever area I am looking at because I can see directly to the bottom? I have read brown trout are very akin to using cover, but for some reason I still feel like I should be able to visually see them.

    And as far as holding water for these seemingly elusive critters, I am in the understanding that they regularly spend time on the edge of two currents, being that other smaller critters would spin out of the faster current and then into the slower current to hopefully a waiting fish. I think that logic is pretty sound right? If not, this is one of those times where you say "No that sucks."

    But what would you guys suggest? I'd like to hook into at least one fish sometime soon, and I'm sure it is something that I am doing incorrectly. Whether it be fly selection, identifying potential holding water, or just being a total rookie. As far as the few things I brought up here, any suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Steve


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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    Your first mistake is thinking "If I can't see any fish, there is no fish there" You would be suprised where fish can hide, and how well they can. What rivers do you fish?

    Also, if you can see a fish, THEY can see you...


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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    I agree with Simms.
    Unless they're actively feeding, they're pretty well camouflaged.

    Some experienced anglers with a good "eye" may be able to spot them, but most people will spook them by getting close enough to see them.

    Yes, fishing the "seam" between fast water and slow water can be very productive.


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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    When you're first starting out you should focus less on switching flies and more on your presentation. It's more about how your fly behaves in the current than what type of fly you're using, especially with stocked fish that have not learned to key in on particular types of insects yet.

    The most important thing with presentation is elimination of drag. For simplicity's sake I won't get into the times when you do want drag, we'll consider those "advanced" techniques. Any time your line is in the current downstream of the fly and pulling the fly along behind it, this is drag. In general you won't catch many fish if your fly is dragging.

    For nymphing, the easiest tactic is probably using a strike indicator. You can cast out into a riffle or whatever your target water is and as soon as you see that indicator stop, go under or move against the current, set the hook because it is probably a fish. The problem with indicator nymphing is that just because it's easy doesn't mean it's the most effective. Any slack in your leader between your fly and your indicator increases the chances that you're not going to see a take telegraphed to the indicator until it's too late.

    A better approach is short-line nymphing, or high-sticking as some of us call it. This is where you have as little line out as possible, usually not more than a few feet beyond the end of your leader. Hold your rod tip high, maintaining a relatively straight line from the tip of your rod down to your fly. You won't cast much or very far this way, basically just flipping the fly upstream into the current. As it drifts downstream you should follow it with the rod tip so that the leader and line stay roughly straight as the fly drifts - no drag. You'll see your leader stop and go tight if a fish inhales the fly and anytime you see this lift your rod tip. Since your line is relatively taut already you only need to lift the tip an inch or two to effectively set the hook - this way if it turns out that you were on the bottom (which you should be anyway) the fly only rises a little bit and you won't spook the fish nearby. The problem with high sticking is that you have to get pretty close to the water you're targeting in order to present the fly. So use this technique when you have a tree, rock or turbulent water between where you are and where the fish might be - that way they can't see you.

    Also, when you're fishing with nymphs you must make sure that your fly is deep enough to be in the fish's feeding lane. The faster the current the more split shot you'll need to add. Your fly should be bouncing along the bottom most of the time, if you're not doing this already you will probably see your effectiveness increase once you start.

    With Dry flies you want to avoid casting your line across fast water to place your fly into slower water or vice versa. The difference in speed will limit the length of the drag free drift that you can acheive. Obviously sometimes you just have to do it but try to avoid it until you get good at mending. Mending is when, after the fly lands, you flip your rod tip up stream or downstream to throw small curves in your line to counter act the effects of drag. If the line is downstream of the fly and moving fast than the fly, mend upstream so that the line ends up above the fly. If the fly is downstream of the line and moving faster, you want to mend the line downstream so that it essentially catches up with the fly.

    I'm just regurgitating stuff that I've read about these techniques and there's a wealth of information out there. Most introductory books will do a better job of explaining this stuff than I did so start looking around. Tom Rosenbauer's guide is a good one as is Tom McNally's.

    Don't assume you can see the fish. Their camoflage is so good that often you'll only notice them after you spook them, or after you hook them. Always assume there is a fish nearby that can see you and will spook if they do. That way you'll minimize the chances of scaring off your next catch.

    "The two best times to go fishing is when it's rainin' and when it ain't."--Patrick McManus.

    www.creekaddict.com

  5. #5
    SClay is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    Great! Thanks for the replies so far everyone!

    I've read a fair amount and watched a few videos(instructional) about casting in general, and know the basics behind a drag-free float and mending line but have very little experience in putting it to practice. And I'm in the understanding that at this point in the game(spring), I should be putting nymphs on the bottom anyways correct? Unless there is a visible presence of trout hitting the top-water...

    But that makes me feel better about not being able to spot these critters. I assumed, and I was wrong.

    As far as pieces of water, so far, I've been up to the Kayaderossas(sp?), and Alplaus(sp?) Kill. And honestly, I know it's only two spots, but it's the fact the cat that I saw coming out of Alplaus had fish in his hand is what gets me, so I know they are out there. Just have to make them dig what I'm throwing at them. I'll definately try the "high-sticking", hoping to get out there tomorrow as well, just heading upstream instead.

    And are those wee midge flies a good bet at this point? I rounded up a fair spread through various online dealers, just a little bit of everything to get me started. So have a ton of different flies. But for sure, I will work on my presentation as apposed to changing flies every 15 minutes, all the flies in the world won't do you any good if you aren't catching anything at all. But I just want to make sure I'm going the right direction as far as selection goes..

    But again, thanks for all the replies, I appreciated this everyone. And honestly, even with the rain today and not catching squat, it was still an awesome day on the water. My casting has drastically improved, and being on a piece of water with no one in sight and no other noise but the running water and wind in the trees, why yes, this just may be as good as it gets. I'm sure you can all relate.

    Steve


  6. #6
    smp928s is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    Hi Steve,

    The Alplaus in Charlton is my home water. I grew up on it and still fish it occasionally just as a spring tune up. I consider myself a pretty advanced caster and have a fair handle on all the tactics that Dr. Gonzo mentioned (great summary by the way Gonzo). Having said that, I still come away with nothing more times than I would like. I think persistence is the key and it makes those times you do hit into them more rewarding.

    I have found the Alplaus to be a frustrating stream and if it were not for the fact that I can walk it for miles, and its in my parent's back yard basically, I wouldn't bother anymore. It dries up or becomes too warm in the summer to really hold a population of any trout. All the stockies in my experience get taken out of there before they ever learn to think "outside the hatchery." That being said, I have spent times on that stream throwing every fly in the book to no avail only to start casting phoebes on my ultra light and catch the limit in 30 minutes. It is a pretty stream and a great local resource though. Use it as a casting tool and to hone your skills but don't put too much stock in it and don't get frustrated.

    If you haven't done so already, you can walk the stream from the Crane Street Bridge to the Swaggertown Bridge with no problem and it is an enjoyable trek. I often walk that stretch with my camera rather than my rod.


  7. #7
    smp928s is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    By the way Steve, my name is Steve as well


  8. #8
    SClay is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    Steve, yup, that is the way I was heading today, started from the Crane Street bridge. Got about to within sight of that house right near the bridge, and figured I would work upstream then. But good, that's a relief to hear that you have similar days on that water, still not a good thing, but good to know it's not just me. But it is for sure good practice regardless. And when you say ultra-light, are you referring to spinning tackle?

    And hey, are you still in the Charlton area? I'd love to get some input on some other local waters if you are willing to share any information. I'm over in Ballston Lake, but it's all very close together. If not, that's ok too. Thanks for the reply though, certainly alleviates some of my frustration.

    Steve


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    smp928s is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    Steve,

    yup I was referring to spinning tackle. I am still in the area and my parents still live up that way. As far as streams in the area, I have heard of people having good luck on the Gloweegee although I have never really fished it. My dad fished it with good results ages ago gaining access from a farmer off Jockey Street, but that was proably 40 years ago. The Kenyetto Creek in Broadalbin (access of Fish House Road in the Galway/Broadalbin area) is a stocked creek. The Kaydeross has never been one of my favorites, its nearby so I will fish it on occasion. To be honest I usually fish in the Adirondacks (Ausable, Boquet, Boreas) or on the West Kill & Schoharie in the Greene County area, or the West Canada out near Utica. The Battenkill is only about a 45 minute to 1 hour jaunt from Ballston. Plenty of access there too.

    there is a book carried in most book stores ( I got mine at Barnes & Noble) called the Flyfishers Guide to New York. I reccomend picking it up.


  10. #10
    SClay is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    I'll see if I can track down that book. Certainly sounds from the title that it would be a huge help. Yea, my big problem with the K is the amount of trash people leave around. Sometimes I just don't understand people like that.

    Eventually I hope to get out to the more talked about pieces of water, but I am hoping to get out of my rookie-funk stage before doing so. So I don't look 'too' silly out there.

    Steve


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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    Steve's,

    I just started fly fishing this year myself , although trout fishing for a long time. I too have been skunked by the Alplaus kill, I tried down by the RTE 50 underpass and through there. Also I have had very little luck on the Kaydeross, ever ! I have been there twice this year and nothing, and fished it many times in my life, and I dont think its a very productive stream.

    I have asked the same question to all the guys working in the local fly shops, (Goldstocks in Scotia and the Fly Shack in Gloversville),(( all of which were super helpfull)) , of what am I doing wrong ? And the reply I got ....the water is still cold. So they said use nymphs with split shot and hope for the best. Wait till May and things will start "springing" into action.

    So now I am just practicing my casting so at least I can get that down when the fish decide to "wake" up.

    Although its supposed to be in the 80's this weekend..maybe there might be some hatch action I know Ill be out there..

    Traveling from Ballston, try the Battenkill (still high water and wash your stuff coming out of the river ), Walloomsac off RT 67, or the Hoosic on RTE 22 south of RTE 7......they are all popular places to go that I know of.

    -John


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    Re: The "What am I doing wrong?" thread.

    first, gonzos summary is right on.

    second...if you're having trouble enticing or detecting strikes, getting a drag free drift, spooking trout by getting to close, or casting...try a streamer. i know, i know, better to work on your skills, but it takes skills to fish streamers too. and, if the stockies are hitting spinners and phoebes, maybe a streamer will be the ticket.

    as far as the water being cold...well...i dont know about that being such a problem. i'm fishing much colder water than those streams and i got a wild fish on a dry on april 2nd and subsequent fish on streamers and nymphs...the fish will chase food if you give them a reason to do so.


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