Question: I’ll be fishing some western spring creeks for the first time. I live in Maine, and I’ve never fished for really wary trout before. Do you have any tips?
Answer: Those of us who live on the East Coast are not accustomed to fishing in very clear water for really spooky trout, especially ones we can see. When I first went out to Montana to guide, I was astonished by how different the fishing experience was when you could actually spot individual fish.
Your question calls to mind an excellent 5-step strategy devised by Bill Tapply, who sadly passed away last week. He was an extremely methodical angler who paid attention to all the details on the water, but he explained his approach very simply.
Step 1: Locate the Fish.
If you can spot a fish or see rises, this is simple. If there are no visible trout, you need to focus on the most likely holding water. Tapply notes that the largest, wariest fish often hold in places that are hardest to cast to or where it’s very difficult for an angler to get a good drift. This is no coincidence. Look for big trout in slower water, in shadows, and close to obstacles, such as weeds or wood.
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