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Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing Tips – Beginner’s Guide to Catch more Fish

I have had loads of fun days chasing rainbows at my local still water fisheries.  Rainbow trout are mostly stocked fish from local fish farms and are feed on pellets etcetera, to bring them up to a decent fighting trout weight. The average weight would be 1.5 pounds at this point.

Although these trout can grow to twenty-pound plus, trout this size can be slightly lazy and a one that has grown to 10-12 lbs would be considered a prime fighting specimen. When introduced to the fishery the new trout scurry around looking to explore their new habitat and will snatch at anything that lands on the water and so it is times like this when I enjoy rainbow trout fly fishing and these tips should help you catch them too.


How to put a smile on a newbies face!

If you are new to rainbow trout fly fishing it is these days that really entice you to stay in the sport as it can be a lot of fun. Some would argue that it’s too easy to catch trout when they are newly added but if you are introducing someone to fly fishing and trying to encourage them into performing casts correctly it is the icing on the cake when they can actually land one or two trout.

The smile on their face is more than enough to make the experience remember-able for both of you. I have contacts at my local fisheries and if I am bringing a guest newbie I will ring ahead asking for the restocking days. This may seem like offsetting the rules somewhat but where is the harm if your new prodigy is happy catching a few trout.

The real test of the fly fisher comes on the days when there is no activity but remembering the feeling of a trout hitting your fly drives you on to master the craft for the next hit.

Things to consider – help save a blank day!

When going to fly fish for rainbows there are a number of things to consider before setting off. First off if the fishery has a telephone number ring ahead and ask how the lake is fishing. Be wary of the response taking it with a pinch of salt but try to pry out what flies have been working or techniques.

This gives you a bit of time to tie up a few of the relevant patterns or learn about the techniques to give you a fighting edge when you arrive. With all this said I have seen rainbows change their minds in hours or minutes so what worked a few days ago may not work when you arrive. However, I feel its better to have the flies in the box in case they still work than try and get them when you are there.

When you become an accomplished angler you will have many flies or different sizes, colors and styles so these situations will not represent themselves as often but as a newbie, you will probably have none of the required patterns to hand.  It is really frustrating watching fly fishers new to the sport flog the water without a take when others are catching all around them. At times like this, I would intervene and offer a pattern or two to help see if they can get one to take.

Have a selection of fly lines with you!

Carry a few different fly lines with you. It is not too expensive to have at least a full floating, an intermediate and a slow sinking fly line which will cover most situations. You can also carry poly-leaders of different lengths and sink rate to get you out of a jam but it’s better to fish a full fly line dedicated to the sink depth required.

If for instance you arrive at your fishery and find the trout have decided to lay low and are sitting at a depth of twenty feet or so. It is very difficult to get a take from these trout if all you have is a full floating fly line. You can add a weighted fly to a long cast but the best you can hope is the trout see it and come up from the bottom to take it.

If however you have a full sinking fly line you can cast out and sink the full line down to the trout and hopefully induce takes from them. Its times like these that you will see the more experienced and better-equipped angler getting the fun while others are reduced to giving up after a few hours.

Did you check the weather forecast?

Wearing adequate clothing is also very important a pair of thigh or chest waders can help get the cast out further to cruising trout and away from vegetation causing havoc with your back cast. A few layers of clothing including a top layer being waterproof can help keep you warm and dry.

The weather, especially in the UK, can be very prone to change and being caught out in a shower in a boat can leave you soaked and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. It is much better to carry appropriate clothing with you.

Rainbow trout are prone to go for lure flies rather than traditional ones but don’t let that stop you taking them. I always carry a box of brown trout flies with me when the lures are not working to help get me in contact with the trout.  Patterns like the pheasant tail nymph and the gold ribbed hares ear work just as well on rainbows as they do on brown trout and others.

Is it a buzzer day?

A style of fly called a buzzer is very good when fishing still water lakes. These patterns mimic the hatch of the emerging chironomid pupa these usually hatch on still days when the water ripple is small or non existent so they can make it to the water surface to hatch.

Having a range of different colors of buzzer are worth having on days like these. A full floating line and a bite indicator is also required as the technique is to cast and wait for the fly to swing around in the current watching the indicator for any twitches that indicate a take.

Always carry fluorocarbon!

Another item I would always carry when fishing rainbows is fluorocarbon fly leader material of different strengths.  Fluorocarbon has the special ability to appear invisible in the water and rainbow trout are very sensitive to anything attached to the fly or lure you are fishing. I have seen my take percentages go up significantly when changing from monofilament to fluorocarbon so now I always carry a few spools.

Looking for more tips on fly fishing then check out my fly fishing unleashed review!



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