Trolling action - what do you do?

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Sourdoughs, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. I believe that at different times when trolling a fly in lakes, different speeds and actions will work. Generally speaking, how do you vary your retrieve/action when trolling a fly? When trying to find out what the fish like, what different tactics do you you use?

  2. i have found that changes in direction, depth, speed, and or strip length have all caused an increase in takes. For instance, if i am leisurely trolling, i like to speed up or slow down, change directions or do anything to break up the repetitiveness of motions...... A stronger, faster kick will trigger strikes, as will a turn, a quick strip ect.
  3. A few tricks that have worked for me:

    Slow WAY down (stop even) and let that fly nearly touch bottom, then slowly start again. Sometimes a fly rising in the water column like that will really drive them nuts.

    Also, if you get a short strike, try to stop dead. I will drop the rod tip or reach back with the rod to give a little slack, to make sure the fly has stalled or, if weighted, sinks a little. This will often get them to turn around and nail it.
  4. Quite often when trolling I'll impart specific action/movement to my fly. Food forms in lakes very rarely move at a constant speed, most are simply not capable of steady progression for very far. The fish are used to seeing this and of course each food form has specific movements characteristic to its kind. For example, leeches swim with snake-like movements in the water, mayfly nymphs swim much differently than leeches and chronomids move up through the water column with their own design. If I'm trying to replicate a particular food then fishing it with it's appropriate action/movement will likely produce better results. I've continued to learn how to fish each imitation with it's matching behaviour in hopes of fooling the fish.
    Stop and go or strip and pause retrieves, rod tip twitches, flicking the fly line while trolling, slowly moving the rod tip side to side, and etc. will help mimic important food form behaviour and most of the time increase your strikes. Details such as these are fun to discover and experiment with and of course everything new we can learn from the fish and one another increases our enjoyment!
  5. Where is Sparse when we need him? Yard, care to step in with the appropriate tune for stripping a streamer...:clown:
  6. Definitely troll in some sort of an "S" pattern if you are strictly trolling. The only problem with this is that it is tougher to hook up. Also, I like to use a combination of rod jerks and strips both as each imparts a little different action to the fly.
  7. Really there are no wrong answers IMO. These are trout we're talking about. I've seen 'em hit on all of these methods plus whatever else can be thought up. Most days, best result comes from focusing more on location & activity, less on presentation (find 'em first!).

    But to stick to the subject, can't say enough about making your fly react to a miss... that right. Also works to go the panic route and start stripping hard/ wonders on larger, more aggressive fish.
  8. I prefer to troll in a "lazy W" pattern.
  9. As a couple of guys have noted straight line trolling is probably the least productive method of all that results in a hookup. I also like the "S" troll as the line sinks in one direction and rises in the other. Fish often hit hard on the outside loop as the fly raises in the water column. It is problematic because the fly line is not a straight line to the rod tip but the number of strikes compared to straight line trolling makes up for it.

    I discovered this years ago on Nunally when mid day fishing on hot days dropped off to just about nothing. Using a Kimballs Emerger on a 12' leader greased down to the last foot and kicking in wide S curves resulted in numerous takes but always on the part of the S that tightened the line.

    Another method I have seen a couple of guys master is letting the boat coast as the line drops and then giving a short spurt with the oars to start the fly towards the surface. I have never perfected this but have fished with guys that have and their success is uncanny. All are variations on the same theme though-alter the depth, speed and direction of the fly in a manner that seems authentic to the fish. When all else fails I like to put a Halfback on a long leader and a floating line and just get it way the hell out there. Then I visit, eat, watch the scenery or doze and sometimes the results are amazing. Two years ago I caught a 6# bow doing that and the take looked like nothing more than an 8'' fish. Knowing the depth of the water and having the appropriate sinking line will take you a long way as well. Ive
  10. I personally have stopped trolling a fly, with a few exceptions, I only troll if I'm moving to a different area and using my oars. I finally started just slow kicking my fins (from my pontoon) and casting and count down methed, then cast again with a different count untill I find what the trouters want. I have found this extremly more productive than trolling. I fish at Nunally 80% of my fishing time. And after 15 years of fishing it I have found this methed best. Roper how are you havent seen or talk to you since Wanacutt. I owe you a trip to Nunally with a airport view and a warm place to sleep,plus no walk in access.
  11. iagree iagree iagree
  12. Ive mentions an interesting technique. I believe the same method is described by Enos Bradner in his book Northwest Angling as "mooching" a nymph (borrowing the name from a deadly salmon fishing technique that, unfortunately, seems to have fallen out of fashion in in this day of downriggers). It can be particularly effective when fishing a Callibaetis nymph, simulating, as it does, the rising and falling "dance" of the emerging nymph. Trolling the fly has a long history in the northwest and many traditional flies like the Carey Special and the Doc Spratley were created just for that method.

    I don't troll much anymore, being much more interested in fishing emergers and dries. But it does allow one to cover lots of water when fish are not showing and, at times, can be very effective. I do troll when moving from one location to another and find a Carey Special (or, more specifically, a Sixpack) on an intermediate-sink line can sometimes save the day. Holding the rod in my left hand, I usually keep up a steady twitch with my right, varying both the speed of float tube and twitch.
  13. There is tradition in trolling but it really is "fishing with a fly" not "fly fishing". Having gotten that off my chest, I do troll when moving from spot to spot if I am in the Watermaster. The method I use is to hold the line in a finger or two in my hand on one oar while I row. The sudden (or slow) change in movement is often rewarded. Now, if it just felt like I was fly fishing....W
  14. Not to get off topic (or we could start a new topic), what is it about moving a fly through the water by kicking or paddling that makes it "not fly fishing". What do you (and others can chime in - it's free afterall) consider the essence of fly fishing? Casting? Using a fly? Using a fly and fly line and rod? Just curious.
  15. The neat thing is that if you troll flies it means that you have put away the spinning rod and the bait. That is the first step and a huge one. I do believe however that this is just a step and should be put aside as quickly as possible if you are going to become an accomplished stillwater fly fisherman.

    I guess that I just have never met many (any?) trollers who can cast well, observe hatches carefully, know anything much about entomology, imitate naturals with their flies, tie well, are able to adjust for conditions (fish shallow, not spook pods of fish, sight fish to feeing trout etc.) or generally do much more than a guy with a good collection of colorado spinners, rapelas and ford fender and worms.

    I know that this is harsh and many people who become excellent stillwater fly fisherman start by trolling. Trolling is a good way to cover water, locate fish and observe a new body of water. But even then, if you just take the time to look at the floatsome on the windward shore for insects or casings, watch the lake for activity, watch where and how birds are moving and look at the topography of the surrounding shoreline you can discover much about a new lake before you even leave the beach.

    I guess i just think that fly fishing from an anchored boat (tube, pontoon, whatever) is what stillwater fishing is about. Feeling the grab at the end of a strip or watching the end of your line move and lifting your rod to a leaping rainbow is just so much more personal.

    Good things about trolling are that you get more exercise, it is easier to drink a beer or have lunch (if you are in some kind of kick boat), you can chat with friends, take your girlfirend and your dog with you in the boat and see a lot of shoreline. All good things. But sorry just isn't fly fishing.
  16. Interesting post.

    Seems like you have identified two distinct categories of fishing, one is a beer drinking state of ignorance and the other an finely tuned symphony of skills. The only part I dont like is that one is fly fising and the other "just isn't fly fishing."

    I wonder fly fishers are though of as arrogant bastards?
  17. Name the lake buddy, I'll meet you there and prove you wrong...
    Blake Harmon likes this.
  18. I knew I was stirring a hornets nest but couldn't resist. Please note that I said "many" and it only referred to people I have met. Wayne shounds like the exception. Having said that, PM me if you would like and lets go fishing. Maybe you can teach me something. W
  19. Trolling is just another technique, like chironomid fishing or fishing emergers on a sinking line that catches fish. I feel that limiting yourself to one technique limits your catch rate. When I go fishing I go to catch as many fish as I can, which is exactly why in certain instances I'll troll. Plus, when trolling you also have to consider water depth (in relation to where the fish are holding), what the fish are feeding on (not always insects), what line to use, flies, and trolling speed will all have an effect on your success rate.
    And last, but certainly not least; leave the girlfriend at home and have cold beer to quench your thirst after pulling up a bruiser from the depths.
    Blake Harmon likes this.
  20. :rofl:

    Amen! Nice fatty, BTW.

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