Trolling action - what do you do?

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?
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.)
Name the lake buddy, I'll meet you there and prove you wrong...
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
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.


Active Member
NZ, it is apparent that you are a new guy and haven't fished with many guys on this board. But do go out with a few of them and anchor up and start stripping. By all means. But prepare to have your ass handed to you. And this BS that many of us can't read water, observe insects, tie flys, are entomology challenged, can't cast or fish shallow water and are so clumsy that we scare more fish than we catch-where did that come from?

At this point it is not clear whether you are the latest in a recent wave of young guns that come on here and try to make a name for themselves by insulting everyone or if you are simply a misinformed dweeb that has done nothing more serious than smoke his own beard or sip his own bathwater.

Time will tell I guess. Ive
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.
Maybe you should read your post before you post it. Im glad you enjoy the sport and lifestyle of a Flyfisherman. I Think you should also let others enjoy it also without your personal judgments of their styles and or fishing choices. Such broad statements and one way opinions have no place here. Who died and mad you God of Fly Fishing.:beathead:
trolling, properly done takes just as much attention and thought as any other method (and it's just that, a method). Sure it can be done mindlessly, but so can sink and strip, fishing chronies, naked or with a float, or casting dries. It's all in being present. That said, I've caught an awful lot of fish while not paying attention, but it's gotta help. I'm at least competent at every flyfishing method I've found. They are all tools.

What I'm really detecting here, NZ, is that the troller is you. :hmmm:
you're right daryl.
other than size and color of fly, when trolling you can alter depth, speed and motion of your offering. the old s pattern is so good because it changes depth and speed without the rower having to do a thing but move in an s. course this effect can be toyed with by changing rowing speed while moving in an s also. motion can be imparted by giving a strip or two, twitching the line, or any other nervous habit you can imagine. start and stop is a good technique too. I can't count the number of fish that have hit just on the first couple of pulls on the oars. slow trolling combined with line imparted action is a very effective flyfishing method.
that said, it is very, very difficult to present a trolled fly at anything near a natural speed, and to be truthful, I have never felt that the biggest, smartest fish in a lake are the ones I'm getting while trolling.
Still, I'll stick with what is working on any given day, and if I'm hooking up every time I troll over an area I'm likely to just keep trolling. If I'm anchored and hooking up every few casts I'm not gonna pull anchor and start trolling either.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I was going to add something here but I just realized that I hate to fish lakes. I'd rather just shoot myself in the foot than sit in a float tube and pull a fly around a lake.

With fins you can get quite tired if you are on a big lake. I know as I have been out of control now and then.



Be the guide...
I like to do anchoring and cast\stripping, chironomid\bobber, and dry fly fishing. And I also like to do various trolling methods, (especially when just searching) - skating\waking dries\emergers, wind drifting, deep water dredging, etc.

But there is another method I like which does not involve an anchor and does not involve trolling. I like to either use a very slow trolling motor, or fins, and cruise the shoreline casting to structure or rises. I'll do this with dries if they are keyed in on the surface, or with streamers\buggers all other times. Works great for hunting browns, bass, crappie, brookies, and other species that like to hide in structure and ambush their prey.
The true still water fly fisher is the one standing on the bow of his boat casting to the shore line or to risers with the wife rowing or running the electric motor while trolling her fly.
Cover lots of water plus the looks ya get from the guys setting with their butts in the water is priceless.

(me)Oh, honey I got another one, (her)ya me too!!!
(me)I'm getting tire, lets stop for a beer (her) you take a break I'll keep trolling
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 that right. Also works to go the panic route and start stripping hard/ wonders on larger, more aggressive fish.
Right on the money!:thumb: Getting fish to commit after they already gave it a shot is hard but both stopping and panicked fly techniques have worked well for me. Depends on the fishes mood.. got to throw 'em a mixed bag and find what works and go from there IMO.



B.O.H.I.C.A. bend over here it comes again
A great fly to troll on the westside is The Olive Willy. If I'm in my little boat with the electric motor I'll throw an Olive Willy on the end of an intermediate line and cruise around on the lowest speed. Usually just tracing the bank, as opposed to out in the middle of the lake. I troll in an "S" pattern and every now and again I'll bump it up to the 2nd highest gear and back down and then sometimes turn the electric motor on and off for a start and stop effect.

I usually troll with my legs kicked up and my rod in one hand with my my pointer finger holding the line tight against the cork of the handle. When I get a short take I turn off the electric motor (ussually spilling my coffee, beer) and make two quick strips and 9.7 times out of ten I get hooked up.
This is particularly satisfying because the hook up comes when I'm stripping and thus feels more like fly fishing than simply fishing with a fly.

I haven't been here in awhile and I'm glad to see they've added a stillwater section.