Author Topic: How would you fish this section of river?  (Read 152 times)

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Chris Puchniak

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How would you fish this section of river?
« on: January 09, 2020, 08:17:07 AM »


How would you fish the above section of river in Tasmania?  This wasn't a beat section, but was a practice area for us and others.

- the river is about 30-40' bank to bank, varying slightly
- you are facing downstream and it is not viable to start the beat any further down
- this is the bottom of a practice beat (maybe the bottom 10% that extends to just below the last overhanging tree) that you want to cover
- depth where you are standing is about 1.5' deep (probably the shallowest spot) and of slower flow (as you might see from the picture)
- depth is from just below the knees to nearly waist deep
- it is early summer

Ask any questions about the conditions you might want to know.

I will state later what worked for me and what I caught. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 03:08:04 PM by Chris Puchniak »
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

Todd Oishi

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Re: How would you fish this section of river?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2020, 10:27:11 AM »
I'll add my approach later, but the real pressing question is: ARE THERE ANY TIGER SNAKES IN THE BUSHES AND TREES???  :o 8) ;D
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Ionut Cotinghi.

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Re: How would you fish this section of river?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2020, 01:17:39 PM »
I would use the bushes as covers for my approach, for sure only one rod with me, I would try to go downstream and fish upstream even if I have to ruin some fishable spots.
So:
1. fish the closest, shadowy spot, maybe dry, then nymphs
2. crawl across through the water I just fished, then all the way downstream on the left hand side with nymphing rod only, broken in 2/3 pieces
3. work the beat directly upstream (sort of French nymphing)

However, looks a lot different then the pictures I saw with the actually competition beats so I would look for some other places for practice.

Chris Puchniak

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Re: How would you fish this section of river?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2020, 03:05:03 PM »
I'll add my approach later, but the real pressing question is: ARE THERE ANY TIGER SNAKES IN THE BUSHES AND TREES???  :o 8) ;D

That's a big question always!  The legs are ok in waders, but its the ones swimming up to you or on the branch or rock you grab that are freaky!
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

Francois Dallaire

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Re: How would you fish this section of river?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2020, 01:14:47 PM »
Drop a dry fly right at my feet and let it glide down.  Let some fly line out as the fly glides downstream giving it a little upstream strip just before it hits an extra fishy lie.  After the upstream twitch the fly should go back to an almost perfect dead drift since I stripped it straight up.

With about 4 feet of fly line out stop everything.  My fly is basically a streamer now. What ever line my fly line has taken in the current is the water I will sacrifice to retrieve my line for all further casts.

Raise my rod tip and retrieve my fly; dry it and drop it a little further to the left with my hand and repeat. Let it drift down until 4ish feet of fly line is out and the fly is no longer dead drifting. Swing it back to the center like a streamer and retrieve my fly again. Dry it, drop it a little further to the left.

Keep repeating till the water on the left is covered.  Always let the fly swing back to the same center line before retrieving it. I'm sacrificing this center water to avoid to much commotion on the sides.  All retrieves will be made on the same center line always.

All the other water aside from this center line should ever see is a fly coming down stream followed by my fly line moving away towards the center.  No noisy back casts. Or stripping back in fishy water. The first cast to a new line will be the most productive one. 

Repeat on the right side.  Switch to wets and repeat on both sides. By the time I switch to wets the left side should have rested for a while. Start on that side again. By the time I do the right side it should have rested from the dry action for a while as well.

I might have to bow cast to the farther sides.  Rod tip should always be upstream of the flies.

Chris Puchniak

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Re: How would you fish this section of river?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2020, 09:48:29 AM »


I ended up getting three fish in this section between where I am standing and the trees downstream, which is about 150' below (based on our results this day, that was a good result).  The fish were caught in the three orange circled areas.  I spent about 20 minutes in this section (as I had a lot more water to explore, and I knew our beats on the comp waters were going to be 500-1,500 meters long, so I wanted to get used to using my time carefully - besides, I had to meet Nishi back at the parking lot in about 40 minutes or else face the wrath of the Captain).  I suspect someone had fished this before my as I saw another comp angler come out from just upstream of this spot about 30 minutes earlier and walking along the road.

I was fishing a single dry on one rod, and then a pair of nymphs on the second rod.  There was lots of woody debris to snag up on (as you can see) so part way along I snipped off my top dropper to avoid a snag.  I started from upstream, even though it wasn't my preference, simply because the foliage was so bloody thick in the area and it was perfect conditions for tiger snakes... lol.  I expected there had to be a fish in this run, and approaching it from above might not be idea, so I would go cautiously and cover everything with a dry and nymph before setting foot in an area.

I started a little up further than I am standing (kneeling of course - the pic is taken afterwards) and drifted a single dry under the tree on the left, then down the center and into the pocket water, and lastly on the right above the woody debris.  Never further than about 30 ' down.  On the left, under the tree, I fished it very cautiously because I felt a fish HAD to be there.  Just before the dry would near the end of its drag free drift, I'd slowly lift the leader off the surface and sort of hop the dry fly back up, like a caddis hopping along.  In the pocket water I was less concerned about how I brought it up.  We weren't seeing many fish come to the dry fly this day despite an abundance of bugs coming off (some very pale caddis), so I wasn't too surprised when it didn't produce to start.  But you have to try that first.

Then I used a pair of nymphs on the left (under the tree) to drift down into the shadow area, standing upstream of the location, and giving slack just as the water deepened right where the shadows touch the water.  First pass and a brown trout took the cdc heavier nymph on the point (area 1), and I was able to pull it up away from the branches to net it.  I tried a bit longer there but without result, so I moved down about 20' to just before the rocks where they create the little plunge/pocket.  It was too tight to fish any further on the left (where the green foliage is), so I was focusing now on the right by the dead wood.  The sun was on my right, and that kept any shadows off the area I was casting to. 

I set my nymph rod down in the tree on the left and quickly dapped a dry around the spots I could access, but again nothing.  I set down the dry rod in the same tree and grabbed my nymph rod, taking off the top dropper.  It's tough to maybe see from the picture, but from that location it was not possible to cast well, but a bow and arrow cast was really good for the close range stuff.  I nymphed the center of the run fist, but nothing.  Then I slingshotted the nymph to the woody debris, starting against the two dead logs on the bank just even with the semi-circular snag on the right side of the picture.  First pass I snagged a branch under the water and I walked back upstream to get above it, and it came off with a little tug.  Then I went back to my position above the rocks, and after two more casts I caught another brown right at position 2.

I knew there had to be more fish by the dead wood, but I tried a few more casts rotating flies and couldn't get a good drift beyond where I caught the second fish as there were too many branches under the water.  I was more concerned about spooking fish now and wrecking the rest of the pool, so I erred on the side of caution.  I grabbed the dry rod and again drifted that fly downstream without success before I moved another 10' down.  I picked up nothing either left or right on dry or nymph, so moved another 10' down such that I was almost even with the patch of whitewater on the right - I was crouching mid-river though.  Dry again first - nothing.  Then with the single nymph, after getting nothing on the left side or below me, I nymphed through the whitewater and along the soft water below it where I got a third brown trout about 3-4' off the edge of the brush.  Position 3 orange circle.

I continued down one more stage (which I considered the end of my beat) but touched nothing.

Most of my nymphing was even and downstream of me bow and arrow casting.  Most of the fish took at the end of the drift as the fly lifted.

If this was a comp, I would have come back to this spot and tried again after resting it, but in practice we didn't have as much time to do that.  With more time I would have tried a small streamer too, especially under the overgrown banks.
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.