Trout in the wild prefer water around 50-degrees with a rocky bottom. Missouri springs emanating in the limestone of the Ozark Mountains provide a very suitable habitat for trout.  On rivers with changing water levels the fish survive through adaptation.  As the water level lowers and the current decreases, they move toward the middle or anywhere with deeper, cooler water.  When the current is fast, they will move to the edge of the river.  They need to move to structure to conserve energy and preserve calories.

Trout with their tiny scales are able to live in moving water. This coupled with their slime coat allows them to go nose into the current expending less energy than other fish.

The major other factor that affects trout fishing is food. The trout’s eyes are located mid-range on their heads allowing them to feed either up or down from their position.  Ninety percent of their food crawls on the bottom of the river.  Much of it is immature insects and aquatic creatures.  As they grow and mature, the creatures move up in the water column eventually reaching the surface.

The basic casting procedure for all river run trout fishing is to keep your wrist stiff and below your shoulder. Learn to relax and not force your cast.  Hold the rod with the reel down and your thumb on the top of the rod.  You are casting the line and not the lure.  Using the clock face as a reference, keep your rod position between 10 and 2 o’clock.  Avoid the urge to cast hard in the forward position and drop you rod tip in an effort to gain distance.

Fly fishing anglers need to adjust they type of presentation they throw to the water level in which the trout are fishing at the moment.

If on the bottom, the best fly is one that is darker in color such as black or brown. They should be small in size and weighted to keep it off the bottom a few inches.  In the mid-range he can turn to Wooly bugger in a size 10 that is black, tan, and olive or even occasionally white.  This is probably the easiest level to master trout fishing with flys.  On the surface, the trout will take dry flys sizes 10 to 20, but are difficult to catch.  Trout eating on this level slurp down the fly gently as they approach without notification of their presence.

River run fly casters need to master the process of “mending.” Flys are cast up-stream and allowed to drift down.  Whether using a float or not, there is a tendency for the line to move down stream faster than the fly.  This pulls the fly up to a level higher than intended.  Point the tip of the rod toward the fly with a little slack.  Rotate your wrist in a small looping action which causes the slack in the line to land upstream from the fly.  This is mending.

As with anything self-taught, fly fishing without previous instruction can lead to errors. If you have not already done so it is advisable to attend a fly fishing school or hire a competent fly fishing guide.  There is a great deal of knowledge gleaned by doing so.  One learns the science of studying the food sources, tying knots, casting procedures and the tackle itself.


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