Okay, so the die-hard purist fluff chuckers may not approve of this, but one of the best ways to catch trout in the high country in the early season is to troll flies on light spinning tackle.
It’s an extremely deadly technique when the fish are up near the surface and I’ve had some memorable days in the Sierras dragging feathers and glue around. It’s a relatively simple technique, but there are a couple little things you can do to improve your success….
First off, let’s take a quick look at fly patterns. I’ve always done really well on “leechey” patterns like Wooly Buggers and articulated Bunny Leeches in olive, black and purple color patterns. These flies imitate a whole host of tasty morsels, including real leeches, small baitfish and aquatic invertebrates.
A little action
There are times when you can simply troll a fly with the rod in the holder but I prefer to give my offerings a little action. There are three main ways to do this:
1) Run the fly behind a small dodger.
Use stiff leader material and keep it short — about 12 inches at the most so the lure will receive as much action as possible from the dodger.
2) Hold the rod and give the tip an occasional twitch.
This is a really fun way to go and the strikes can be explosive!
3) Use a clear Wiggle Fin Action Disc ahead of the fly.
If you’ve never seen one, Wiggle Fins are round plastic discs that look like mini satellite dishes (about the size of a nickel) with a hole drilled in the center. You run your leader through the hole and slide the Wiggle Fin down to the front of your fly with the concaved side facing forward. When trolled, it catches water, which causes it (and the fly) to dance.
When trolling on the surface, be sure to run your flies at least 100 feet behind the boat to avoid spooking the fish. As the day progresses, you may also have to add a split shot or two 24 inches ahead of the fly to get you a little further down in the water column.