The only way to really learn a great fishing spot is to consistently fish a great fishing spot.
Fly fishing is much a game of consistency. Consistent casting, consistent presentations and even consistent preparation. That same approach is also important for me when it comes to fishing streams in my area.
Early on, when I first started fly fishing, I’d hit a different stream and location almost every time I went out. I wanted to explore while also testing out different streams to get a better feel for them. While I caught fish most days, I didn’t really have stellar days that get logged in the memory bank for future stories.
After a while of taking this approach, I realized that in order to really learn, I needed to fish streams more consistently. This new approach has paid off and made fly fishing far more fun, rewarding and challenging for me.
Learning a stream
To really learn a stream well, you need to fish it regularly and consistently.
I’ll fish a stream (and sometimes specific runs on a stream) for many weeks straight to learn it. I’ll change up the time of day, my presentation and my flies, but I’ll stick to that location for weeks.
I do this because I’ve often found that fish are there, you just have to know how to make them bite. Consistently fishing that certain location is the only way to learn it, I believe. If you hit a stream for 2 hours one day and then go back 4 months later, it’s hard to learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s hard to gauge the activity there and it’s even harder to learn any kind of patterns.
Fishing a location consistently will almost always produce better results and make you a better angler at the same time.
Don’t give up so easily
Early on, it was easy for me to hit a stream for 3 hours, get skunked and never return to it again. I would leave there thinking “there just aren’t any fish there.”
That clearly wasn’t the case in 90% of those scenarios. I just simply wasn’t fishing it properly that day. As I started focusing on specific locations and trying out different presentations and rigs, I started to learn that there are, in fact, fish in those areas.
Don’t give up so easily on a particular stream or run. You might be surprised what you’ll find if you just take the time to vary your presentation, your rig or your time of day.
Fly fishing can be pretty frustrating at times. Sometimes things just don’t pan out. Consistently fishing your local streams can help ease that frustration if you put in the time and effort. It has greatly helped my fishing and it’s also helped make fly fishing much more enjoyable on my days out on the water.
Good luck out there!