In the world of fly fishing, heavily pressured water ranks right up there with drag and snagging in trees in terms of things you want always try to avoid if possible.
I always try to do everything I can to find less-pressured water. Sometimes that can happen, and sometimes it can’t. But finding less-pressured water usually just takes a little more effort and a little more planning.
The scenery makes it worth it.
I have no problem walking further than the other guy to find that next pristine spot. Eventually, he’ll tire out and settle. When he does, it’s just a matter of going a little further with the idea that I can enjoy what he didn’t want to work for. And that often means untouched pieces of water.
In all honesty, the trek in and out is just as enjoyable as the act of fishing once there. We have some amazing scenery in these parts, and taking it all in while getting as far away other anglers as possible has become just another reason why I get out there to begin with.
It’s also worth mentioning that one look at my frame will tell you that I could stand to walk a few extra miles any time the opportunity presents itself.
Detaching from my fellow anglers
Solitude is far too underrated. In my neck of the woods, our rivers are often occupied by people that know very little about fly fishing and stream etiquette. These are the guys that are fishing about 30 feet from the parking area with the canned corn or buckets of worms.
It’s the guys that have no respect for the law, or the rivers they are lucky as fuck to be standing in. In fairness, we have other anglers in the area just like me, but I honestly rarely ever run into them.
Nonetheless, my days on the river are almost always spent in solitude, which is just the way I want it. It’s worth walking just a little further to gain that solitude.
Fish that are heavily pressured are skiddish, to say the least. I often find that just by walking a little further into less-pressured waters, trout are much more opportunistic. This usually leads to better fishing and more fish-to-net.
It’s also a good way to try new fly patterns or new casting techniques because you generally don’t need to be as precise or accurate with fish that see that less pressure.
If you don’t already seek out less-pressured water on your favorite stream, I’d highly encourage it. I think you’ll be surprised at the positives of doing so. I can certainly say that it’s paid big dividends for me over the last several years, and I think it probably will for you too.