Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
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Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre

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The Boil/Bulge

Description: This riseform is most common when fish are taking emerging insects that are stuck just below or in the surface film. This is most often incorrectly diagnosed by most fly fishers, from novice to expert as fish taking dry flies from the surface. As the insect is trapped below the meniscus the fish must rise up and pluck it from beneath the surface. In doing so the fish's back and/or tail often breaks the surface creating the illusion of a proper rise.

What to do: Watch the disturbance carefully. Sometimes a fish taking emergers will not break the surface but instead leave a slight swirl on the surface as it takes the insect a few inches below the top. If the fish's nose does not breach the surface then it is emergers that are most likely on the menu. If the the tail/back breaks the surface stick to patterns like the klinkhammer, shaving brush, emerging pupa or parachute floating nymph. If there is just a swirl fish a small imitative nymph with a greased leader to within six inches of the fly pattern.

The Classic Rise

Description: The trout is feeding on insects on the water's surface. This is often the case when mayfly duns have hatched and are drifting on top of the water but also when items fall in off the river bank. Beetles, ants, grasshoppers, termites and many other kinds of bugs are taken in this way. Pretty much anything that is floating on the surface.

This rise is the one we see most often and there are variations within the broad heading of the classic rise. Sometimes the tiniest of dimple rises along with a tiny audible sip will be noticed. Often this is to very small items sitting flush in the film. Insects like spent mayfly spinners, midge and ants are often the cause of such rising activity. Sometimes you will not even notice the nose poke through the surface but the noise and a tiny bubble left behind are the confirmation that something was taken from the surface rather than below it. If in doubt as to whether the rise is sub surface or not always look for a bubble in the wake of the rise. As a fish takes something from the top the air is expelled out of the fish's gills leaving this tell tale sign.

Another aspect of the classic rise is when the fish's head or nose can be clearly seen breaking the surface. This usually indicates a larger insect sitting higher on the water. Think of a Mayfly dun drifting with its large wing like the mainsail on a sailboat. The trout must lift a fair proportion of its head out of the water to engulf such bug, often giving away its size and position quite well. This is the one most commonly seen riseform when out on the water.

What to do: Again watch carefully. Try and work out what the fish is taking before making a cast. The good news is that as the bugs are floating it is quite easy to work it out (most of the time!). Look closely at the area where the fish is rising. Can you see the wing of a mayfly drifting down or is there a bright green beetle on the water in large numbers. Try and see what the fish is taking. If you cannot see from where you are then get in the line of drift well below the fish and scan the drift line at your feet. Look for the insect that is making up the greatest proportion of food in the drift. If there are large numbers of beetles, a few midge and the odd dun then it is the beetle that should be used first. Alternatively if there are two species of duns on the surface, say a few large kossies but hundreds of small rustys, tie on a small rusty to match the insect most prolific. Match the hatch by choosing a fly that most closely resembles the natural in size, shape and colour.

The Slash or Leap

Description: This is the most obvious of all takes and occurs when fish either leave the water to chase an airborne insect or slash violently as one pases overhead. As such it is very exciting although often frustrating. Fish will come half way out of the water or even leap clear of the surface in pursuit of an escaping or egg laying insect. This is especially noticeable when caddis are escaping from the water or hovering above the water, when mayfly spinners are mating and egg laying and when adult dragonflies are out and about. The fish see the insect either hovering a few inches above the water or hitting the water and must go all out to capture it. This method wastes a lot of energy and so the larger fish will often not come to the top at these times (on our local waters at least). This sort of behavior from a trout can be breathtaking to watch as a leaping fish can come up to two feet out of the water.

What to do: Work out what insects are in the air. Often this is very easy as the take is so visible and a cloud of caddis, egg laying spinners or a dragonfly on the wing is very easy to see. Sometimes however the focus of the trout may be on tiny spinners and when this occurs it may take a little bit more effort to see them as these insects are #20 and smaller and unless you are looking from the perfect angle can be close to invisible. If spinners are being taken use a traditionally hackled pattern (not parachute) in the correct size and colour. The hackle will keep the body of the fly off the water like the naturals. An elk hair caddis pattern is often best fished with a bit of a twitch as it approaches the location of the fish to imitate the insect dipping onto the water. Dragonflies are best fished by casting a large imitation in the rings of the rise as the fish will often jump and knock them onto the surface and then double back to take it.




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