Author Topic: TROLLING FLIES FOR TROUT  (Read 8318 times)

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« on: October 31, 2011, 06:26:55 pm »
Trolling Flies

This technique might be old hat to some of you, and if so…just disregard this post, but for those of you who have yet to add flies to your list of trolling tackle it's worth reading.

If trolling for trout is a favourite technique, consider using fly patterns next time you hit the water, regardless of whether you are using a fly rod or conventional tackle. For the die hard fly fishermen on the site, trolling with fly gear might seem like witchcraft, but believe me…it's deadly effective and can sometimes trigger strikes when all else fails. In the past year I have perfected the technique for my body of water, and typically I outfish the gear heads at least 5 to 1. The benefit of trolling flies from a kayak is the subtleness of the presentation and the erratic behaviour of the fly in comparison to the standard trolling presentation at a continuous speed behind a powered boat.

The Flies

Season, natural forage, and species will dictate the fly choice, but typically, for rainbows and cutties I troll leech, dragon and bugger patterns during the summer and fall, and bloodworms, nymphs and micro leeches during the winter. Other great search patterns are muddler minnows, Mickey finns, and grey ghosts. As a general rule of thumb, I usually try to stick to subtle, natural colors and limit my fly choices to 2" and smaller in total length, and I usually trend towards unweighted flies. The above mentioned flies are a good all around choice for most bodies of water and can be very effective search patterns, but don't hesitate to try other patterns that might be more similar to the local insects and small fish in your waterbody.

The Line \ Depth

I will admit that trolling flies on proper fly setup with fast sink line is preferable over traditional tackle and mono, but the end result works either way. For those with a fly rod, use a fast sink high density line for 20'+ in depth, and a medium density slow sink line under 20', and about a 14' 4X leader (because the fish can be big and hit hard when you are trolling). For those that will use conventional tackle, I would recommend using a maximum of  6lb test (at least for the last 6' of line) with black sinkers at lease 4' up from the fly, a swivel isn't necessary. The number of sinkers will obviously depend on the dept you want to reach and the speed at which you paddle.

The Technique

The technique is pretty simple, and in some ways pretty similar to mooching. The idea is to drop the fly past the depth zone of the fish, and then bring the fly up, then drop it again and so on. Ideally, the fly will sort of hover slowly below, into and above the fish as you troll along, therefore covering various depths as you paddle. The beauty of this technique is that it can pretty much be done at any speed and any depth, making it perfectly suited for kayak fishing. For example, in the late summer I use a fast sink line, paddle slower and let out greater distances of line to get the fly down deep into the 30+ feet of water where the fish are…conversely, in the late spring I paddle moderately faster, let out less line and use a slow sink medium density line for 10-20' of water. Electronics help here, and a good fishfinder will help point out the depth to troll, and don't hesitate to troll extremely slow…..some of the biggest trout this season were caught barely moving along drop-offs and weedlines.

So that's the basic's. There are other considerations of course and one can make it as complicated as they want, but this should be enough to get anyone out on the water this fall and winter trolling flies and catching trout.

Offline Fishnhound

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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 06:53:27 pm »
Cool write up.I used to be in the habit of adding a small spoon to my rigs when trolling flys as well.Remove the treble from an old spoon and add swivels to both sides to avoid line twist.Then tie a 2 - 3 foot leader to your fly.Has worked pretty well in the past for me although didn't use it much this year.Kinda forgot about it till I read your post.Cool way to add some flash.
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Offline stroover

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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 09:52:44 am »
Well said, Bugger. I'm an avid flyfisherman myself, and when I'm going from point A to point B, I leave my fly dragging in the water about 40' behind, and have landed loads of nice trout that way.


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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2011, 11:16:42 am »

I will have to give that a try next time I'm out! I've never thought of adding a small spoon up the line, I suppose it would kind of work like a mini-flasher of sorts and give the fly some action. I will rig up my boy's rod with that this weekend and see how it fairs.


Offline ipop

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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2011, 12:22:52 pm »
the last couple years i have been doing this for atlantic salmon between drifts with most of the same flies you mentioned. a surprise was that a bug worked at least as well. it`s best known as a  way to go for land lochs here in the spring and early summer, getting an occasional brown trout too. for brook trout and smallies i will often change up this to a surface presentation by adding another fly. for trout it`s almost always a big black fly (a moose fly imitation) and for smallies it`s the ever prevalent white fly (mostly deer hair). put this fly half a meter to a meter ahead of the other fly, and run it on a floating line for top water or leave it on the sinking line in current or if you want a meter bellow the surface range. watch behind a bit to see if the lead fly v`s the surface. play with this. some will prefer a constant v, other times just popping in and out of it, other times never running fast enough to v. this also works as an indicator but i rarely get to see them hit it trolling from the yak.
i want to use this for black/spring salmon here, except there is no close salmon season open to me, and the nearest is crazy that time of year - the locals use jet powered canoes! maybe if i can find the right bend....
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2011, 01:35:31 pm »
I never considered this for landlocked salmon, I suppose it's pretty similar in most aspects, and they behave much like trout do. Good idea, I will have to try this when I get back to the maritimes.