From the angler's desk, a check list/prep list for a day on a river:


Is my equipment working, waders leak free, new laces on the boots, reel clean?

Did I bring a backup rod and reel in case I slip a break it when wading down stream?

What is the steam flow? 100-400 cfs is good, above 1000 and I can’t cross the river.

How is the weather? Partly overcast is perfect, but I can adjust. A lot of sun you can see the fish early but they will spook fast, so means longer casts and lighter tippet. Heavy wind means bringing a short faster casting rod.

What is the hatch for that day and when, do I have the right flies dry and wet? I need a new leader each day, right length and thickness.

Do I have my topographical map, especially if it is new water?

Do I have drinking water, a bite for lunch and some chewing tobacco for when the fishing is slow and to change the luck?

Near the river

How many cars did I see within five miles of my spot?

If I see a heavily fished area do I stop to see the action, pick up some clues on the fishing before moving on?

How does the river look — clarity, flow?

Are there any fish rising or lounging near the banks?

How should I rig up this morning, dry fly, nymphs, strike indicators or no? I always rig up away from the car as closing doors like to break rod tips.

Will I fish wading upstream, (preferred) or downstream? Where is my buddy fishing and which water will he cover before me?

On the river

Where are the seams, the riffles, and pools I want to fish?

How can I best approach?

I always test cast for a few minutes. How is the cast and rigging working? Is the line releasing the way I want?

Is the presentation right?

Where are the obstacles, rock and submerged logs that trip you while wading? Always look behind you when casting the first time. That is where you buddy will be standing or a bush to tangle your line.

How will I land a fish, where is the best spot, how can I get him to shore?


Practice your misinformation on what they were biting and where you were fishing to throw off fellow anglers. Anything with a Stony is good for location (e.g. Stony creek, brook, bend) For fictional flies added a “double” or “jumper” to normal selections. A double hairs ear, or wooly jumper fly. Also, work on your translations of fiction from other anglers, “a little slow” means not a fish all day. “Saw a few rising” means saw a couple of darting shadows. Of course, the fishing spots suspiciously not mentioned are the ones to go to. And write some stories both to record the day and for you own enjoyment.

Along these lines here is a book by a fishing friend of mine, due out in May. The title says it all: The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing.


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