To me, there’s nothing quite like catching a fish on a dry fly… It’s cliché, I know; but being able to present your fly accurately, and watch the fish break the surface as it sips your #18 CDC emerger is worth every second you spend prepping, reapplying floatant, degreasing your leader, and watching that tiny little puff of a fly.

Like anything in life, especially fly fishing, there is always ‘a better way’ in which you can do something, or at least a small piece of advice that will make your time on the water more productive. This couldn’t be truer when fishing a dry.

Choose your battles
When should I fish a dry?
The general answer would be: When you see the fish rising. However, in any situation where you can see the fish, we’d opt for a dry fly before anything else. The reason being, whether you’re fishing a river or a stillwater, is how ‘less invasive’ a dry fly is. Have you ever noticed while fishing in a pool of a river, you’ll catch a couple fishing right off the bat on a streamer, but then the pool will go dead, this is because you’ve pressured the water with a certain fly and technique; and yet you could potentially catch half a dozen fish from the same pool using a dry fly.

Sink your leader
It may seem counter-intuitive but…
Longer tapered leaders, such as your Rio and Hardy 12ft, will aid to turning over your fly and getting that gentle presentation. But if your leader/ tippet is on the surface, no matter how thin you’re fishing, you’re going to get less takes. This is why we use fluorocarbon tippet to begin with, but alone this isn’t always enough. It’s true that fluoro sinks better than mono, but your tippet still needs to break the surface film of the water. To achieve this, we use a 2mm tippet ring between our leader and 3ft of tippet, and into that we push a little bit of Loon Deep soft weight. This tungsten putty pulls the tippet down, but doesn’t hinder your fly or leader, thus making sure you achieve the perfect presentation or drift.

Dry, drier, driest
There are an array of floatants on the market, and from desiccants to silicone lubricants, things can get a little confusing. Our advice would be this, if you tend to fish CDC dries a lot, make sure you use a product like Loon Lochsa, or a CDC oil of sorts. If you’re fishing your regular hackle and deer hair pattern, Loon Aquel will be perfect.

For those of you that want to take it a step further, you can also use a pretreatment such as Loon Hydrostop. As you might have gathered, you’ll need to use this ‘pre fishing,’ but is very simple and effective. All you do is dip your dry fly into the Hydrostop, remove, and let it dry, ideally over-night. This will make your fly exceptionally buoyant. Just remember, never apply floatant to a wet fly. This will seal in the water and make it sink.

Make every presentation count
Easy does it…
Don’t rush into things! Wait, sit, observe, and plan. If you’ve taken the time to really watch a trout, they often stick to a feeding line. Through observing this you’ll know where to place the fly in relation to the fish. Once you’re ready to make your cast, remember, the fewer false casts you do, the less likely you are to spook that or any other fish. Secondly, accuracy is equal to success. If you cast over the fish, he’ll spook. Too far away, and he might not see the fly. Lastly, as your lines unfolds onto the water, straighten up your line and leader; being careful not to move your fly. This will help sink your tippet quickly.

Trout set
But don’t..
Now, assuming everything has come together, don’t forget to give that trout a second or two to take the fly and turn; ensuring a good hook purchase. In the time it takes you to say: “Is the beer cold,” your fish would have turned and now you’re on…!