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ORVIS – Dry Fly Tactics – Casting to Rising Trout

ORVIS – Dry Fly Tactics – Casting to Rising Trout is a video presented by The Orvis Company, providing helpful tips and tactics for successfully casting to rising trout. This can be a challenging endeavor, as it requires understanding the water conditions and the feeding habits of the trout in order to present the fly in a way that entices them to eat. The video features Dave and Amelia Jensen, who share their expertise to assist beginners and experienced fly fishers alike. For more comprehensive fly fishing instruction and information, viewers are encouraged to explore other online learning resources provided by Orvis.

The key to success in casting to rising trout lies in knowing where to position the dry fly in relation to the fish. It must be placed in a manner that avoids spooking the trout, yet still attracts the fish to eat it. The size of the trout’s feeding window, which is the radius it will travel to feed, varies depending on water temperature and the presence of smaller or larger food items. By positioning yourself for a cast that lands and drifts into your side of the edge of the trout’s feeding window, you increase the chances of a successful presentation. This allows for multiple attempts without spooking the fish, as casting across the trout exposes you to potential mishaps, including a bad cast that crosses the fish or an improper drift that swings the fly across its nose. Maintaining the first casts on your side of the fish’s feeding window avoids suspicion and makes it easier to entice the trout on subsequent casts.

Understanding Rising Trout Behavior

Trout behavior, especially when it comes to their feeding habits, can often seem mysterious and elusive. However, by understanding the concept of the feeding window, as well as the factors that affect its size, you can greatly increase your chances of success on the water.

The Feeding Window of a Trout

The feeding window refers to the period of time during which a trout actively feeds on the surface. This window can vary in size depending on a variety of factors, including water temperature, insect activity, and the trout’s individual mood and appetite. Understanding when and for how long trout are most likely to rise is crucial in effectively targeting them.

Factors Affecting the Size of the Feeding Window

Several factors can influence the size of a trout’s feeding window. One of the most significant is water temperature. Trout are cold-blooded creatures, and their metabolism increases as the water warms up. This means that during warmer periods, such as in the summer, trout are more likely to feed actively for longer periods of time.

Insect activity is another important factor. Trout primarily feed on insects, and their feeding behavior often coincides with insect hatches. When there is a plentiful supply of insects on the water, trout are more likely to rise and feed consistently. The presence of a hatch can greatly extend the feeding window.

Lastly, a trout’s mood and appetite can affect the size of its feeding window. Just like humans, trout can have off days when they are less inclined to feed. Factors such as water clarity, fishing pressure, and previous experiences with anglers can influence a trout’s willingness to rise to the surface. Being observant and adjusting your approach accordingly is crucial in these situations.

Importance of Positioning Yourself Correctly

Positioning yourself correctly in relation to the trout and its feeding zone is vital for a successful presentation and hookup. By understanding the ideal casting position and the consequences of casting across the trout, you can significantly increase your chances of enticing a strike.

The Ideal Casting Position

When fishing for rising trout, it is essential to position yourself downstream and slightly to the side of the trout. This allows you to make a cast that lands upstream of the fish, presenting your fly in a natural and enticing manner. By remaining downstream, you reduce the risk of spooking the fish with your presence or the line.

Consequences of Casting Across the Trout

Casting directly across a rising trout can have several negative consequences. Firstly, the trout is more likely to see your line and leader, increasing the chances of it becoming wary and refusing your fly. Additionally, casting across the fish can create drag on the fly, making it unnatural and alerting the trout to any potential danger.

Proper Casting Technique

Achieving a delicate presentation and avoiding drag are essential elements of proper casting technique when targeting rising trout. By mastering these skills, you can greatly enhance your chances of success on the water.

Achieving a Delicate Presentation

When casting to rising trout, it is essential to present your fly in a delicate and lifelike manner. Aiming for a soft landing that creates minimal disturbance on the water is crucial. This can be achieved by using a gentle flick of the wrist and accurate line control during the casting process. By mastering a delicate presentation, you make your fly appear more natural and increase its chances of being taken by a feeding trout.

Avoiding Drag and Swinging the Fly

Drag occurs when the current pulls at the fly line, causing the fly to move unnaturally across the water. This can be a major deterrent to feeding trout. To avoid drag, it is important to mend the line as necessary, allowing the fly to drift naturally with the current. Avoiding excessive movement of the rod and keeping a tight line can also help prevent the fly from swinging and behaving unnaturally.

ORVIS - Dry Fly Tactics - Casting to Rising Trout

Choosing the Right Fly

Selecting the appropriate fly to match the insect hatch is an essential aspect of successful trout fishing. By understanding the insect life cycle and experimenting with different patterns, you can increase your chances of fooling a feeding trout.

Matching the Insect Hatch

Trout are opportunist feeders and often key in on specific insects that are abundant in their environment. By observing the water and identifying the insects that are present, you can choose a fly pattern that closely matches the naturals. Matching the size, shape, color, and behavior of the insects can greatly improve your chances of enticing a strike from a selective trout.

Experimenting with Different Patterns

While matching the hatch is often effective, there are times when trout can be unpredictable and less selective. In these situations, it can be beneficial to experiment with different fly patterns to trigger a response. Trying various sizes, colors, and styles of flies can sometimes lead to unexpected success and increase your chances of catching trout.

Strategies for Multiple Casts

Rising trout can be challenging to hook, even after accurately presenting your fly. By employing strategies such as casting just on the edge of the feeding window and using techniques to prevent spooking the trout, you can increase your chances of success.

Casting Just on the Edge of the Feeding Window

When trout are rising consistently but not aggressively, it can be beneficial to cast just on the edge of their feeding window. By presenting your fly slightly outside their immediate feeding zone, you can entice them to move a little further to take your offering. This can be particularly effective when trout are being selective or showing signs of caution.

Techniques to Prevent Spooking the Trout

Spooking a trout is a surefire way to significantly decrease your chances of hooking it. To prevent this, it is crucial to minimize any disturbances near the fish. Avoid wading too close or making sudden movements that can startle the trout. Additionally, using longer leaders and lighter tippets can provide a more delicate presentation and help prevent the trout from detecting your presence.

Reading the Water

Being able to read the water and identify feeding zones is a valuable skill when targeting rising trout. By knowing where trout are likely to be feeding and paying attention to current breaks, you can streamline your presentation and increase your chances of success.

Identifying Feeding Zones

Trout often seek out specific locations in the water where feeding is most productive. These areas typically feature slower currents, eddies, or foam lines that concentrate food and provide cover for the fish. By studying the water surface and observing where trout are rising, you can identify these feeding zones and focus your efforts on the most productive areas.

Paying Attention to Current Breaks

Current breaks, such as rocks, boulders, logs, or overhanging vegetation, can create disturbances in the water’s flow. These disturbances often collect food and provide shelter for trout. By locating and targeting these current breaks, you can increase your chances of finding actively feeding trout. Casting your fly just upstream or beside these features and allowing it to drift naturally downstream can be an effective strategy.

Observing Trout Behavior

Observing the behavior and movements of rising trout can provide valuable insight into their feeding patterns and increase your chances of success. By recognizing signs of trout feeding and understanding their movements, you can adjust your approach accordingly.

Recognizing Signs of Trout Feeding

Trout exhibit several characteristic signs when they are actively feeding on the surface. These signs can include rises or splashes, often accompanied by visible rings or ripples in the water. Watching for these telltale signs can help you identify feeding trout, enabling you to make accurate casts and present your fly in the most enticing manner.

Understanding Trout Movements

Trout movements can provide valuable information about their feeding habits and preferred locations. Observing whether trout are rising in specific patterns, moving to different areas of the water, or adjusting their position in response to changing conditions can give you important clues about their behavior. This knowledge allows you to anticipate their movements and adjust your casting accordingly to increase your chances of success.

Adapting to Different Water Conditions

Water conditions, such as temperature and stability, can greatly influence trout behavior and feeding patterns. By adjusting your tactics for cold water and modifying your approach in stable cool water, you can optimize your chances of enticing a strike.

Adjusting Tactics for Cold Water

In cold water conditions, trout metabolism slows down, reducing their willingness to actively feed. During these times, it is crucial to present your fly in a slow and deliberate manner, as trout are less likely to chase down fast-moving prey. Choosing smaller and more natural fly patterns, as well as fishing deep and slow, can be effective strategies when the water is cold.

Modifying Approach in Stable Cool Water

In stable cool water conditions, trout are more likely to maintain consistent feeding patterns. During these times, focusing on accurate presentations and matching the hatch becomes even more important. Trout are more likely to scrutinize the flies presented to them, requiring a high degree of precision in your casting and fly selection. Paying attention to the smallest details and making slight adjustments to your technique can make all the difference in hooking a trout in stable cool water.

Using Online Learning Resources

In addition to hands-on experience on the water, accessing online learning resources can greatly enhance your understanding of rising trout behavior and effective techniques for targeting them. By utilizing additional information and instruction and benefiting from expert tips and advice, you can accelerate your learning curve and become a more successful angler.

Accessing Additional Information and Instruction

The internet is a treasure trove of valuable information and resources for trout anglers. Online articles, blogs, videos, and forums provide a wealth of information on rising trout behavior, casting techniques, fly selection, and strategies for success. Taking advantage of these resources can help you expand your knowledge and gain valuable insights from experienced anglers and experts in the field.

Benefiting from Expert Tips and Advice

In addition to online learning resources, seeking out expert tips and advice can provide valuable guidance in your pursuit of rising trout. By attending workshops, seminars, or guided fishing trips, you can learn from experienced anglers who have honed their skills through years of practical experience. Their insights and recommendations can help you refine your techniques, make adjustments to your approach, and improve your chances of consistently hooking trout on the surface.


Understanding rising trout behavior is a crucial aspect of successful fly fishing. By comprehending the feeding window and the various factors that affect its size, positioning yourself correctly, using proper casting technique, choosing the right fly, employing strategies for multiple casts, reading the water, observing trout behavior, adapting to different water conditions, and utilizing online learning resources, you can greatly enhance your chances of hooking feeding trout. Remember, practice and patience are key, and by continually refining your skills and learning from each experience on the water, you can become a proficient angler capable of consistently fooling rising trout. Happy fishing!

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