Press ESC to close

ORVIS – Knowing When a Trout WILL Take Your Fly

ORVIS – Knowing When a Trout WILL Take Your Fly, a video by The Orvis Company, provides valuable insights into the art of fly fishing. While it may not be common to find numerous trout feeding every time you cast your line, there are ways to identify the one that is more inclined to take your fly. In this expertly crafted instructional resource, Dave Jensen shares his secrets on finding the trout most likely to bite. The video covers various tips and techniques for gauging a trout’s interest, such as observing their movements, identifying specific feeding behaviors, and understanding different types of hatches. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, this video offers an excellent fly-fishing lesson to enhance your skills.

ORVIS - Knowing When a Trout WILL Take Your Fly

Factors to Consider When a Trout Will Take Your Fly

Trout fishing can be both challenging and rewarding. To successfully catch trout, it is important to consider several factors that can influence whether or not a trout will take your fly. These factors include the trout’s behavior, the types of insects they are feeding on, the availability of food, and the surroundings in which they live. By understanding these variables, you can increase your chances of hooking a trout and experiencing a successful fishing trip.

Freely Moving Trout

One of the first factors to consider when attempting to catch a trout is their movement patterns. Freely moving trout are more likely to be actively searching for food and, therefore, more likely to take your fly. Trout that are confined to a small area, such as a deep pool or rock crevice, may be less likely to take your fly because they are not actively hunting for food. When scouting for a good fishing spot, look for areas where trout have ample space to swim and explore, increasing the likelihood of them taking your fly.

Relaxed Bodies

Trout with relaxed bodies are often more receptive to taking a fly. This can be observed by their lack of tension in the water, their slow and steady movements, and their willingness to stay in one area for longer periods. These relaxed trout are often in a feeding mode, searching for insects on or below the water’s surface. In contrast, trout that are displaying erratic behavior or swimming rapidly may be less likely to respond to your fly. Focusing on relaxed trout will increase your chances of a successful catch.

Head Dorsal Fin Then Tail

When a trout takes your fly, it is important to pay attention to their body language. One common behavior pattern is when a trout uses its head, dorsal fin, and then its tail to rise to the surface and take the fly. This sequence of movements is often indicative of a trout that is actively feeding and fully engrossed in pursuing your fly. By observing this behavior, you can adjust your fishing techniques accordingly, increasing your chances of a successful hook-up.

Lateral and Vertical Movement

Trout often exhibit specific movement patterns when they are actively searching for food. One common behavior is lateral movement, where the trout moves from side to side in search of insects or other food sources. Another behavior is vertical movement, where the trout moves up and down in the water column to target food at different depths. Observing these movement patterns can help you understand where to present your fly and increase your chances of enticing a trout to take it.

Large Swings

When it comes to fly fishing for trout, making large swings with your fly can be an effective strategy. This involves presenting your fly in a manner that mimics the natural movement of insects on the water’s surface. By making long, sweeping casts and allowing your fly to drift and swing with the current, you can attract the attention of trout and entice them to take your fly. This technique can be particularly successful when fishing in rivers or streams with a strong current.

Feeding on Multiple Nymphs and Dry Flies

Trout are opportunistic feeders and will often feed on a variety of insects. This presents an opportunity for fly anglers to take advantage of trout’s feeding habits by presenting multiple nymphs or dry flies. By using a tandem rig or fishing with a dry fly and a dropper nymph, you can increase your chances of enticing a trout to take your fly. This technique mimics the natural behavior of trout feeding on multiple insects and can result in more hook-ups.

Carpet Hatches

Carpet hatches occur when large quantities of insects hatch simultaneously, creating a feeding frenzy for trout. These hatches can be incredibly productive for fly anglers, as trout become less selective and more aggressive in their feeding behavior. During a carpet hatch, trout will often rise to the surface and feed voraciously on the insects, making it easier to entice them to take your fly. When planning a fishing trip, keep an eye out for reports of carpet hatches in your area and take advantage of this opportune time to catch trout.

Moderate Hatch with Consistent Spread of Insects

While carpet hatches offer excellent fishing opportunities, moderate hatches with a consistent spread of insects can also provide favorable conditions for trout to take your fly. During such hatches, trout will not be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of insects but will still be actively feeding. This creates a window of opportunity for fly anglers to present their flies and entice trout to strike. By studying the types of insects present and matching your fly accordingly, you can maximize your chances of success during these hatches.

No Heavy Fishing Pressure

Trout that are subject to heavy fishing pressure can become wary and less likely to take your fly. When trout have been frequently targeted by anglers, they may become more cautious and selective in their feeding behavior. They may also become more adept at identifying artificial flies and avoiding them altogether. To increase your chances of success, look for fishing spots that receive less pressure or visit during times when fishing activity is low. These less-pressured trout are more likely to be receptive to your fly.

Stream or River with No Human Activity

In addition to fishing pressure, the presence of human activity can also deter trout from taking your fly. Trout are sensitive to disturbances in their environment and may become wary or spooked by the presence of humans. Noise and movement along the bank or in the water can alert the trout to potential danger, causing them to become less active and less likely to take your fly. To maximize your chances of success, fish in streams or rivers that are secluded and free from human activity.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can greatly influence the feeding behavior of trout and, consequently, their willingness to take your fly. Bright, sunny days can make trout more cautious and less likely to respond to your fly, as they may be more susceptible to predation under clear conditions. On the other hand, cloudy or overcast days can provide more favorable conditions for trout to feed. These conditions reduce their visibility and make them feel more secure, increasing their chances of taking your fly. When planning a fishing trip, consider the weather forecast and choose days that are likely to provide optimal conditions for trout feeding.


When attempting to catch trout with a fly, there are several factors that must be considered. Understanding the behavior of trout, their feeding habits, and the conditions in which they are most likely to take your fly can significantly increase your chances of success. By observing the movement patterns of freely swimming trout, targeting relaxed bodies, and paying attention to subtle cues such as head, dorsal fin, and tail movements, you can fine-tune your fishing techniques and increase your hook-up rate. Additionally, taking advantage of carpet hatches or moderate hatches with a consistent spread of insects can provide excellent opportunities to catch trout. Avoiding heavy fishing pressure and human activity, as well as considering weather conditions, can further enhance your chances of a successful fishing trip. By taking these factors into account and adapting your fishing approach accordingly, you can greatly improve your odds of hooking a trout and enjoying a rewarding fly fishing experience.

I am The Alaskan Creek Sniffer A.K.A SHort Rod, the proud creator of the Short Rod Fishing Pole. Located in the heart of fishing wonderland, Alaska. My mission is to connect you with nature's most elusive catches in even the tightest fishing holes. Engineered with precision and passion, my fishing pole is lightweight, durable, and impeccably balanced, making it a game-changer for adventurous anglers. I also offer expert equipment reviews, keeping our fishing community up-to-date with unbiased information, and guided fishing adventures, customized to your skill level. Join our passionate fishing community and experience the innovation, quality, and sustainability that sets Short Rod apart.