As with all fish, metabolism of the trophy trout begin to increase and they feed more ferociously. And the bigger the fish are the more calories they will want to rise for a dry fly. Hence the success of big dries during the early autumn months. Trophy trout are also territorial, and the big flies are an invasion themselves, the following techniques can increase both the feeding strike and the aggression strike.
But trophy trout are wary, they didn’t get to be huge by taking foolish chances, so besides switching up the fly, switching the presentation is also necessary.
It might be counter intuitive to a fly fisher who has spent the summer softly landing size 16’s PMDs without so much as a dimple in the water. But when fishing these big flies go ahead and slap that fly on the landing. Much like throwing a popper to bass, the idea here is to get the trophy’s attention, especially if browns are in the area. Just the slap alone can cause an aggression strike. It is best if this can be done in some slack water, directly above a run, so the fly can be dead drifted through the run.
If the ‘slap’ is a borrowed bass technique, our second technique, skating, is a well-known steelhead technique. Fishing these big uglies lends itself perfectly to skating techniques. The goal of skating is simply to create a wake, like the ‘slap’ it is a technique to get attention, to cause a disturbance for maximum chances of enticing a strike.
It is easy to perform a skate after the ‘slap’. By ending your cast with the rod tips over the surface. Then instead of simply allowing a dead drift, begin to lift your rod tip which will pull the fly through the drift. This gives the fly the appearance of skating across the surface.
Other normal dry fly taboos can be broken when throwing the big uglies. Simply allowing drag is a subtle technique of causing a disturbance. Or try moving your rod tip toward the bank or the middle of the river, emulating an escaping food source. Small subtle strips also create a disturbance.
Traditional dry fly techniques will also catch fish in the autumn, but the above techniques will greatly increase your chances of catching trophy trout when the water and air begin cooling in the early autumn. The techniques are also fun and less taxing, a great way to break up your fly fishing experience.