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Trout Fishing – Swing Out Your Drift

Posted on March 28 2015

Fly fishing for trout
Pleasantly surprised. Photo: Kyle Shea.

It’s safe to say, more trout are hooked dead drifting sub-surface patterns than by any other technique. Whether fishing gaudy flesh and egg patterns in Alaska, or delicate nymphs on your local trout stream, there’s no denying imitating a natural drift works.

However, we’ve all been there; you finish your drift, start to make your next cast, and the fish takes, or worse, you rip the fly away from a fish charging your fly! Coincidence? Hardly.

As your fly reaches the end of its drag-free drift and begins to come under tension, the fly immediately begins to rise in the water column. In a traditional trout fishing scenario, this action mimics that of an emerging insect making its push towards the surface. From an opportunistic point of view, the upward movement of the fly at the end of the drift gives the appearance of an easy meal becoming out of reach. Either way, its reason for a trout to pounce.

Purposely stopping your drift to allow your fly to swing (and thus rise) in front of fishy structure is an extremely effective way to target trout in holding lies. Traditional trout fisherman might know this classic technique as the Leisenring Lift, popularized by Jim Leisenring in the 1940’s for fishing classic wet flies. The technique is equally at home when fishing big flesh flies, egg patterns, or streamers in Alaska as well!

So, the next time you’re getting your drift on, allow your fly to swing out at the end of the drift before re-casting. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results!

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