So you have learn to read the current which is number one skill when fishing. (yes you need to be able to cast but even with poor cast you can catch a fish, fishes don’t judge your casting skills.) The final judge is fish and for catch one you need to have right fly and presentation.
Those are pretty much obviously matters but where you should get your fly when you see rise on current? Same place, upstream or downstream? Yes, upstream but how much? 1m, 2m or 5 meters? Current is turbulent and your dry-fly might sink after 5 meters drifting. I like to fish with dry-flies and shorter you can get floating time before take. Well you have better change to not sink your fly too early.
So fish decide to rise and take fly. When it is starting to rise, stream will make it drift backwards to downstream. Why? Fish won’t use any extra energy to get something to eat, it would be against its’ nature. So starting to rise, drift downstream and and back to bottom on its’ place. And yes they swim upstream but it is often easier at the bottom because current is slower in there. You have seen videos about bears standing on rock and catching jumping salmons. Same idea, use less energy. But how much it will drift downstream and where to get your fly that fish has time to react?
For my experience this is the formula: drift will be same than depth of water. Example, water is one meter deep, drift will be 1 meter. So from rise rings it will be one meter upstream where fish lying. And you need to get your fly at least 1 meter upstream from that spot, rather 2 meters. More doesn’t make any good but if it is less than 1 meter, well fish won’t see or won’t have time to react. Of course there is lot of things like speed of current that kind of things but this formula will give you something to thing about and maybe helping you with presentation.
And remember, it is same formula with nymphs and wet-flies. Of course you need to minus depth where your fly is but….. same idea. 2 meters water, your wet fly is about 1 meter deep and you get bite. Fish is about 1 meter upstream from strike. Simple like that? Not really but it will give something to think about and maybe new perspective how you fish.
We have two excellent place where to observe fishes. In both of those we have a road bridge going over the river and there is good spots for nice size graylings. We often go on the bridge to see fishes and then guests know where the fish are, but also we can see how they react and which ones are active. Guiding is teaching and I love it very much. I hope this tip will help you and have good fishing time.
Have a nice weekend
Mika from Finland
Ps. Front photo is when I explain this formula to guests.