Catching Bull Trout on the Fly

Clint Goyettebull trout, cheakamus river, Clint Goyette, czech nymphing, fly fishing, fly lines, pitt river, sink tip, squamish, squamish river, tips2 Comments

How to Catch Bull Trout on the Fly

The question on one of the message forums I take part in was basically how to catch bull trout on the fly….

This is my short response:

It all depends on the water you are fishing and the time of year.

Standard Streamer Set-Up for Bull Trout

I have caught bull trout on the Squamish on floating lines in April on the surface…ie dry fly.  Now, with that being said, most times when targeting bull trout in moving water in the winter, use at least a Type III sink tip with no more than a 3.5 ft leader. 5, 6 and 7 wt rods are great especially on the Squamish as some char can get quite large and it can get pretty windy.

Three Feet

Fish 3′ +- water depth when it is clear or slightly coloured. Cast and wait around 10 -15 seconds for your fly to get down to the bottom….=~ 3ft using a Type III sink tip. If your fly is “swinging” before you reach 10 seconds, you are most likely casting too far and not mending enough or not letting enough line out to allow your fly to get down OR you are fishing water that is way too fast.

Fish the Dangle

Your swing should take a considerable amount of time to get to your shore, I find for char the slower the better…..wait 5-10 seconds at the end of your swing…lots of takes happen here!

Wear Polarized Sunglasses

Look for slow moving water with a slight riffle on the surface….and fish mid run to tailouts. Also, look for hidden deep channels that are visible only if you are wearing polarized sunglasses. They will appear as darker sections of water…kind of like when you are looking out at the run you can’t see the bottom anymore. That is where the fish are.

Mid Winter Presentations

Early January and Feb the slower presentations work better since most prey items, dead salmon particles, and eggs are slow movers when temps are down…and eggs and dead stuff just don’t swim! As the water temps increase, a faster presentation will work (March April)…ahhhh fry emergence is a wonderful thing.

Father and Son on a Guided Trip for Bull Trout

Father and Son on a Guided Trip for Bull Trout

Fishing Pools

When fishing pools or very slow moving water cast and wait a long time for your fly to get down..sometimes I wait for it to hit the bottom…..then strip in 2-3-2-4-2-3 type varied 6″ stips. Works wonders and hang on!

If this isn’t enough info then book a trip with one of our guides today!


Tight lines,

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