Fishing | Trout Tips

Trout Tips: Shorten your strip

Shorten the strip to improve chances at connecting with fish. Photo by Chris Hunt.

I had the extreme good fortune of spending the last two weeks in Chile’s northern Patagonia region, fishing rivers like the Yelcho and the Palena. But we also fished Lago Yelcho, a big, beautiful blue lake that soaks up dozens of tributaries ranging from the fabled Futaleufu to little glacial trickles that start as ice high in the Andes and drop thousands of feet in what seems like an instant. The lake is home to a healthy population of fat and happy trout that fight like saltwater fish and hit flies throughout the water column.

As we fished we notice that we were missing trout chasing streamers because they’d hit the fly at the end of our long retrieves—right when the fly would stop moving, and, not coincidentally, right as we moved our hands up the fly rod to grab the next foot or so of fly line. It was maddening.

While we caught a few fish, both I and my fishing buddy Chad remarked on how many fish we were missing. We both arrived at the same conclusion. If we shortened our strips, stepped up the pace a bit and had less time with our stripping hand off the fly line, we’d connect more often. Bingo. We were into fish at a pretty regular clip, both on the lake and in its surrounding rivers for the rest of the trip.

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A Palena River brown trout. Photo by Chris Hunt.

When you’re fishing streamers to fairly aggressive trout, consider shortening the length of your retrieve. You’ll be harder to catch off guard when you’re not reaching a foot or two back to the rod to grab the next handful of line.

— Chris Hunt