Author: Will Rice
Trouts Guide Service just wrapped up our Switch Rod & Spey Casting Clinic on the Lower Blue River. The weather was overcast and cool with sporadic snow showers early in the morning. The students started the day working on sustained two handed casts with upstream and downstream anchors. We worked on casting from both sides of the river for about two hours until each student had their basic two handed casts dialed in.
Two-handed rods were first introduced to North America and became popular in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest and were the tool of choice for covering large amounts of river for salmon and steelhead. Historically, two-handed rods were known to be heavy and reached lengths of up to 16’. Today, manufacturers like Scott and Sage have honed their technology and created 11” and 11'X6" rods that are more compact and lighter – yet still extremely powerful. In addition to being able to cover sections of a river that would be difficult and sometimes impossible with a single-handed rod, switch rods are extremely versatile – especially in Colorado.
When we interviewed Andrew Bennett from Deneki Outdoors about switch rods and spey casting a few months ago on our blog, he had this to say: "I think it's a trend with staying power as long as you're talking about primarily swinging flies. If you're fishing a sculpin or a leech or a hopper or a mouse - anything where the swing is a good part of the game - I think all the benefits are there, especially the fun factor. Spey casting was built around a swung fly presentation, so it's just always going to make sense for that style of fishing."
After a quick lunch we hit the river and put casting theory, physics, and concepts to the test.
For the larger, wider and deeper runs, our students would cast large streamer patterns just off the river bank and then let the fly swing…. with a slow… subtle…retrieve. Most of the rainbow and brown trout that were hooked on streamers ate on the swing or slow strip. In addition to swinging streamers we also fished with indicator rigs, very similar to what we normally fish, and drifted egg patterns, baetis, and midge patterns in slower deeper runs. One big advantage of longer switch rods is the ability to mend and increased line control. Seemingly on cue, right around two in the afternoon there was a BWO hatch that lit up the water. Long time Denver Trout Unlimited icon and Trouts customer Dr. Fred Miller fed two nice sized brown trout with small parachute pattern using an 11’ 5 wt switch rod.
Other fly Patterns that were effective: Sz 6 Crystal Bugger, Sz 6Tan & Black Skulpzillas, eggs, Blue Winged Olive Patterns (18-20), San Juan Worms (red, 14), Skinny Nelsons in size 20, and the UV Midge.
Streamers, nymph fishing, and dries? On a two handed switch rod? You have to love spring fly fishing in Colorado!
Trouts would like to thank all of our students who joined us, had a great time on the water and helped make this fishing report happen. Stay tuned for more innovative classes with Trouts Guide Service in the future. On that note, is anyone out there interested in a nymph fishing class where we will focus on the basics of nymph fishing as well as other more advanced techniques? This would be a full day on private water and taught by two expert guide/instructors who will deliver high level river strategies as well as hands on instruction for basic rigging, casting technique, mending and drift techniques, as well as creative ways to find fish in different areas of the water column. Anyone interested? If so, leave a comment here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to know more about the Trouts Guide Service curriculum or upcoming classes call the shop at 877.464.0034.