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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lansing

fish with a buddy

My last post was before the hustle and bustle of the holidays, which seem to come and go quicker each year. I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, stayed safe and got on some. Now that the holidays are over, Cousin Eddie has finished cleaning out the sh@!$er and left until next year, and you finally got the cat out of the tree, it’s back to fishing.

Local streams were in fantastic shape prior to the new year (rain has them a bit high at the moment). I enjoyed great days on the streams with friends and family. My last post, “Low and Slow”, was about winter nymphing, focusing on getting the flies down and slowing the drift. Regardless of fly selection, get them deep and slow them down. This was how we found trout on the days previously mentioned.

guided fly fishing in Central New York for brown trout
My friend with his gorgeous Central New York brown trout

I fish natural looking flies far more frequently than egg patterns, mop patterns, or squirmies. Various styles of pheasant tails, caddis larva, and micro stones frequent the ends of my tippet more than anything else. One of the friends I fished with, who is an extremely accomplished angler, went with egg patterns the day we were out. Many of our trout (brown trout) spawn late. We traded off and on in different pools and runs. You can learn a lot from sharing water with another angler, watching somebody else with a different style and approach. And, you can learn quickly.

guided winter fly fishing in Central New York
A classic and beautiful wild brown trout from Central New York

As I said, I used pheasant tails and caddis larva, while my friend used egg patterns. We attacked the same runs, but in different ways. With the sun out and temps in the high 30s, I focused my attention high in the heads of pools and feeding lanes. With temperatures a bit warmer and sunny after several days below freezing, my thought was the “heat” would activate the system, get a few bugs moving, and put trout on the feed. A majority of trout I caught and released came from those feeding lanes up high.

With a different approach, my buddy spent his time drifting egg patterns low and slow through the soft guts of pools and runs. He found an equal amount of success, but with a different approach and style no more than 10 yards from where I fished. When we switched, I struggled to pick up takes where he got them, just as he struggled to pick up fish where I had success. Trout feed differently at various points within their pool. Different flies, styles, and approaches catch different fish. In a human comparison, take a look at your own town. We dine out to lunch or dinner at different places, eating different meals or menus, but often right next door to another restaurant.

What’s my point? Fish with a buddy. Make it a point to fish with other people and continue to learn new things. You’ll pick up nuances, pointers, and tips to help you grow and be a better angler. Maybe a friend pulls a fish out of a place or drift you wouldn’t have fished yourself. Maybe he/she is catching fish on different flies or attacking the water differently. While I’ll be the first to tell you it can be extremely relaxing on a stream you have to yourself, I’ll also tell you it’s easy to become complacent as an angler, falling into a groove where you’re using the same flies, making the same drifts, and fishing the same water. While your ways might catch you loads of trout, you can grow as an angler and be more successful by fishing with someone different and picking up something new.

Central New York fly fishing
A friend of mine was kind enough to capture this shot of me with a trout on the line.

Fishing with someone else might also score you some action shots or pictures for #fishflopfriday. Everyone likes action shots and release photos. If nothing else, you can learn what not to do from a buddy who gets skunked or spends a lot of time with flies in the sticks. Catching tree trout happens to the best of us though.

Happy Friday and fish with a buddy this weekend. Thanks for reading. As always please feel free to shoot me an email or follow along on Facebook or Instagram.


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