Some of the best fly fishing occurs at dusk. The crowds are gone, the temperature is cooler, and the trout (especially Browns) feed more aggressively. This has been the case in Colorado this week where my wife and I are visiting family. The best fishing this past week has been fly fishing at dusk, the hour before dark.
If you’re planning on fly fishing at dusk, here are a few tips to help you be successful and safe:
1. Keep it simple
It’s more challenging to tie tippet to your leader and flies to your tippet. So make sure your initial rig is in place before you get to the river.
If you have to switch flies, consider going with a single fly rather than taking the time to tie on a dropper. Time is slipping away. So is the light. If you know which patterns work in the area where you’re fly fishing, you could tie some droppers onto lead flies in advance.
2. Use visible flies
Assuming that you’re dry fly fishing, make sure your fly has a white post. A Parachute Adams, for example, is much easier to see than a fly with a red post or no post.
If you use an Elk Hair Caddis, use one with light elk hair. Or, if you tie your own flies, tie some white synthetic fibers to the top of the fly.
3. Wear a head lamp
Some kind of flashlight is a must.
A cell phone flashlight will do. So will a conventional mini-flashlight. But what I like best is a headlamp. You can buy a lightweight one for $20 or less. I always put one in my vest when I’m going to fish at dusk. The “hands free” approach works great. Plus, it makes it a lot easier to tie on a fly when it’s almost dark.
4. Be alert for wildlife
This is true everywhere, but especially in the West. Moose and elk have a way of showing up out of nowhere when you’re fly fishing at dusk. Mountain lions and bears do the same.
5. Watch your step when fly fishing at dusk
A few days ago, I was wading at dusk and slipped on a rock I couldn’t see.
I took a tumble into the small mountain stream and dropped my rod. Before I could grab it, the current whisked it away. I searched for it, but left the stream without my rod and reel (a $500 investment).
The story has a happy ending.
I returned a couple of days later to search for it after the water level had dropped a bit. My son found it at the bottom of the creek in some brush. The tip section was broken, but Orvis will repair or replace it for $60.
When fly fishing at dusk, the shadows and low light can make it harder to see — especially beneath the surface of the water. Take it from me, watch your step when you’re fishing at dusk!