1. Dead Drift
The Dead Drift is best done with a 10 feet leader and tippet. That is 6 feet of leader three feet of the tippet. Keep the split shot three feet from the fly. Too close it will spook the fish, and too long you lose fly control.
Start by casting up stream and beyond. The intended line that is to be fish, [at about 2:00] followed by a immediate up stream mend of the line, this will help to get the fly down much quicker. As the drift progresses downstream mend the line as needed, to continue to maintain line control. First by raising the rod tip and when needed strip in line, as the drift passes on downstream lower the rod tip and feed the line out as needed.
The big secret to drifting flies to tributary fish is to maintain contact with the stream bottom, most of time the best technique is to use split shot placed between the leader and the tippet.
Presenting flies dead drifting is best suited for flies such as, egg flies, and nymphs. Fish are accustomed to seeing nymphs drifting freely past. This makes the dead drift the best method for fishing nymphs type flies. Egg flies are a little different, that is, nature has designed eggs to be denser than water. This means egg flies must drifted much slower so that the flies actually drift between the rocks as natural eggs would, unlike nymphs, which drift much higher in the water.
2. Down and Across
Down and across, or slow swing, this has evolved into a very productive method of fly presentation. The down-and-across is intended to be a tow part presentation. The first part is intended to be a dead drift along the river bottom. The second part of the presentation is the slow swing.
How is the presentation done?
A. Casts up and across the river at 2:00 as the fly drifts down stream, mend the line up stream to maintain a dead drift all the way down to 10:00 while following the drift with the rod tip.
B. Once the fly reaches 10:00 the currents will start to work the fly. The first thing that will happen is the fly will lift off the bottom. To counteract this, first lowing the rod tip and leading the line slide through your fingers, as needed. Doing one or both of these will normally do the job and of course keep mending the line as needed to maintain the desired slow slowing.
The advantage of this type of presentation is that the fish are given tow different looks at the fly, with the first part being the dead drift. The fly can be presented in profile. By doing this, the fish gets the best look at the fly’s dressing many tributary flies are design to be presented to the fish in profile. When the fly is allowed to start its slowing [and that’s when most of the bites will occur] the river currents can bring the flies life. The flies dressing will have a lot to do with this. Flies such as traditional wet flies, spey flies streamers are made to order with this type of presentation.
3. High Sticking
With winter water temperatures and below freezing air temperatures, ice will be a constant obstacle. The fat fly line carries lots of water through the guides of a fly rod. The guides can freeze solid in just a few casts. With the freezing problems and the fact that the fly must be kept on the river bottom, one of the easiest methods of easiest methods of presentation is called high sticking.
The high sticking method is best performed with a standard fly rod and fly line, and leaders. Start by working with 2 to 2½ rod links of lines. Casting upstream at ten o’clock, make a immediate upstream mend while holding the rod tip and line off the water, follow the drift with rod tip downstream to two o’clock while maintaining solid contact with the river bottom. As always, constant weight adjustment is always critical to maintaining the correct drift. For winter fishing do not fish more line than you can cast without pulling wet fly line through your rod tip, by doing this the ice will form on the fly line instead of in the guides of the rod. Beak the pools into small bites and systematically fish each section, by doing this you will avoid constant ice in the guides.