SLOW DOWN! YOU MOVE TOO FAST

If you can see them, they can see you and heavily pressured urban fish will hunker down quickly if they feel any threat. Consider staying well back from the bank, if

possible, to avoid having your shadow fall on the water.  Use wind chop and ripples to your advantage. Though rarely practiced in the urban setting, mostly because you’re likely to be mistaken for a sniper or pervert, keeping a low profile can give you an advantage with spooky fish. Finally, learn how clarity affects fish vision. Talk to the local fly guys. Ask them what is working for the current conditions, and then buy a few of those patterns from them.

5. Is the water higher or lower than normal?

Urban lakes and ponds are generally rather shallow and even small fluctuations in water depth can change the desirability or accessibility of various structure that certain fish would otherwise choose. Don’t automatically assume the usual spots will work if you notice (keyword: notice) a change in water level. However, definitely use low water levels to examine exposed areas. Note structure and shape that was once and will soon be underwater again. Take pictures if you can. We recently spoke to a non-fishing gentleman who lived near a local pond and volunteered that he had observed a deep channel in one part of that particular pond when it was once drained for maintenance. That little nugget alone has helped us pull sizeable fish out of there on several occasions.

6. Can you identify likely holding spots—behind current breaks, near structure, below riffles, etc.?

In other words, “think before you blindly plink”.

7. Do you need to get in the water, or can you fish from shore?

Not typically legal, or medically desirable in many urban waters but in a few locations it really could make a difference in the success of your day. Refer back to the UFV article “Tortilla Flats” for an example.

8. Is there a good place to get in the water that will avoid spooking fish and position you well to cast to likely fish-holding spots?

See comment above.

9. Are there any wading hazards you’ll need to avoid?

Forget wading hazards, in the urban fishing setting, you always need to be aware of potential hazards: broken bottles, rusty pipes sticking up, pop-up sprinkler heads, used hypodermic needles, dead ducks filled with the gas of decomposition ready to explode at the slightest nudge, discarded monofilament that will wrap around

your boots…If you haven’t been paying attention so far consider yourself very, very blessed and consider changing your ignorant ways.

10. Are there any obstacles that you’ll need to avoid while fighting a fish?

I say consider this from a fish-on perspective, a back-casting perspective and sadly, a got-to-get-away-quick perspective. You are in an urban setting – it is a given

that there will be obstacles, including kids on scooters directly behind you. Plan accordingly. Should you tie in to a real fighter while fishing from the bank, most fellow anglers will follow “boat rules” and will reel in or raise their lines so you can pass beneath, especially because as an urban fly fisherman you are still an oddity and they want to see if you really can land something with a fly rod.  Also consider that many urban lakes have artificial structure in them, some intentionally placed there to improve habitat and some just there because certain folks somehow think it is fun to chuck stuff into the water. The first time a good bass breaks off by wrapping around a submerged shopping cart you’ll know what I mean.

And there you have it – ten tips to better angling courtesy Orvisnews.com and adjusted to the urban fly environment courtesy yours truly. Now, I know there are probably many more tips and considerations we could come up with if we really tried, The point however is basically the same one we all learned in grade school: “stop, look, listen, then go”. Ironically, in the realm of urban fly fishing that simple, time-tested advice can still keep us from getting hit by a bus but it can also make us much better anglers.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.

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