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Find Your Confidence Patterns and Fish Like You Mean it

While trying not to sound too corny, confidence is an important part of fly fishing. Your mental attitude actually plays a role in your ability to catch fish. When you fish like you don’t believe you’ll catch fish, there’s a good chance you’ll meet a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unconfident fishing is lazy fishing – it’s half-hearted. Instead, fish like you KNOW you’ll catch fish.

After some time and experience, most anglers begin to develop confidence patterns. These are the flies we believe in. From trial and success, we know they catch fish. Every angler’s confidence patterns are different. If you ask 10 people here at the fly shop, you’ll probably get 10 different answers.


When we asked among the Anglers All crew, we received a variety of answers. One of Ben’s go-to confidence patterns is the Rainbow Warrior. Rachel turns to the Black RS2. Throughout the winter months, Larkin relies on the Chocolate Foam Back Emerger. One of Blake’s confidence patterns is the Pearl Sparkle Minnow. And as far as Jimmy "Bags" goes, we are sure we can speak for him in saying an olive Amy's Ant!

What are your confidence patterns? There’s no right or wrong answer. But it’s an important question to ask yourself. When you know and trust a pattern or a handful of patterns, you can lean into it – you can use that confidence to your advantage.

What does a confidence fly (or confidence in general) do for an angler? When you fish knowing that you’ll catch fish, you’re more alert. You’re ready for the strike. You’re paying attention to the drift and other critical elements of the presentation.

An even more tangible benefit is knowing exactly how your confidence pattern sinks, how it drifts, and what makes it effective. Because you’ve fished it and found success, you’ve learned how to fish that pattern effectively. That knowledge, combined with the confidence behind it will make you more successful on the water.

If you haven’t yet developed any confidence patterns, start paying attention to what works for you. Keep a journal. Eventually, you’ll find your favorites. You’ll learn how to fish them and discover what makes them enticing to trout.

If you do have a confidence pattern or a few patterns that you always fall back on, perhaps it’s time to experiment with variations. Try changing the color and size. If you’re tying your own flies, substitute a new material or experiment with slight variations. In this way, you can work to expand that band of confidence.


As we focus in on confidence patterns, fall is the perfect time of year to simplify our fly boxes. As the weather cools, we no longer need the variety of patterns that we did during the summer. In fact, we recently spent some time on the water with Russell Miller from Umpqua Feather Merchants and he gave us a look inside his fishing pack. Check out the video, as Russell gives us his thoughts on flies and organization for fall fishing:

If you have questions about flies or need help getting ready for your next day on the water, please let us know. Visit us at the fly shop in Littleton or give us a call at 303-794-1104. We’re continuing to offer free shipping on all online orders, as well as the option for curbside pick up.