1. Before You Step Into the Water, Make A Few Casts Why do people always insist on wading out into the middle of the river? On this last trip, I watched a half-dozen guys tromp into the river, intent on getting to the deepest part. I watched them flail the water for a couple of hours, then leave in disgust. This morning, I stayed on the bank and began tossing white jigs. The three largest trout (25" cutthroat, 26" rainbow, 24" cuttbow) were taken 15 yards off the shore, right where the other guys were standing. This is particularly important on rivers that are running at or above normal levels. In this case, "River X" was running at 1600 cfs (normal flow is 600 cfs). Trout will move close to shore in order to save energy in the current. One year, the flows hit 3,600 cfs, but I managed to nail a five pound rainbow six inches off the bank. Big trout will stay close to shore and feed, unless you feel obligated to stomp right through their living room. 2. Big IS Better "River X" is overrun by fly-fishermen. The trout see all sorts of nymphs, emergers, and dries-most of them in the 18-22 range. It works just fine, since most of their food is that small. The fly-fishermen tend to very well on trout in the 14"-16" range. Then again, trout do get tired of constantly feeding on small insects. It's like nibbling on a steady stream of peanuts. Now, toss in a big steaming platter of steak. A big marabou jig swinging through a feeding lane elicts the same reaction. On this trip, my fish *averaged* 20" inches. One of my favorite patterns is an oversized Woolly Bugger tied on a 1/16 jig head. The tail is a minimum of 3/4" long, with a Flashabou trailer of 1" or more. It's big. It's ugly. But it gets the job done.