Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group)
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
9. Ants (includes Flying Ants)
Beware Of False Prophets
Detecting deception and truth, isn't always easy:
Some that proclaim to be Smoky Mountain fly fishing experts will tell you the fly pattern
isn't important. That's happens often at this particular time of year. They base that on
the fact there's fewer hatches in the late summer and early fall than most of the other
times of the season. The truth is, the fewer insect hatches there are, the
more important the fly pattern becomes.
There's another even more important factor about the importance of the fly pattern
you use. The fewer the numbers of insects in the streams that are available
for the trout to eat, the more important the fly pattern becomes.
In the Spring, when there's multiple hatches, and when almost all the aquatic insects
that exist in the streams exist in a mature nymphal stage of life, the fly pattern isn't
quite as important. In addition to the wide variety of insects available, the higher,
faster water of Spring provides the pocket water trout little opportunity to get a good
look at a fly. The age old generic and attractor fly patterns that kinda look like a lot of
different things but not much of anything, usually work well enough under those
conditions to catch a few trout. Under these fast water conditions the generic and
attractor types of flies work far better than they do in more moderate flows. As a
general rule, they don't work at all in slower flows. Even in fast, high water, they
never work as well as flies that imitate the real insects that are most
available and most plentiful. That's simply because trout sometimes get a good
look at a fly. Even in high fast water, there are times the fly gets caught in the slower
water of pockets and current seams of the fast flowing streams. In fact, that's where
the trout are most likely to take the fly.
When there's only a few insects for the trout to chose from, which is the case now, the
generic and attractor imitations have less chances of imitating the naturals. For
example, to illustrate the point, if there was only one insect available for the trout to
eat, you would be far better off with a fly that imitated the looks and behavior of that
insect, than a generic or attractor fly that, from a impressionistic standpoint, imitated
several insects. Remember, most of the aquatic insects hatched back during the late
Winter, Spring and early Summer. Those eggs from those insects that have hatched
since are now very tiny, immature nymphs and larvae. That's why there's less food in
the streams at this time of the year. That's also why matching what is there is
even more important than it normally is.
The trout know exactly what's most plentiful and most available just like us humans
know what's in the refrigerator. If we don't know off hand, we can go look inside the
refrigerator. Trout are even more familiar with what they have to eat. They see it
around the clock, day in and day out. And since I mentioned the word "see", let me
remind you that they see objects underwater far better than objects on the surface of
the water, meaning its even more important for the nymphs to look like the real
nymphs than it is a dry fly to look like the adult stage of the insect. The most
important point to remember is that the fewer insects there are, the less
chance the generic fly patterns have in imitating the looks and behavior of
those that do exist.
It never ceases to amaze me, just how casual some anglers can be about accepting
advise about fishing. Anglers often rely on people they think are, or at least they think
should be, knowledgeable about fishing. The false prophets think they can be causal
about their advise because they think any lack of success will be passed off by the
anglers as "the fish were not biting", "the fishing is slow or poor", or that the anglers
will think they were just unlucky. They write and talk about fishing in such a
manner as to insult the intelligence of anglers that know what they are doing.
Because they don't know the things they should know to be offering their advise, they
assume others don't.
In a few cases, some self proclaimed experts are more interested in selling flies and
fly fishing gear than the actual results it brings their customers. In other cases, the
false prophets are those that like to offer their advise in blogs and forums. In some
cases those that offer such advise on a regular and consistent basis actually never,
and when I say never, I mean never, fish the streams in the park, yet they have no
problem telling others how they should go about their fishing. Some guys are just
more gifted than others I guess, but the gift of spreading BS isn't beneficial or useful
Amazingly, the same guys that tell you the fly pattern isn't important, also tell
you exactly what they would use and exactly what flies they recommend you
That reminds me of politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouth and want
everything both ways. If the fly pattern really isn't important, then why do they
turn right around and advise anglers as to what flies they should be using.
Why don't they advise anglers to shut their eyes and select a fly. Better than that, if
someone actually believes them, why shouldn't they just buy a few dozen of any one
fly pattern and fish with those same flies the rest of their life. Why should they ever
have a need to change flies.
Such advise is laughable. As I have often said and written, it's always the same guys
who don't know one insect from another that are perfectly willing to offer such
worthless and misleading advise.
If someone says the fly pattern isn't important, call or write them and ask
them exactly when it was they last fished any of the streams in the park. Ask
them how often during the past five years they have fished in the park. Don't accept
hear say, or second hand information from anyone's phantom friends. BS can get
deeper in a fly shop than a Abilene Texas stock yard.
My advise to you is, that If you actually believe the fly pattern isn't important, go online
and purchase a few dozen of any one fly pattern and fish it the rest of your life. If the
fly pattern isn't important, it won't matter which fly you choose. Make it easy on
yourself and purchase the cheapest one you can find. You can find plenty for $.50
each or less on eBay. I will assure you that if you fish it long enough, you will catch a
trout on it. The big question is, just how many and just how often.
The new "Fly Fishing Strategies Series - What Fly To Use", will be the subject of
Copyright 2011 James Marsh