Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3    Light Cahills - hatching
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Short-horned Sedges - should hatch randomly for 2-3 months
6.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
7.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching
8.   Green Sedges - hatching
9.   Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
10. Eastern Pale Evening Duns - (called Sulfurs by some)
11. Sulphurs - hatching in isolated areas
12. Golden Stonefly - hatching
13. Little Green Stonefly - hatching
14. Slate Drakes - hatching
15. Beetles
16. Grasshoppers

The Learning Process - Part 18
Continued from Yesterday's Article

Capturing and getting images of the insects from the trout streams cut our fishing
time down considerably. We were fooling with the bugs as much as we were fishing.
That worried me for a long time but as time passed, I figured out that we were
catching more trout in a short time knowing what we were doing that we were when
we were just going to a stream and fishing for a long period of time. Each trip where
we learned a lot about a certain insect or hatch, could be used to our advantage
the next time we encountered the same insect. It wasn't long before it began to
really pay off. The more we studied the insects, the more we knew about what the
trout were eating. It would usually be the following year before we could apply what
we learned the previous year.

Obtaining the insects we needed turned out to be more difficult than we expected
because from April to July, when we were on one stream in the Western states, for
example, we also needed to be on another stream in the East to catch a certain
hatch. It was impossible for us to be where we needed to be as fast as we needed
to be there. There are many mayfly hatches that only last a week or two. Then
there was the problem of the insects not hatching when they were predicted to
hatch. It took approximately seven years for us to get all the stoneflies and mayflies
captured and video tapped. We were able to get the nymphs and larvae much
easier than the adults or mayfly duns that only lived a day or two out of the entire
year. The insects exist in the stream in their nymphal stage throughout the year.
They exist as a fully emerged adult for only a very short period of time. We had to
raise a few difficult to acquire insects in aquariums. The caddisflies turned out to be
the most difficult to acquire and identify because of the lack of available information
about them. We now have over ninety percent of the most important caddisflies but
there are still a few we would like to video.

During the several years that I fished saltwater fishing tournaments, I learned the
single biggest key to success was being at the right place at the right time. For
example, out of a twelve hour start to finish time limit in a tournament, I have run a
boat as fast as possible for as much as ten of the twelve hours, five hours going
and five hours returning, to get to fish a specific area for only a couple of hours. I
won two tournaments and placed in several using the same strategy. For example, I
have left Destin, Florida at 6:00 AM in a 25 foot center console boat powered by
twin outboard engines, fished the Oil Rigs off the Mississippi Coast and returned to
the weigh-in at Destin by 6:00 PM that same day. In that case I knew the fish would
be on a certain rig and I knew exactly how to catch them. I could give many more
examples of where it only took a short time to catch a lot of fish. Although I hope no
one gets into competition or a big rush trying catch trout, the same principal applies
to trout fishing. It isn't how long you fish. It is being at the right place at the right time
using the right strategy and techniques. It doesn't take a long time to catch a trout.

The Beginning of Perfect Flies:
One of the benefits of doing this was the information and video we obtained
enabled us to come up with our own specific fly patterns or imitations of the insects.
Video taping the different species and being able to compare them to one another,
enabled us to determine which species were similar enough for one fly to work and
which ones were different enough that separate fly patterns are needed. For
example, we found that the Spotted Sedge Caddisflies (
Hydropsyche) of which
there are many species, were almost identical to the Cinnamon Caddisflies
Ceratopsyche) of which there are also several species. There is some difference in
the way the top of the wings look (color and markings, not the shape) so we
decided one fly pattern would work well for both groups. This covered a lot of
different species with one larva, pupa and adult caddisfly pattern. For another
example take the Western Green Drakes which have two abundant species, the
Drunella grandis and Drunella.dodsi. Both are similar enough that one another that
one fly pattern imitates both of them very well. In some cases, such findings were
not discoveries, they were merely verifications of what was already commonly
known. In some cases, we were unable to find any find any previous conclusions
similar to our own findings.

There are also those insects that are so rare that you almost never find them, or
when you do find them, they exist in very small quantities and/or very isolated
locations. It would take thousands of flies to have a specific imitation of all the
species of aquatic insects. In those cases we felt that either one of our other flies
would be similar enough to work or that the insect was so uncommon it would be a
waste of time to develop a specific fly pattern for it.

We decided that 38 groups of mayflies, 9 groups of stoneflies and 13 groups of
caddisflies could be imitated well with one fly for each of its important stages of life.
With midges we found that ninety percent all the midge larvae, pupae and adults
could be grouped into one of three basic colors, red, green and cream. There were
thousands of slight variations of these colors but only a very few that were
drastically different. We did find many of them had more than one of these colors or
either alternating patterns of colors in their larva stage. In his book "Midge Magic",
Mr. Holbrook describes his flies that imitate these as rainbow midges. We may
develop similar fly patterns for the multicolored midges in the near future. Then
there are all the crustaceans such as scuds, sowbugs, crawfish; and marine
species such as sculpin, baitfish, etc. There are other aquatic insects trout feed on
such as damsel flies, dragonflies, and several aquatic insects that are only found in
still water. Of course theres also all the terrestrial insects, or ants, hoppers, beetles,
etc. that may get in the water. This amounted to over 250 specific fly patterns that
we now have in our Perfect Fly line.

Copyright James Marsh 2009