Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Great Brown Autumn Sedge
3.   Slate Drakes
4.   Little Yellow Quills
5.   Needle Stoneflies
6.   Crane Flies
7.   Helligramite
8.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
9.   Midges

Fly Fishing for Trout - Instructional Videos (DVD) - Part  9
Continued from yesterday

From near the start of our Fly Fishing DVD productions on insects, it became
obvious that we should create our own flies that was keyed to the specific, or actual
aquatic and terrestrial insects. We couldn't possible complete a program showing
anglers the actual insects they were supposed to be imitating and explaining each
one's behavior without eventually showing them the flies that are used to imitate the

That posed a big problem. It was a "which comes first - the chicken or the egg deal".
If we waited until we had designed flies for all the insects, we would be forever
releasing the videos on the insects. If we didn't wait, we would be forced to show
flies selected from thousands of flies with names that would drive a Rhodes Scholar
nuts trying to figure out what the flies imitated.

All of the current commercial fly companies sell flies (tied in Third World Countries)
that were originally developed by "fly tying personalities" over the years. Without
getting personal, I'll illustrate what I mean by saying the typical fly is a "James's Pink
Duck Tail", or a "Marsh's Blue Fin Quill". Now you tell me what either of them are
suppose to imitate. Some of the commercially available flies are intended to imitate
a certain insect but most of them aren't. Some are supposed to imitate a variety of
insects and some don't imitate anything found in real life. I guess you are supposed
to look in your fly box and think, "that's a good looking fly - it should work today",
and when it doesn't, try the "Marsh's Blue Fin Quill".

After all, you can put hair and feathers on a hook, toss your newly created fly in fast
moving pocket water and every once in a while a trout will mistaken it for something
that's eatable. If you toss it in a recently stocked trout stream, the stockers may eat
it like it was caviar compared to what they grew up eating.

The result was that our Stoneflies and Mayflies DVD programs show flies that are
currently used to match insects that are in many cases less than desirable. Some of
them kinda, sorta, almost look like the real thing. We selected the best ones we
could find out of thousands we had purchased. In some cases, we were able to use
some of the "Perfect Flies" we had developed up until the time the programs were

One thing we noticed from the start was that most all of the nymphs on the market
were crude and far more unrealistic than the dry flies. It appeared that if you are
fishing below the surface, all you need is a hook with some hair on it. I first begin to
think that maybe a trout, unlike all the other fish in the World, could see things out
of the water better than things under the water. I quickly discovered it was right the
opposite. Trout can see a nymph under the water far better than a mayfly dun on
top of the water. I wondered why the flies (nymphs) didn't reflect that.

The commercial nymph fly selection is so crude it includes what is supposed to be
caddisfly larva. When it comes to commercial trout flies, a caddisfly larva is a
nymph. I wondered if that could be because the ones selling the flies didn't know
the difference in a nymph and a larva. Not everyone passed ninth grade biology.

We had caught thousands of mayfly and stonefly nymphs as well as caddisfly and
midge larvae. We could see very well, for example, that a
Blue-winged Olive
swimming nymph didn't look anything like a
March Brown clinger nymph. It didn't
resemble a
Cinnamon Caddis larva by any stretch of our imagination. We knew a
Hare's Ear Nymph didn't look like either the March Brown or BWO nymph and it
certainly didn't look like a Cinnamon Caddis larva. It did resemble a few brown
crawler nymphs fairly well. What do you think?

We were constantly amazed that out of the thousands of trout flies
available in fly shops throughout the nation, we couldn't find flies that
came close to imitating most of the actual aquatic insects we were finding
in the trout streams
. I was determined to change that. It took a few years, but our
"Perfect Flies" solved most of the problem.  A year before we had any of our
"Perfect Flies" for sell, we released a
DVD showing anyone how they could tie their
own mayfly nymph imitations that actually resemble the real mayfly nymphs.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
Blue-winged Olive Nymph
Caddisfly larva
March Brown Nymph