Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (See Below)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Stoneflies - Summer Stones
4. Slate Drakes
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Little Yellow Quills
13. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Back To The Basics - Fishing Low Water
When the water levels are low, anglers tend to think only in terms of the trout being
shallow and not having as many places to hide but probably much more important is
the fact that when you have low water, you also have slower moving water. The laws
of physics demand the two go together. When the water is moving slower than it
normally is, you simple can't get away with the things you can get away in the faster
moving water. The trout have a much better opportunity to examine not only your fly
but also your tippet and leader.
Yes, it's true the trout are also far more cautious in low water. They are easily
spooked but as I said yesterday, this isn't because they can see you better in
shallow water because they can't. In shallow water, they have a much smaller view
of the world outside their underwater home. In general, all other things equal, you
can wade closer to a trout that's a foot deep than you can one that's three feet
The problem is also related to the speed of the water. If the surface of the water in
the trout's window of vision is distorted by broken currents, or any turbulence, the
trout can't see much of anything outside the water. You can get much closer to a
trout in the riffles of a clear, spring creek (if you can find any) than you can a trout
that is beneath a slick, smooth surface of the spring creek, for example. When you
are approaching trout in water with a broken surface, its view through its window of
vision of everything outside the water is greatly distorted. This helps but doesn't
completely solve the problem. Trout may still be able to detect motion and that gets
me to the next point.
When you are approaching trout, do so slowly. Move as slow as you possible can.
Quite frankly, that's difficult for me to do because I am naturally always in too big of
a hurry. Now, I know that when you make a cast, the trout may be able to see the
movement of your arm and rod but again, through their small window of vision, they
have only a limited view of it. The fly rod is relatively small in comparison to your
body. They will spot your entire body moving much easier than they would a fly rod
swinging through the air. That said, I still think anytime you can make a low cast, or
sidearm cast, it's best to do so.
Remember also, objects outside of the water that are relatively low to the water
cannot be viewed by the trout. This is due to the refraction of light that causes the
trout's window of vision. The higher an object is above the water, the better chance
the trout has to see it. An object outside of the window is only completely "in focus"
when it is straight up, directly over their eyes. Anything viewed near the edge of the
circular area of the window is out of focus and generally flat and wide. To the trout,
you would look like the World's shortest and fattest man or woman when you were
near the edge of the circular window. Again, this may not matter that much because
it isn't that they need to recognize you and think "there's old James again - lets get
out of here". They are used to seeing objects that are still, not moving. Trees limbs
and leaves move some in the wind, but the trees don't walk around on the banks
and they don't grow out in the stream. In other words, again, it's the movement that
gets their attention and the faster anything moves, the quicker it will get their
attention. In general, this amounts to approaching the trout slowly and as low as you
can get. Short people have an advantage. Angie can get much closer to a trout
than I can.
I'm sure you all have heard that you should dress in natural, earth tone shades of
colors like dull greens and browns. My white hair (what's left of it) will scare the trout
if it isn't covered with a hat. The hat shouldn't be a white straw hat like Mike Lawson
wears either. That's for pictures. The ideal clothing would be camouflage clothing.
You really need to look more like a hunter than an angler. At one time I had the
instant thought of making our new Perfect Fly fly rods in a camouflage color. We are
not going that far but since they have to be finished in some color, I did choose
green. I'm certain I will be accused of copying Winston but that wasn't the case. It
doesn't hurt to dress in clothing that goes with the season. The bright greens of
Spring are quite different than the mixed colors of Fall, for example.
If you possible can, approach a likely holding area from behind a boulder or tree.
Hide as much as you possible can. If you are fishing from the bank, get on your
knees. You can get much closer to a trout. The worse thing you can possible do is
to get up on top of a high boulder and scan the water for trout.
Tomorrow, I will get into your line, leader and tippets and in general, the flies you
Copyright 2010 James Marsh