Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Little Eastern BWOs)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group(
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
9. Ants (includes Flying Ants)
"New" Fly Fishing Strategy Series (What Fly To Use) - Part 4
Remember: The key is to imitate the insects and or other food that is most
available and easiest for the trout to acquire.
If you haven't read the first parts of this series What Fly To Use 1), What Fly To Use
Part 2) , and What Fly To Use Part 3, please do so because it will make the following
much more meaningful.
There are some changes that have been made in the above list of foods the trout
may be eating. Our hatch chart shows the Cream Cahills should have all hatched, so I
removed them from the list. The Little Green Stoneflies should have all hatched and
have been removed from the list. Although I saw quite a few last week, i didn't see any
on the water Saturday and Sunday. The Little Yellow Stoneflies, which are Little
Summer Stones, continue to hatch sparsely. The Perlodidae (Yellow Sallies) species
won't begin to hatch again until September. You can imitate both groups with the Little
Yellow Stonefly nymph and adult imitations. Imitate the adults only if you see egg
laying activity taking place. The Little Needleflies haven't started hatching but could
As far as mayflies go, there's still plenty of Little Blue-winged Olives but that's about it.
As mentioned in last week's strategy article, the Slate Drakes are still hatching but
they are in the middle of their hatch period. In the case of Slate Drakes, that means
they are hatching very sparsely. Let me explain. Slate Drakes (Isonychia bicolor) are
completely different from most mayflies in that they hatch in larger numbers when the
hatch first begins, then slow down and hatch sparsely, and then increases in quantity
near the end of their long hatch period. It almost seems they are bi-brooded, meaning
they hatch twice a year, but that isn't the case. It's just a very long hatch period that
varies in intensity.
We added two new mayflies on the list. The Mahogany Duns that should have started
near the first of this month, and the Little Yellow Quills that should start any day now. I
didn't see either one this weekend but they will begin to appear soon. My guess is the
recent cooling tend will bring these two hatches about in the mid to high elevations in
the near future. Right now, they have relatively low odds of occurring and the nymphs
are well hidden. Although you should be prepared for these mayflies by having
imitations of them with you, at this time the most available and plentiful of the mayflies
continues to be the Little Blue-winged Olives. Keep in mind, these are small, hook size
18 and 20 mayflies consisting of swimmers and crawlers, not the fall baetis, but the
nymphs of the baetis are plentiful especially in the mid to lower elevation streams.
Unless a hatch is taking place, imitating the BWO nymph will continue to bring your
highest odds of success.
When available, the trout will continue to feed opportunistically on terrestrial insects.
Notice I have added flying ants to the ant entry on the list. That's because your odds
of encountering flying ants are much greater during the last part of August and
September than they are otherwise. Although the odds are low, you should have
some imitations of them with you just in case you find them on the water.
Regarding terrestrials, I would still use the same strategy I pointed out in the first
articles. The only other change in terrestrials, is per our hatch chart, we have
removed moth larvae (inch worms) from the list. I haven't noticed any inch worms
during the past two weeks.
As mentioned before, I would place far more emphasis on terrestrials during or just
after strong winds or heavy rainfall. I would select ants and beetles when fishing tree
covered streams, and hoppers when around open areas with plenty of grass and
weeds. Early and late in the day, or any time you notice trout feeding in the shallow
water on craneflies, you should give an imitation of the adults a try.
I repeat, your highest odds remains imitating the Little Blue-winged Olives. There are
still plenty of nymphs in the streams, including the fall baetis species yet to hatch. If
you encounter hatches of Little Yellow Quills or Mahogany Duns, you should by all
means switch to imitations of the appropriate stage of life at the time. That means
nymphs up and until the hatch begins; emergers and duns during the hatch; and
spinners during the spinner falls. If you see any Slate Drake shucks on the rocks and
boulders, keep an eye out for the spinners to fall from sunset to dark. If there are
substantial numbers of them, late in the day you should switch from the BWO nymph
to the Slate Drake nymph.
As mentioned in the first three articles, if you are fishing very early in the mornings,
you may want to start out with a streamer. That has proven to be very productive for
the last two weeks but only very early. Otherwise, you should stick with the small size
BWO nymph imitation.
Remember, I'm pointing out your highest odds of catching trout. There's nothing
wrong with fishing a dry fly imitation of an aquatic or terrestrial anytime you chose to
do so. Just keep in mind, that unless your imitating a hatch that's occurring, you are
lowering your odds by doing so. If you stick with the above strategy, and use good
fishing techniques staying hidden, making good presentations, etc., you should be
able to catch about as many trout as you can anytime of the year.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh