Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little and baetis BWOs)
2. Little Yellow Quills
3. Needle Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
4. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing DVD - Part 7
In part 6 of this series, I explained why I chose "Fly Fishing for Trout in Tailwaters" as the first production to
be released that was hosted by Angie and I. I may have made one mistake to start with. Like books, the title
of a video is the first and usually the most important decision you make about it. From a pure marketing
standpoint, we may have been better off to have named it "Fly Fishing for Trout Below Dams". It amazes me
at the number of beginning and fairly new anglers that don't know what a tailwater is. As mentioned in my last
article on this series in the case of the Madison River, some well known fly fishing magazine writers and
editors apparently don't know a freestone stream from a tailwater. That was probably the tipping point that
made me come to the decision to release the Tailwater program first of the many programs that Angie and I
were working on.
Another reason I wanted to release Tailwaters first was to do with release schedules, or I should say, the lack
thereof. Angie and I made three trips, usually involving relatively long distant travel, before we were able to
fish the South Fork of the Snake River. Unless you carry a drift boat along with you, the odds of getting to
wade fish the South Fork is less than 50 percent. The problem is release schedules are not published or
provided to anglers. The potato farmers control when water is released. If your very familiar with the river,
you can make a good educated guess but for anyone else, it is purely hit or miss. I think the local fly shops
and outfitters like it that way. It probably results in more guided float trips.
To emphasis this last point, I shot the program opening introduction segment at two different locations. The
first part of the intro was shot just below the dam on the White River tailwater in Arkansas. The second part
was shot just below the dam on the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho. It points out the different ways
the two controlling authorities handle discharges and how they go about getting information to the public
about the discharges.
There are a lot of differences in tailwaters. Most all of them require a good knowledge of the extent of the
releases of water from the dams. Some tailwater discharges are relatively stable and the water levels vary
little, and some vary greatly. Some dams have one turbine and some have several. Some are top water lake
discharges. There are different types of dams that were built for different reasons. All tailwaters demand
strategies and techniques that are different from that of freestone streams and spring creeks.
Mother Nature isn't the only one in control. Humans and computers control the habitat of trout in tailwaters.
Discharges from dams can change a calm tailwater stream into a fast flowing river in a matter of minutes, yet
some tailwaters fluctuate only moderately. Trout adjust their location and feeding habits to these changes in
the rates of flow. The flow affects the manner and the time the trout feed.
If you are to be consistently successful at fishing tailwaters, you have to learn to adjust your methods,
techniques and strategies to the all of the varying conditions. In many ways, tailwater discharges remind me
of tides. Fish in both tailwaters and tidal water adjust their feeding habits to the changes in flows. Knowing
just how, when and where to fish a tailwater becomes even more important than it normally is fishing other
types of water.
This video has scenes from over (30) thirty top, blue-ribbon tailwaters from across the nation. It
shows the different types of dams and tailwaters, how the different lakes affect the pH of the water, water
temperature, rate of flows, and in some cases the clarity of the water. It gets into just how current affects the
feeding habitats of trout.
Fishing action is shown on the Uncompahgre River tailwater, the Frying Pan River, the Blue River tailwater in
Colorado, the West Fork of the Bitterroot River in Montana, the Madison River tailwater below Hebgen Lake
in Montana, and other tailwaters. There are fishing scenes from the Big Horn River, MT, Hiwassee River, TN,
Housatonic River, CT, Kennebago River, ME, the Rapid River, ME, the Deerfield River, MA, the East and
West Forks of the Delaware River, NY, the Neversink River, NY, the North Branch of the Potomac River, MD,
the Savage River, MD, the Smith River, VA, the Clinch River, TN, Hiwassee River, TN, the Yampa River, CO,
the South Platte River, CO, the Gunpowder Falls River, MD, the Jackson River, VA, the South Fork of the
Holston River, TN, the Watauga River, TN, the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, ID (below Ashton Reservoir),
the North Platte River,CO and some others.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh