Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
4. Little Brown Stoneflies
5. Quill Gordons
6. Blue Quills
7. Little Black Caddis
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
What Turns Trout On To Eat?
Fly Fishing Strategies - What Flies To Use, Coming Tomorrow
In talking to customers and answering email each and every day, there's one thing that continues to become
more and more obvious to me. When it comes to fish eating/feeding, many anglers simply do not understand
what turns the trout on, or for that matter, what turns any species of fish on.
Many of them bring up water temperature as such but if not, they state their concerns in terms of the
weather. For example, they may ask, "isn't it too cold to catch trout, or can you catch trout when the weather
is this cold"? I have written before that when it comes to water temperature and its effect on trout,
anglers would be better off to ignore it, than to misunderstand how it affects the fish.
Because the temperature of the water has an effect on the trout's metabolism, many want to turn that into a
type of formula that determines how many trout you can expect to catch. Those that try to do that, simply
don't understand it.
To use water temperature alone as a guide as to when or when not to go fishing, or even worse,
as a gauge as to how many fish your going to catch, is completely stupid.
What turns trout on is FOOD. What turns any fish on is food. If you don't believe that, go watch
someone feed trout. To make this as simple as mud pie, it doesn't make a darn what the water temperature
is, as long as it's not ice, trout will eat. It doesn't matter if their metabolism is low or high, they will eat. They
will usually eat until they throw up, or if the food is alive, they will often just kill it for the heck of it. In the
Smokies, where food isn't as plentiful as it is in many streams with better water chemistry, this is especially
true. If the food is available, the trout will eat it. As I often say, you just want them to eat one of your flies.
They shouldn't have to eat thirty of your flies for you to catch one. If they do, you need to take up golf.
Bass are not a cold water fish but if the food is available, they will eat when the water temperature is as low
as the mid to high thirties. Trout are a cold water fish and they will do the same thing. Watch someone feed
catfish, a warm water species, in very cold water after they haven't been fed for a few days. See if they
ignore the food.
Why do anglers chum for many species of fish? If the water temperature is very cold, and redfish are
sluggish, try feeding them a 200 gallon live bait well full of small menhaden, then toss your live bait in with a
hook in it. I've done that many times when cold fronts have dropped the water temperature down into then
low forties. I could go on and on, giving examples of watching fish being fed, or hundreds of actual fishing
Consider that in most northern Rocky Mountain states, the water stays in the mid to high thirties for as much
as half of the year. Does anyone reading this think the trout go 6 months without eating?
Don't get this wrong, knowing the temperature of the water can be a valuable aid, but only If you
understand how water temperature affects the trout, and specifically, how it affects their location in a stream,
their feeding habitats, and their behavior as to where, when and how they eat. From a trout fishing
standpoint, water temperature is very important in understanding when aquatic insects will
become available for the trout to eat.
I hope I'm bringing this up at about the time of the year when we don't have to be concerned with fishing very
cold water. We will probably have a few more cold days but hopefully, things will begin to warm up.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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