Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Slate Drakes
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies
3. Needle Stoneflies
4. Mahogany Duns
5. Little Yellow Quills
6. Great Autumn Brown Sedges
7. Blue-winged Olives
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Selecting flies should always be a matter of choosing the ones that will produce
the highest odds of success. Those that produce the highest odds of success are
always those flies that best imitate the most plentiful and available food for the
trout to eat at any given time and place. That is what the trout focus on eating.
Knowing what that food is and imitating it well, versus trial and error methods of
selecting flies, will always produce the best results.
Notice that I have removed the terrestrial insects from the above list. Ants,
hoppers and most beetles normally are far less abundant after the first frost of the
year. That doesn't necessarily mean the trout won't respond to an imitation of
them for a few days. It just means they become less important a a source of food
for the trout.
Larger Middle and Lower Elevation Streams:
I suggest you use a Perfect Fly Blue-winged Olive nymph, size 18, in the mornings.
It will imitate the most plentiful and available food at this time of the year.
Continue with it until you see something hatch which most likely would be BWOs.
You may also see some Little Yellow Stoneflies. If you do spot any adults, it means
they are hatching and you should fish a Perfect Fly Little Yellow Stonefly nymph
late in the afternoon about an hour or two before dark. If you spot any of them
laying eggs, switch to the Perfect Fly Little Yellow Stonefly adult imitation.
Other than the Little Yellow Stoneflies scenario, I would stick with the Blue-winged
Olive nymph until they begin to hatch (if they do), and then switch to an emerger
or dun imitation of the BWO. By the way, they hatch in far less numbers on clear
day than they do on cloudy or overcast days. There could also be a BWO spinner
fall but if so, it will be near dark. If you fish late in the day, I suggest you have a few
Perfect Fly BWO spinners on hand.
If you are seeing any Slate Drake nymphs on the rocks along the streams, I
suggest you switch to a Slate Drake nymph. If you do, you should also watch for a
Slate Drake spinner fall near dark. They are large enough you can see them,
even in low light conditions. If you see any spinners falling, switch to the Perfect
Fly Slate Drake spinner.
Great Autumn Brown Sedges will continue to hatch. These start emerging late in
the afternoons and early evenings. If you see any of these large caddisflies, you
should switch to a Perfect Fly pupa imitation of them. If you see them laying eggs
(dropping down and fluttering on the surface), switch to the Perfect Fly Adult Great
Remember, there are several different species (at least 6) of mayflies that anglers
call Blue-winged Olives that hatch in the Fall. Not all are Baetis species, although
a couple of them are. There are some Drunella species called Eastern
Blue-winged Olives, Small Eastern BWOs (Attenella) species, and some other
smaller (Acentrella) species that could hatch. These could range from a hook size
20 up to as large as a 14, although the larger size would be rare. Most of them are
a hook size 18 with a few 16 size Baetis species showing up areas of some
Smaller Middle and Higher Elevation Streams:
The streams in the higher elevations are going to be much colder than they have
been recently. You may want to avoid fishing them in the mornings. I'm suggesting
a different strategy for them that the larger, lower elevation streams. You should
fish a Perfect Fly Little Yellow Quill nymph in the mornings and continue with it until
you spot something hatching. Most likely that would be Little Yellow Quills but it
could also be the little Needle Stoneflies. Both of these insects are hatching in the
higher elevations. The Little Yellow Quills normally start to hatch around the
middle of the afternoon. If you spot any, switch to an emerger or dun imitation of
the Little Yellow Quill.
If neither of these insects begin to hatch, you may want to switch to a Needle
Stonefly nymph about the middle of the afternoon. If you spot any Needle
Stoneflies laying eggs, switch to the Perfect Fly adult imitation. Remember, when
they are flying, the little Needle stoneflies look more like caddisflies than stoneflies.
The Great Autumn Browns can also hatch in the larger higher elevations but it is
not as likely as it is in the lower elevations.
You may also find some Little Yellow Quill spinners from the previous day's hatch
showing up late in the day. Sometimes, the spinners from the day before appear
during the same time of the current day's hatch. Their light colors make both the
duns and spinners fairly easy to spot.
Keep in mind, the strategies I'm suggested are based on increasing your odds of
success or catching the highest number of trout possible, not the largest size
trout. There are other specific methods of fishing that will produce some much
Also, keep in mind that I'm well aware that some of you may prefer to fish dry flies
more than the above strategy suggest, but again, the strategies provided are for
catching the highest numbers of trout, and depending on individual preferences,
not necessarily having the most fun
If your fishing a stream that has brown trout, it is a good idea to always scan the
water ahead for larger browns. Pre-spawn browns are frequently seen out in the
open at this time of the year. They are usually aggressive and will often attack a
streamer that gets near them. It isn't a bad idea to fish a streamer anytime under
low light conditions, or if any rain stains the water.
It is still a little early for the browns to be in the actual spawning process but some
may well have started and be holding on their redds. Those fish should be left
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Fly Fishing Strategies and
Weather/Stream Conditions Update
Friday: Whatever Hits Me
Saturday: Getting Started
Sunday: Fly Fishing School
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