Note: Just because an insect is listed below doesn't mean it is hatching. Trout eat the insects as
nymphs and larvae, not just duns or adults. These are the insects and other food you should be
concerned with at this particular time.
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching soon
3. Quill Gordons - hatching soon
4. Little Black Caddis - hatching soon
5. Winter Stoneflies - sparse hatches
6. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
7. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
Reviewing the Basics - Hiding From the Trout - Part 3
If you really want to learn a lot about what spooks trout, and how well they can see
and hear you, do right the opposite of what you should do. See how many trout you
can spook. Spring creeks are perfect places to do this. It is easier for you to see
the trout and easier for the trout to see you. You can see the reaction of the trout,
whereas in freestone streams, trout can flee without you ever seeing them. We
have experimented with this several times and I believe we have picked up a few
things we would not have otherwise learned.
The first thing I noticed was that when I was about 40 feet away in full view of a
trout, yet not noticed by the trout to the point it would flee, I could wave my arms
without spooking the trout. Waving my arms and fly rod didn't seem to make any
difference in the reaction of the trout. I would be well within its line of vision standing
on a bank, not below it. If I started walking to my left or right, the same trout would
shoot under the grass to hide. I think that was because they could not see my arms
well enough for the movement to get their attention but when my body moved, they
could see what was going on. That is only a guess. There is no real proof of that
theory, of course. I tried the same experiment on several trout and the results were
always the same. The movement of my body had a different reaction than the
movement of just my arms.
If I stayed low on the ground and slowly stood up within about twenty feet of a trout,
I could get by doing so most of the time without spooking the trout. However, when I
would do the arm waving deal, they would all take off every time. That told me that it
was next to impossible to cast to a trout that close too me without spooking it if it
was looking in my direction. It also told me that if you move very slowly the trout
didn't spook as much as they do when you make sudden movements.
I could do the exact same thing, approaching a trout from its rear, and pull it off
without the spooking the trout. The effects of the blind spot to their rear became
I have tried moving up on trout in spring creeks about every way I could think off. I
have been working on a DVD on fly fishing spring creeks now for about six years.
That was the reason I was spooking trout rather than trying to catch them. I
attempted to show, on camera, the different reactions from the trout for various
scenarios. It didn't turn out very easy to do, by the way. Some of the things I
discovered fooled me, but in most cases I was able to guess what would happen.
That makes me think common sense goes a long way in approaching trout.
I have kicked rocks just to see the reaction of the trout. I have stomped the ground
with my feet. I have yelled as loud as I can yell and done a number of sound test on
trout in spring creeks. That did fool me. They can hear much better than I thought
they could. I have also do these sound test in the smokies. You can drop a rock on
another rock in the stream and send every trout in sight fleeing. Try that from one
of the high banks along a stream and watch the reaction.
Spring creeks taught me a lot about approaching trout. You must be able to do so
successfully or you are not going to catch any trout. Blind casting is a waste of time
in spring creeks unless you are fishing a riffle section of the stream. I love fishing
spring creeks because it does teach you a lot about the reactions of trout and a lot
about being able to fool and catch them.
We learned that the surface of the water makes a huge difference in what the trout
can and cannot see above the water. If it is smooth without ripples, you are seen by
the trout much farther away than you are seen when the surface of the water is
disturbed by current or wind. That is another reason you can get closer to the trout
in riffles and runs than you can in the smooth water of a pool or pockets along
banks and behind boulders in the Smokies.
Fish holding in deeper water will spook much quicker than those holding just under
the surface. I think this is to do with their window of vision but it could also be a
result of what the trout are concentrating on. When they are only inches deep
feeding in current, they are looking for tiny insects. You would think they would be
keenly aware of what was around them since they are in an exposed position but
they don't spook as easily as they do when they are holding in water a couple of
feet deep. When they are holding inches under the water, they don't see insects in
the water until they are within inches from their nose. This is due to their small
window of vision.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh
Spring creeks are perfect
places to learn how trout react
to movements and sound. You
can clearly see what spooks
trout and what you cannot get
away with. You must stalk trout
to catch them. You do not
blind cast because you can
see everything in the water. In
this scene I was moving closer
and closer to a large trout
casting all the time with the
camera looking over my
This is Silver Creek Idaho,
one of our favorite streams.
We have fished this beautiful
creek several times and we
have learned a lot about trout
doing so. You rarely catch a
trout you don't first see. If the
wind is not blowing hard, you
will be looking at the trout you
are casting to every time.
Knowing what spooks trout,
what you can get away with
and what you can not get
away with, goes a long way in
being able to catch them.