06/16/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3    Light Cahills - hatching
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Short-horned Sedges - should hatch randomly for 2-3 months
6.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
7.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching
8. Green Sedges - hatching
9. Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
10. Eastern Pale Evening Duns - (called Sulfurs by some)
11. Sulphurs - hatching in isolated areas
12. Golden Stonefly - hatching
13. Little Green Stonefly - hatching
14. Slate Drakes - hatching
15. Beetles
16. Grasshoppers

The Learning Process - Part 3

The process you should go through learning to catch any fish is very similar
irrespective of the species of fish. When it gets right down to it, it is fairly simple.
You catch fish by either using or imitating something the fish eats. It doesn't matter
if it is a 600 pound blue marlin or a 6 ounce bluegill that you are trying to catch, you
put a hook in either something the fish eats, or in something created to look and act
like something the fish eats, such as a lure or a fly. The only exception of that is
when you either use or imitate something the fish you are trying to catch is
attempting to kill or get rid off. That was the case in the spawning bass article I
wrote about a couple of days ago. In ninety-nine plus percent of the cases, you are
using or imitating something the fish eats.

Many anglers never stop and think much about the actual bait or food the fish eats.
They concentrate on knowing something about the species of fish they are after - a
bass, a snook, a tuna or a walleye, but they don't seem to worry much about the
food it prefers to eat and survives on. That is a big mistake. To become proficient at
catching any species of fish, you must become familiar with the food it eats. The key
is the food the fish eats. The only way you can control, manipulate or fool the fish
you are trying to catch into taking your hook is with the actual food, bait or an
imitation of it. To put it bluntly, you need to know more about the food the fish eats
than the fish itself.

I was going to write about specific examples of my own personal experience similar
to the way I wrote about spawning bass and yesterday, about grasshoppers. After
thinking about it, I concluded that I would be writing a long time about fish species
other than trout. I don't want to lose your interest. I just want to make a very
important point, so rather than provide any details, I will just try to briefly summarize
some examples. Starting tomorrow, I will write about specific examples pertaining
directly to fly fishing for trout.

I learned to catch sailfish on the South Florida coast by learning how to find and
track schools of goggle eyes (big eyed scad). I learned how to catch sailfish in the
Cozumel, Mexico, by first learning how to find and track schools of balleyhoo. I
learned how to catch Pacific Marlin in Costa Rica by learning how to find school of
Kawa Kawa. I learned how to catch Atlantic Blue Marlin in the Gulf of Mexico by first
finding offshore schools of tuna by finding rip lines, studying ocean rotary currents.
offshore thermal changes and actually flying over the water in an airplane. I learned
how to catch speckled trout (sea trout) by learning how to find and keep track of
schools of bay shrimp. I learned how to catch king mackerel in the Atlantic by
learning how to find and catch menhaden. I learned how to catch king mackerel in
the Southern Gulf by learning how to find schools of white minnows and in the
Northern Gulf by finding and tracking schools of round eyed scad (cigar minnows). I
could go on and on. The key to catching any species was always the food they
survived on. Once you can find the location of the particular fishes food and then
imitate the appearance and behavior of those foods (or use the natural food itself),
you can always catch the fish.

When I started fly fishing for trout exclusively, the first thing I proceeded to do was
to learn all about the food trout eat. That was just automatic. I used the same exact
approach I had used successfully for many years. Now I must admit that when I
started studying trout food, I quickly found out I had my hands full. I discovered
there were not one or a dozen food items to learn all about, there were hundreds of
foods that looked and behaved differently. I also discovered that over the years
anglers and writers had made it much more complicated than it should be by using
hundreds of confusing and meaningless common names of insects and worse, the
names of the flies used to imitate them. It was an unnecessary confusing mess to
say the least.

I purchased over two-hundred books on fly fishing for trout and as far as I know, all
of the books written on aquatic insects and other trout food. I subscribed to every
fly fishing magazine there are and still do. I studied and printed out most everything
of importance I could find on the World Wide Web. Angie and I fished over two
hundred days a year (two years over 250 days) and have continued since starting.
We have taken stream samples of the insects and other foods from coast to coast.
We have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours studying, identifying, video taping
and digitally recording images of the insects and crustaceans. We have fished over
300 trout streams, including 86 of Trout Unlimited's Top 100 Streams. By the way,
check out our new
stream section of this website that is under construction. We
have just started but it will eventually compile information on all of these streams. It
will have detailed hatch charts on all of the streams and four pages or more of
information on each one. We have several devoted anglers from across the United
States and Canada helping us with this project.

Starting tomorrow, I will write about many of the things we discovered and exactly
how it helped us learn to catch trout. I think you will find the articles very interesting.
Some things may surprise you even if you have fished for trout for years.

Copyright James Marsh 2009