07/19/09

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    Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
6.   Slate Drakes - hatching
7.   Little Green Stonefly - hatching
8.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
9.   Beetles
10. Grasshoppers
11. Ants
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
14. Helligramite
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 28 - Destinations
Early in our learning process, we discovered something existed in fly fishing for
trout that existed in most other types of fishing. The highly advertised fishing
destinations were not always what they were made out to be.

We purchased several book shelves of books on fly fishing. As you probably know,
there is something about fly fishing that inspires anglers to write about it more than
any other type of fishing.  I am not sure I know exactly why. I enjoy reading most of
them. I have accumulated over six-hundred books on the subject. Early on, we
enjoyed reading about the places we wanted to fish and the books helped us get
familiar with the streams prior to fishing them. We probably used John Ross's book
"Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's Best 100 Trout Streams" more than any one
particular book. We used it as a base and then acquired all the other information
we could about the streams. We understand It was derived from local TU
organizations input and the book does spread the streams out across the nation on
a fairly even basis as to geographic area. The only problem for us was that it
tended to place trout streams in Montana, for example, on the same keel as
streams in many other states where the fishing isn't close to being on the same
level. There are a lot of trout streams not listed in, just for illustrations lets say
Oregon, that are far better than some listed in many of other states. The book
doesn't misrepresent anything at all. It just isn't a book that list the top 100 trout
streams. It is as described, an excellent guide to trout streams across the country. I
soon got the feeling that we had actually fished far more of the streams in the book
than the writer had fished. I don't know that to be a fact but I would be willing to bet
I'm making a good guess. It is an excellent book, well written, and well worth having
that was updated not long ago.

There was little information on Al Gore's World Wide Web when we first started but
we printed what there was to take with us on our trips and read most everything
available about the destinations we wanted to fish. We found a few anglers that
could give us some first hand information about some of the most popular
destinations, but we soon ran out of information in that respect because we were
fishing places no one else would care to fish. Looking back, maybe we should have
done global warming studies on the streams for Mr. Gore. We could have fished,
recouped all our expenses and made a few billion dollars on the side.

Most magazine articles, as I mentioned yesterday, were usually centered around
the fly fishing accommodations more than the stream itself. If a stream had a few
outfitters, resorts, fly shops, etc., near by, it was usually written about several times.
If one was very remote with few or no accommodations, it was written about very
little. We soon discovered that the Northwestern, Southwestern and now the
Eastern Fly Fishing magazines were the best publications for fishing destinations. If
is has a trout, or any other species of fish that will take a fly, they will eventually
have an article about it, fly shops or no fly shops. That is one reason I still advertise
my Fly Fishing DVD and Perfect Fly companies in their magazines.

To better illustrate the point I am getting to, lets take the state of Colorado for
example. We now have fished over thirty trout streams in the state including all the
blue ribbon streams. When we first visited the South Platte, a highly touted stream,
it was not long after the big forest fires they had in that area. The stream was a
black mess to say the least. We ruined our waders even though we were fishing an
area of the stream that the fire didn't touch. It was a sickening shame. To be fair to
the South Platte, we have since returned and found no real evidence that anything
happened. It is now a very good trout stream. We have fished the Frying Pan
several times and always found it great, but we always found it crowded. The trout
in the Frying Pan know the various trout flies better than I do.

We finally headed out in the middle of nowhere in the state of Colorado and fished
the White River. We found it to be excellent and as good as any stream in the state.
In fact it was far better than some of the so called, prime destinations near Denver.
Like many of the streams in Colorado, it doesn't have the access in the middle and
lower sections that we would like for it to have, but it has enough. Its an excellent
trout stream located in an area where the elk is the king. Twice we fished the
stream for a couple of days without seeing another angler. Twice we fished it only to
see one other angler. Two of the four times I managed to catch a wild rainbow trout
over eighteen inches. All four times we managed to catch a few nice rainbows over
fourteen inches. The only thing you can count on seeing are eagles, elk, mule deer
and an occasional rancher's truck.

I could go on and on about the streams from coast to coast and make this a
destination series but that is not my purpose here. I may do that some time but now
all I want to point out is that when it comes to fly fishing destinations, we got a good
education the hard and expensive way. Often it wasn't that the stream had been
publicized to be something it wasn't. It was just the wrong time of the season, or the
wrong year. I'll put it like this. If you were just starting your national TV show on fly
fishing, you wouldn't have wanted to make your pilot show in the Smokies in August
of two years ago. You would have had a difficult time convincing people there was
water in some of the streams. Right now, if you made the pilot show, most anglers
that have never visited the Smokies would think they had died and gone to heaven.

The first time we visited the highly famed Big Horn River, it was in a mess. The
guides were fishing by themselves. The drought had changed the river during the
two years prior to our first visit and had made a huge dent in the trout population. It
actually was still good. It just wasn't any longer the best trout stream in the nation.
By the way, it has been back in great shape for the last three years.

So far, I have given examples of fishing destinations that didn't turn out to be what
we expected because of Mother Nature. By the way, I'm such a lousy writer, I don't
know whether or not to capitalize Mother Nature, but I want her on my side, so I will.
Tomorrow, I will get into some examples of where we felt we had been truly taken,
not by Mother Nature, but by other humans. .