07/20/09

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 29 - Destinations
My plan revealed in yesterday's article for today was to bring up some things we
learned the hard way about calling ahead and talking to local fly shops in the area
of the streams we intended to fish. I felt rather stupid each time I was mislead
because I had encountered the same thing years before when checking on various
saltwater fishing destinations. I decided not to go into the specifics of the problems
we encountered because I couldn't very well describe the misrepresentations
without revealing who mislead us. Thats not my purpose, so I'll drop the idea of
revealing the exact experiences and offer this bit of advice.

If you are asking anyone in a position to make financial gains from your trip about
the fishing conditions for any stream, you should be aware that you may not always
get good information. Of course this isn't the usual case. Many fly shops, outfitters
and guides provide very accurate information, whether it is good or bad. In some
cases especially when you are planning on fishing a stream a few hundred miles
from your home, its possible you may get misleading information. It is very
disappointing to drive a couple of hundred miles only to discover the stream you
intended to fish has been high and muddy for a week.

One day on the Yellowstone River, we watched four mislead anglers fishing from
drift boats pass our room on the river when the water was so high and muddy it
wouldn't have been possible to catch a trout without foul hooking it. Later that
afternoon I ask the four guys fishing from two guide boats what they caught. The
answer turned out to be exactly what I thought it would be - nothing. They quoted
the guides as saying they were disappointed that the water had become high and
muddy, as if that came as a surprise to them. The river had been in the same
shape from the runoff for a week.  

In another location I want reveal, we observed two drift boats that were anchored
below a dam in the same area of water not over fifty yards long for the entire day.
Each boat had a guide and two ripped off anglers. Other anglers were wading all
around them on four sides of the two drift boats for the entire day just out of casting
distance of the two boats. I guess the anglers felt rather stupid when they
discovered they had paid a healthy price to fish from an anchored boat when they
could have easily waded the same water and caught more trout than they did
fishing from the anchored drift boat.

Other than a two-hundred mile drive to a stream that turned out to have been high
and muddy for a few days, the situations I am referring to above didn't directly
involve Angie and I. I could go on and write about several other situations that are
similar to those but I will stop and just mention again that you should always be
careful about the people you deal with. Its best to have someone recommend an
outfitter or fly shop. Most of them are honest but there are those who will put the
almighty dollar ahead of their customers satisfaction. Of course those people rarely
stay in business very long. It usually catches up with them. If you are planning
fishing trips, especially those that are a good distance from your home, you should
be careful who you trust. I want to point out that I don't know of any situation where
this has ever been the case with any fly shop, guide service or anyone with
reference to fishing the Smokies.

When we are traveling to any stream outside of our local territory, we have learned
to get the information from weather reports and stream flows sites on the Internet.
The
USGS stream flow information and weather data is available for most all the
trout streams in the nation.  We are working daily on the
Stream Section of our
"Perfect Fly" website. We expect to have direct links for tailwater discharge
schedules, USGS stream flow data, our own hatch charts, local weather and a lot of
other information for all of the trout streams in the nation within the next year.  This
is a big project that will take months to complete but we have several people helping
out and we intend to complete it as soon as possible.

The ways and means people are going about obtaining information is changing fast
these days. In most cases, it is possible to find out more about a stream from the
Internet than it is from any one local business entity. Much of the information the
local guys get comes from the Internet anyway. What is happening out their back
door may not be the same as what is happening twenty miles away.  

For years fly shops have justified their usual high prices of fly fishing gear by saying
they offer first hand, local information. The advise one gets in a fly shop usually
comes from someone who hasn't actually fished themselves in days and in some
cases maybe even months. They only pass out second hand information from other
customers or their guides. In most cases, the old information is worthless even if it is
accurate. Everyone knows that fisherman would never stretch the truth. Things
change by the hour on trout streams. If you know the weather history and forecast,
stream flows and you search the web you can usually find far more information than
any one person can pass along.