03/05/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
4.   Midges

Early Season Strategies - Part 4
Yesterday, I mentioned the huge amount of snow there is to melt and that it will be
keeping the water cold even though the weather is going into a very welcomed
warming trend. The scenario I gave yesterday assumed the Quill Gordons were
starting to hatch. Before that, it was the Little Black Grannom Caddis. For purposes
of today's scenario, lets assume they haven't started but some of the Blue Quills are
starting to hatch. By the way, this is often the case. Sometimes the Blue Quills start
before the Quill Gordons but they basically start about the same time.

The Blue Quills are much more difficult to see and to notice on the stream. You
need to look in some places you are not used to looking, meaning the edges of the
streams, little pockets along the bank, larger calm areas behind boulders where the
water is shallow. You want generally find them out in the streams current floating
down the current seams like the Quill Gordons. By the way, they hatch about the
same time as the QGs, or during the warmest part of the day.

If you spot some of these little dark mayflies, you want to change to a size 18
imitation of the emerger. You can use a trailing shuck version that is fairly easy to
see, or a CDC hanging type emerger. I would try either one of these flies before I
tried on a dry fly or imitation of the dun. You shouldn't be using anything larger than
a 5X tippet and leader/tippet should be at least 9 foot long. In other words, if you are
geared up heavier with a 4x and shorter tippet for the Quill Gordons, I would change
leaders and tippet. As mentioned before, these little mayflies hatch where the trout
are easily spooked. You will need make longer presentations and to pay more
attention to being seen that when you are fishing the QG hatch.

If you see trout taking the duns off the surface (often this is a trout that just swims  
through an area of shallow water fast and back out to deeper water), change to a
dun imitation. Don't worry so much about getting a long drift. Make a lot of cast that
only drift a short distance. Stay with the slow to moderate, shallow water, not out in
the fast water of the runs and riffles. If the Blue Quills are hatching and you follow
this advice, you will consistently catch trout. The problem is you will have to change
areas often because you will spook a lot of the fish focusing on these type areas.

The hatch will stop well before dark. Change back to a Blue Quill nymph or a nymph
you may have had some success on earlier before the Blue Quills started. Keep an
eye out in the same water for the Blue Quill Spinners for as late as you can fish.
These are really difficult to see on the water. Often they are up under tree
overhangs along the banks and in places that are dark. There can be a huge
spinner fall and you never notice it. Wherever light hits these type areas, get down
close to the water and look carefully. They are 18's floating flush or spent and
almost invisible. I use a skim net that goes over my landing net. It stays hooked to
the handle in a small rolled up ball.

If nothing else is producing; it is late in the day; and you have seen plenty of them
hatching, just tie on a spinner imitation and fish it. Concentrate on the slow water at
the tail end of pools, runs, and riffles. Fish any eddies you find. You can't really see
the trout eating these little spinners. They just sip them in. Unless the current is very
smooth, you want even notice the take. Later on, when the water warms up a lot,
they will fall at dark and you can forget the spinner fall in the park.