Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
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New Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trout Food Series
Since I am far enough ahead with this series that I can spend a few days on other
subjects and still have plenty of time to get to the insects and other trout foods prior
to their hatching, I will add some articles of other subjects. Sir, Hugo Boots, has
written to tell me that he has read all of my articles. That's a lot of reading. There's
almost a thousand of them. After doing so, he has some very good questions that I
probably should have already answered in my articles. This helps me because I
often try to figure out what I should be writing about and what readers would like to
read without really having the slightest clue. Here's Sir Boots first question.
Fly Storage and Fly Boxes:
I have finish reading ALL your blog entries of the GSMNP and have a FEW
How do you arrange your fly boxes? And, How many do you carry to fish a stream?
(water column location of natural, by insect species, by life cycle of insect, by color,
by size )
If you’re going to a Stream you have NEVER FISHED and having LIMITED
Of that stream insects present what’s in your fly boxes and HOW MANY FLY
BOXES do you take.
First of all, I am not sure how well my arrangement will fit your or other anglers
needs because of the following. Angie and I fish streams across the country from
coast to coast and during most of the year. Granted, recent problems have slowed
us down considerably this past year, but prior to that we traveled extensively fishing
all types of streams. We enjoy seeing new streams and fishing new water. My way of
arranging flies is based on that type of fishing. It would be impossible for me to have
fly boxes for individual streams, for example, because it would take a warehouse of
individual fly boxes to cover the streams we fish.
Secondly, since I have developed flies (Perfect Fly) for all the insects and most all
other trout food that's in trout streams coast to coast, I don't have any shortage of
flies available to me. Most anglers have far more flies than they probably need, but
we have enough to open up a fly shop, not including our Perfect Flies of which we
keep thousands in stock. I acquired everyone else's flies I could find when
researching and developing our on fly patterns. During the time we developed these
flies, I purchased just about every trout fly that existed. Now, I know that's impossible
but what I mean is that I have just about purchased one of each of all the flies you
can find. We would pick up new flies in the shops we visited (and that's a bunch of
them) and all we could find on the web. That's really a bunch of them. I wanted to
know what's out there and to see first hand what was available to anglers. Ninety
percent of them were purchased at the rate of only one fly of any pattern. I
drove some web dealers nuts doing that. They like to sell them in quantities of at
least 3 to 6 per fly pattern, and so do we. Even so, we still have a few thousands
dollars of flies that we will never use and that are not our own Perfect Flies. Of
course, now we only fish our own flies. I don't want to give the samples we have of
other flies away because I want people to buy our flies, so that want happen. I guess
they will just remain a collection that maybe my grandson will enjoy having. Ninety-
five percent of them have never been used. I will get to who influenced me most in
developing our own fly patterns later to answer another one of Sir Boots questions.
Many of the sample flies I purchased were custom tied by well known American tiers
who have written books about them..
In summary, the way I do things now is based on the fact I have access to my own
Perfect Fly trout flies that imitate of all the trout food from coast to coast. Most
anglers do not fish across the country, at least the way we do, and most anglers
don't have an unlimited supply of flies. Now, if you keep those two things in
mind, I will answer the question as best I can.
I have an arrangement that I keep at home of all the trout flies that's based on the
food, meaning the aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, crustaceans, streamers, still
water flies, etc. Most of the flies are stored on removable foam inserts with slotted
rows of hook holders that go into fly boxes and are held in place with clips. Most of
them are about 3 x 5 and some are larger.
Now lets take mayflies, for example. I have inserts that holds duns only, nymphs
only, spinners only, and emergers only. I try to group flies that are similar insofar as
geographic location on the same insert. One insert may have six or more mayfly
species represented. In the case of caddisflies, I have inserts that hold larvae only,
pupae only and adults only. I do not mix the different types of flies with regard to the
stages of life they represent. The stonefly inserts have only nymphs, or adults.
Midges have a insert for larvae imitations, pupae and adults. My streamers are
arranged according to their size. In other words I have inserts for large ones,
medium ones and small ones. Now it takes more than three inserts. For example, I
have four inserts that holds large streamers. I do the same thing with terrestrials. I
store them according to size. A large #4 hook size hopper fly doesn't have much in
common with a small #18 hook size ant, for example. Keep in mind this is for
what I call my home system.
At the present time, I am in the process of converting everything to our own Perfect
Fly home storage system prototype I am designing. Of course some of the flies are
stored in our own TwoClear fly boxes. I'm doing this because I think I can greatly
improve on the old system I have been using for the past few years which consist
mostly of Scientific Angler product. Designing our own home storage system and fly
boxes is a part of our overall business plan and strategy to improve all fly fishing
products. We intend to design, manufacturer and sell directly to the customer
product that is superior to what's on the market. Yes, I will be dead long before this
objective can be completed but meantime, I'm going as fast as I can. This is taking a
lot of time and effort and will require a lot of planning, preparation and investment.
Now again, keep in mind, what I have described so far is only for home storage.
When we make a trip out West, for example, I may end up taking about two-thirds or
more of the home system with us if we fish several different streams like we usually
do. I do the same with the Northeast, Mid-West, etc. I keep these in our vehicle
and/or room and it takes up a good bit of space. However, they don't take up near
the space that individual fly boxes would take up. The inserts require a lot less
space. Most anglers wouldn't be going to an area to stay a month or two and fish a
lot of different streams but we do, or I should say did. We have a mother-in-law
situation that takes priority at the present time. We can take her with us, but in order
to remain good mental health, only for a day or two. I hope Angie doesn't read this.
Now, to simplify this, let's say that I was going to fish the Smokies tomorrow. Your
probably thinking I would have some fly boxes made up for the Smokies since we
live very near the park but I do not. I actually select the inserts I need that has the
flies I need for the particular time I fish, depending on what food is most available for
trout at the time. Often, the inserts I select have some flies that we don't need in
addition to those we do need, but this lets me eliminate them down to a few boxes.
Now, this means I always have anywhere from 6 to 16 fly boxes with me in the
vehicle on any trip, but not in my fly vest. Since these flies usually require different
fly lines and rods, meaning in the case of the Smokies, my dry fly rod, nymph rod
and streamer rod, I don't leave the vehicle with all the boxes. I only leave the vehicle
with one rod that is based on the flies I want to fish.
Now keep in mind, you ask what I do. I doubt anyone else does it this way. I
don't know of anyone that does, but neither do I know of anyone that has all the flies
they usually need. About 80 percent flies most anglers have with them they don't
need. The flies they need and use is usually only a small percentage of what they
take with them.
Now this may seem complicated but it really isn't. In fact, it's easy once you get
everything set up. For example, if it's the end of the Quill Gordon and Blue Quill
mayfly hatches you just take the insert that hold those flies out of the mayfly nymph
box, emerger box, dun box, and spinner box. Lets say it's near the time March
Browns will be needed. You just replace the inserts that holds the Quill Gordons and
Blue Quills with the inserts that has the March Browns.
When you get to the stream and you decide on what strategy you are going to use
at the particular location you park your vehicle, take the fly boxes that you need
and the appropriate rod to fish them. For example, if you are going to fish nymphs,
you don't need to carry the dry fly boxes with you unless you just have the space in
your vest and there's no reason to leave them. I usually have 6 fly boxes on me at
all times. These fit neatly in the vest I use. In the Spring, i may have 16 boxes with
me but ten would stay in the vehicle. Keep in mind, these are small fly boxes.
Anglers that fish only one or two streams most all the time don't necessarily need to
have boxes designated for the various stages of life the flies represent like I prefer.
They would need far fewer flies. They may choose to have one of two inserts or fly
boxes for mayflies, one for caddisflies, one for stoneflies, one for midges, one for
streamers and a terrestrial fly box, for example. Of course, you can also have larger
fly boxes with stow more of each type of flies in them. The six fly boxes I carry with
the interchangeable inserts are all marked by color and also indicate on the box
what they have inside. When I want a fly, I can go straight to it without having to look
for it or search through a box with lots of different flies. That's what I think is most
important. You should be able to reach the fly box easily and get the fly you need
without having to waste any time looking. I have noticed many anglers have all types
of flies mixed together in their fly boxes and they have to search to find one. i will
also say, these are usually the same guys that don't know what they should be
fishing and they just look for the lucky fly, or another one to try. That kind of angler
is one who relies solely on luck.
Now in direct answer to your questions: How do you arrange your fly boxes? By
species of food and applicable stage of life. And, How many do you carry to
fish a stream? Usually 6 to 16 in the vehicle and 6 in my fly vest.
(water column location of natural, by insect species, by life cycle of insect, by color,
by size ) Insect species and stage of life, color is meaningless with specific
patterns. If you’re going to a Stream you have NEVER FISHED and having
LIMITED knowledge, Of that stream insects present what’s in your fly boxes and
HOW MANY FLY BOXES do you take. There's no need to go with limited
knowledge. Hatch charts are available for most streams. We are continuing to
develop them for all the streams we have fished and taken samples from. You can
get close enough on the food that will be available for just about any stream at any
given time once you have a good knowledge of aquatic insects and other trout food.
If you don't know your insects, it doesn't do much good anyway. It isn't
nearly as important to have the right fly as it is to know where to fish it in
the stream, and when and how to imitate what it represents.
If you don't understand the aquatic insects and their individual behavior,
that's what you should focus on, not the flies you need.
Just having the right tools (flies) and little or no knowledge of the insects
and other food won't make you a good fly fisherman any more than having
the right brain surgery tools, with little or no knowledge about performing
an operation, will make you a good brain surgeon
Copyright 2010 James Marsh
"Knots and Rigging Technique” covers
the techniques necessary to assemble
everything. It begins with basics such as
installing fly line backing and fly line on
reels, knots connecting backing to the
reel, the leader to the fly line, tippet to the
leader and the tippet to various types of
flies. It continues far beyond the basics
to insure viewers that you learn to tie all
the knots they may need for almost any
fly-fishing situation. The techniques for
rigging multiple flies, strike indicators,
shock and bite tippets, along with many
other specialized rigs used in fly-fishing
are also shown in a clear,easy to follow