Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little)
2. Cream Cahills
3. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
4. Slate Drakes
5. Little Green Stoneflies
6. Mahogany Duns
Most available/ Other types of food:
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8. Inch Worm (moth larva)
Fly Fishing Strategies - More Basics
I visited the park yesterday to see if anything changed from Saturday and as expected, the only
thing I noticed was the water was even lower. The Little Pigeon River was very, very low Saturday.
When Breck Davis and I fished, there was far more dry rocks in the stream than water. I say we
fished, when in reality I fished about five minutes. My focus was trying to help him as much as
possible. As it turned out, he was much further along with his fly fishing that I first thought.
It wasn't easy for Beck or I to slip up close on the trout in the small Walkers Camp Prong or the
upper Little Pigeon River. He is six feet, four inches tall and I'm six-two. Staying below the trout's
line of vision wasn't easy. Never-the-less, he managed to stay hidden well enough to have almost
constant action from very early in the morning until 2:00 PM when we quit fishing for the day. He
wanted to attend a baseball game his son was playing in.
None of the fish he caught were huge but there were several caught that included some decent
size ones. All of them were taken on a dry fly. I feel certain the results could have been higher if we
fished a nymph. He did fish a dropper nymph for a short time but since the first two trout took the
dry fly, he changed to only a dry fly. Dropper rigs is something I don't recommend for the streams
in the park even though it's a very, very common method used by many. In my opinion, two flies
doesn't increase your odds at all and can even lower them but more importantly, when there is a
variable bottom level, it presents the nymph in a less than effective manner 90 percent of the time.
I don't try to dictate how others fish and I didn't mention it being more concerned about other
things. Dropper rigs have an advantage in this respect. The dry fly lets you see when the nymph is
taken. I call it a guide's rig because many prefer it for their customers who have little time on the
water to help them determine when the nymph is taken to increase the catch. Fishing a nymph
you can't see, to fish you can't see, isn't easy. It requires a lot of concentration and takes a lot
of practice. Until you become proficient at it, using an indicator or dropper rig when your fishing a
nymph may provide the best results. Otherwise, it's taking the easy way out, or maybe a lazy way
of fishing. There are circumstances where dropper rigs and indicators are advantageous but it's a
rare situation for the streams of the park.
Does the Fly Matter?
Some will try to tell you the fly you use really doesn't matter. Of course, they are usually the ones
with hundreds in their fly box and if they own a fly shop, thousands in their bins. You will probably
never see them with just one fly pattern in their box and never, never, one fly pattern in their store.
You will never see anyone that has a six grade level of knowledge about aquatic insects that
preaches that either. If they really, really believed the fly isn't important, don't you think they would
eliminate the bulk and hassle of having several fly boxes and just use one fly? I could go on and
on making fun of such stupidity, but to sum it up, just let me write that I guess if your satisfied
with being a lousy angler, the fly really doesn't matter.
You can always just say the fishing is slow, or when you completely fail to catch trout, just say
the fishing is horrible. Blame it on the fish. Some guys do it so often, they become habitual
fishing liars. A habitual liar is one that tells a lie so often they actually begin to believe it. They
actually begin to believe that their failure to catch fish isn't them at all - It's just the lousy fishing.
They don't stop to think, they are the ones doing the fishing, not the fish.
Trail and Error Method of Selecting Flies:
Something I wanted to add to yesterday's basics article on a different topic has to do with "trial
and error" fishing. That's the most common method anglers use for bait, lure and fly selection.
Anglers normally try different flies/lure/bait attempting to see, as they put it, what the fish want. Fly
guys usually try a fly that has caught trout for them before, or maybe one that someone else
recommended. Sometimes they just select one that looks good to them (man, that's a pretty fly)
However they go about making the selection, they usually fish the fly for a certain amount of time
and if they fail to catch something within an hour or two, and often it's far less than that, they
change to another fly. Some anglers change flies every five minutes.
For example, you may fish a nymph for an hour and catch nothing and then change to a dry fly.
Lets suppose you fish the dry fly for an hour and catch two trout. Most anglers would probably
continue to fish it. Now stop and think about that decision. Fishing for that hour, does catching
none on the nymph and two on the dry fly really mean the dry fly is working better than the nymph?
Actually, it doesn't mean that at all. The results you are getting from what you may think is
a test is in reality, meaningless. You may have caught four trout on the nymph if you had not
changed to a dry fly. What one person does on one stream with two flies fished only a short time
interval is completely meaningless. What two or three guys do under the same scenario is still of
no value. Anyone that thinks it is, doesn't understand probability or the science of uncertainty at all.
The fact is, the results of that trail and error experiment would be completely meaningless and in
that specific case, there's two main reasons it isn't. One reason is the low number of anglers. If
there were a thousand guys fishing, and did exactly that - fished a nymph for an hour and then a
dry fly an hour, the results could possibly be worth something, but even in a 1000 angler scenario,
the results would most likely be worthless. The reason for that is the conditions change as
Fishing conditions commonly change with the time of day. The sky may change from low light,
cloudy conditions to bright light conditions. For certain, the 1000 anglers wouldn't be casting in
exactly the same places in the stream. Some could be fishing in the right type of water within the
stream or others may not. They may be fishing a section of the stream that's holding fish whereas
others aren't. Some may be spooking trout with poor presentations, sloppy wading, and many
other variables that change the results that have nothing to do with the particular fly
To get to straight to the point, the trail and error method of selecting flies is a
very poor one. It amounts to totally relying on luck.
It indicates the angler doesn't really have any idea what he or she should be imitating. The trout
know exactly what they are doing. They are not waisting energy in the current looking for random
bits of food drifting downstream. If they did, they would soon die. They know exactly what's most
available and exactly what is easiest for them to acquire. They observe the foods available in the
stream every second of every day of their life.
The fly should imitate something the trout are focusing on eating but in the above situations, the
"trail and error" anglers are clueless as to what that should be. There's one thing for certain.
The average results of their fishing will be very similar to my golf game.
I used to drive a ball at least 270 yards. I've made hundreds if not thousands of birdies, a few
eagles but I couldn't break 80 on a crip golf course from the ladies tees. I can hit every club
in the bag and I've never been able to shot a decent golf game in the mid to low seventies. Even
though I played many games of golf over the years, lived on a nine hole golf course on the beach
for twelve years and had memberships in two country clubs for a few of my early years, I was
always what you call a "lousy" golfer.
If your satisfied with being a lousy angler, fine. Have fun and enjoy your fishing. I haven't said there
is anything wrong with it. I'm just trying to help you become a better angler.
I promise I will provide the normal fly fishing strategies for the coming week tomorrow.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh