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
Testing-Testing-Testing - One, Two, etc.:
I'm used to testing audio for a video shoot. I've done that for thirty years. It usually
takes only a couple of minutes. I'm not used to testing fly fishing gear, or at least
not gear I will be spending thousands of dollars to manufacturer. I was doing a lot of
it a month or two ago until Global Cooling came to the Smokies. Since, I have
refused to get out except for a few very short fishing trips and hikes. I've also been
very busy getting our new product (fly boxes, lines, leaders, tippet, etc) going.
Yesterday, I made about a thousand cast (I guess) without catching a trout. One
reason I didn't was that I didn't have a fly tied on. I tested some new prototype fly
rods and one fly reel. I figured if I tied a fly on, I would end up fishing and not
working. I wouldn't learn very much about the rod's performance if I was slowly
dredging nymphs in the creeks.
I didn't take my regular fly fishing gear along and didn't have a thermometer but I
can tell you that if you have ever put your hand in a cooler with ice water, that is
exactly what it felt like, although there wasn't any ice in the water. There's still plenty
of ice and snow in the park. I'm sure it will continue to melt all day today and the
water will remain cold. Today it is going to be hot. Well, not exactly, but it will
probably feel like it. The weather guys are saying it will reach 59 degrees.
Something also important from a weather standpoint is the fact tonight's low will only
go down to about 42. That is a big difference. The nightly temperatures have been
holding the water temperatures down. All this sounds great except for one thing. It
will start raining early Monday morning as a new cold front passes. The weather will
again turn cold but maybe, not quite as cold as they are expecting. The cold water
not only keeps the insects from hatching, it also slows down the entire process of
their development. If the water stays almost frozen, and then suddenly shoots up to
50 degrees plus, that will not mean the bugs will start flying off the water the very
next day. It will not be long though.
By the way, I am not testing the two new rods I designed (and 6 others someone
else designed) like you might expect. I'm not one of those guys who stands on the
grass to see how far I can cast. These rods are for trout fishing, not a casting
tournaments. I'll assure you one of them will empty the reel of fly line, but that isn't
what I am interested in. That's worthless when it comes to using the rod to
catch trout. I'm interested in how they cast 15 feet far more than 100 feet. Today, I
will tie some flies on the see if that changes anything about the rods. It will, of
course, change a few things that may not be related to the rod.
I'm not what anyone would consider a fly rod genus, but after thinking about it for a
long time, I may very well be pretty good at it. I have fly fished as much as anyone
has for the last several years. I may not be able to cast as well as some, but I can
certainly cast as well or better than the average guys that will be the ones that buys
the rods. They are all what you would call high end fly rods, in all respects.
Why create a fly rod only a few anglers that focus on nothing but distance could
possible cast well. That has happened in the past few years, especially with the real
fast action rods. In fact, some manufacturers finally got their heads out of a sack
and realized that. It has recently resulted in a few fairly new rods that are far more
practical for trout fishing. Some have stuck their heads back in a sack and are
seeing how light they can possible make them. What's the difference in 2 and a half
onces and 2 and a quarter onces? And what about the fly line, is it going to be
weightless? I don't think so. I can see it now. The new Hell's lighter than air fly rod.
There's a paragraph or two in Mike Lawson's book "Spring Creeks" where Mike
tells a story about fishing with World fly casting champion, Steve Rajeff. Mike
guided him on a fly fishing trip years ago. Steve had just won the World's casting
championship in 1974. Steve was also a casting instructor.
Mike's story goes like this. The wind was blowing some on the Henry's Fork (and I'll
add, it always is) and Mike spotted a trout feeding in a scum line near the bank. He
knew the cast wasn't exactly easy, so he got as close to the fish as possible without
spooking it. When he told Steve to cast, the book says his line shot out like a rocket
with the tightest loop he had ever seen. The fly hit right on the target. The line was
of course, straight as an arrow. The current formed a belly in it; the fly "drug" over
the trout and sent it into high gear. Mike didn't say it exactly like this, but the
essence of it was he spent the rest of the day, teaching Steve how to cast.