There are volumes of books written on reading the water, and thousands upon thousands of illustrations. I really don’t think I need to cover that. However, what I don’t often see is a dialogue of the requirements of the water for the trout.
There are three basics needs from a trout’s perspective.
1. Water Temperature
The first basic requirement is water temperature. Trout water needs to be cold (50-70 degrees F) and well oxygenated.
Different species have different temperature preferences. Bull trout, for example, like it really cold. Rainbows on the other hand, seem to be just fine in the entire range.
I don’t care how “fishy” your “trout stream” looks, if the water temperature is in the 70’s, you’re not going to find any trout.
2. Food Sources
The second basic requirement is food sources. Ever fish glacial streams? The fish are small and sparce….so are the food sources.
Trout eat a variety of foods. Aquatic insects, terrestrials, bait fish, leeches, even mice. The point here is if you’re swatting a bug on the back of your neck on the water, that’s a good thing. In fact, see what it is and tie on a similar looking fly!
3. Protection from Predators
Trout are masters of disguise and camouflage. However, they still need adequate protection from predators.
All types of structure can provide this. Fallen trees, boulders, cut banks, bends in the river, access to deep water…..it’s all good stuff.
There’s a spot on the Coeur d’Alene River that is one of my all-time favorite spots. It’s actually on private property. I met DJ one day when I saw him walking along the road. I pulled over and struck up a quick conversation. I have a habit if I happen to have a great day on the water with a certain bug to just say hello to folks and give them a couple of bugs or hook a couple into a business card and leave them on the windshield.
So I gave him a couple of bugs, he gave me a beer, and he invited down to his back yard that’s right on the water. This spot is perfect.
The river meanders through a couple of bends, some huge boulders, large rock formations on one bank, aspens on the other, then spills into an enormous drop off. I hooked DJ up with a yellow stone pattern that I love and my favorite caddis pattern….cuz I’m a two fly type of guy.
I positioned DJ upstream of the drop off and had him helicopter cast to slow drift to the ledge. BAM! Lightning in a bottle. He hooked up on both flies!
Perfect water temperature, perfect bugs, and the perfect cast. It was an experience he’ll never forget. And now I have the good fortune of being able to fish that spot whenever I want.
The moral of the story…..temperature, forage, protection ….all requirements met.
Tie that in with a good presentation and you’ll catch fish.
The other moral of the story….be a decent human being. Yeah I hope people like RiverBum Flies, but that’s not the only reason I give out flies. I want people to chat fish, I want them to enjoy the outdoors, and I also want them to know there are decent people on the water with them. I costs nothing to be a decent human being.
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags!