Monday, June 6, 2011

Selective Feeding Of Large Rainbow Trout

In your mind, imagine you are at a fine restaurant.  You have been to this establishment enough to know the order to which you rank each and every item on the menu by taste.  You know what is the best of the five different meals on the table in front of you.  Your palate is finely tuned and blindfolded you can tell the difference.

My guess is that given the choice, for most of the next hour, you are going to consume the one you like best. That is, until the kitchen runs out.  Even though the steak is really good tasting you like the shrimp better.  The shrimp is a smaller food than a the steak, but that is what you like even though you must work harder to get full.

I went fishing yesterday.  The weather was the best of what New England has to offer in the late spring.  Mid seventies and the feel of a crisp dry Canadian cloud rolling by.  The sun was strong, yet not as oppressive as it can sometimes be.   I arrived on the river at 6:30am and felt alive with anticipation.  Leo was on his way and not far behind.  A perfect scenario.
Just as Leo arrived, the river started to come alive with insect activity.  Two different looking caddis, a multitude of midges and sporadic mayflies.  I thought it would be easy to make my fly sellection, seeing the abundance of those size 14 caddis.  I had hoped that the change had accrued form early steak and eggs feeding and over to surface emergers and dries.  It would make for a very interesting day and I was sure I was ready.

By 8am the sun was high enough that I could see into the crystal clear water when standing up on the river bank.  What was before me can only be described as heaven for a trout angler.  Big fish were moving very rapidly around the pool.  There was none of that lane feeding that you alway hear so much about.  These fish were gorging themselves and not making a dimple on the surface.  If I were not able to see in the river, I might not have known the fish were even there.

It did take me a little while to understand what was happening. I was able to get three fish to take on size 18 flies. That's right, the fish wanted the midges.  After going through the caddis larva, then to emergers and even dries with droppers it was the Jailbirds, Red Ass and wire body Chironomid flies that did the trick.  This lasted for a while as I watched the number of hatching midges start the reduce.

Then the fish started to show.  Nothing big and flashy but head to tail porpoising that said to me the dream could happen.  I went back to the caddis dry with dropper and after a very long time had a fish take the dry.  Then Leo had one to an Elk Hair Caddis and I landed one on a black body EHC.  This was all done with many minuets of waiting for rises and the rises were few and far between.  There was no rhythmic feeding and we got the feeling that anything we made happen was a blessing.

That was the day.  Although we stayed on the river until 7pm with the caddis hatching like the snow in January at 6pm the action was done and complete much earlier.  The fish had so much to eat of what tasted the best that a second course was not needed.

So, what should I take away from this experience.  The first is that I was ready for the situation.  My fly assortment is well rounded with a large quantity of every style, size and color of flies required.  Two comments that Leo made were taken to heart and followed.  He mentioned the midges and he said to me that sometimes black ants can be used even early in the season.  The big thing I came away with is that I can never assume that the obvious is correct.  I must always look deeper into each situation and willingly change my plan as the environment changes before me.  Sounds like life to me.....


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