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Fly selection for attractive trout from the Fly Selector 2013-03-17 16:59:35 | Trouterspace
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Fly selection for attractive trout from the Fly Selector

Posted by on March 17, 2013

Its amazing how picky a fish can be.  In any type of fishing we all have run into it.  There is such a large variety of ways to not catch a fish, that I don’t even need to describe it…you’ve been there.  Well, in fly fishing for trout there is a select diet on the menu.  If your a bobber fisherman and throw a worm out there, sure that may work if they want a worm, but it won’t work if all they want is a midge.  See, the biggest trout within a naturally reproducing river is like a beautiful woman on a mighty fine evening at an very elequant restaurant.  She doesn’t care that you exist.  She picked a spot where she can be seen but not bothered.  She wants to drink her sparkling water, and eat her vegan mini-food with an upward nose to anything less than perfect.  Of coarse, there are the cheeseburger and flies trout over at the bar, but they are nothing like this trout.  A trout that can attract this much attention on a daily basis is heavily pressured. Your not the first person to pick up some line, and throw it her way.  She knows exactly what she came there for. To be seen, and eat exactly what she ordered.

I ran into this trout over and over again at Cheeseman Canyon the other day.  Now, I have to admit I first walked into the canyon like I was going to have my pick of the evening.  I walked right up to the first couple fish I saw and didn’t even have my rod rigged up yet…I walked up an was like, pshhht, yah, like what-eve, as if you have a chance at THIS.  I’ll have plenty of time to walk around and choose the right one for me, who cares if I spook a couple.  I slowly walked upstream on a long sandy flat, being careful to not make any noise. The river was ranging from one to two feet deep, the bottom of the river was mostly a sandstone color with a couple patches of shallow weeds. I saw maybe 6 fish as I walked the 50 yard stretch.  I got to the top of the flat where the river was turning off a rock ledge on the far bank, it ran through a couple rocks and dumped into a definitive pool.  I stopped, put my backpack down and got my rod rigged up.  There were a couple of teenagers wrapping up their afternoon, and heading back on the trail to the parking lot. I looked up for a moment and I asked them, ” How’d you do?”.  The two boys dressed in the finest fly fishing apparel parents money can buy said, “We saw a bunch of them!”.  So…you got skunked is what your telling me, “Did you catch any?”, I quickly replied with hope I was wrong.  The pre-reserved response I awaited, “No.”  I continued to think to myself, of coarse you didn’t, look at yourselves, no mature sophisticated trout in their right mind would have anything to do with you.  The boys start there trek back up the mountain and I graciously waited until they were a good distance away before I started fishing. I didn’t want to embarrass them with a first cast catch.  I tied my rig up and found a couple 15-17″ fish that I was finally ready to warm-up on.  I figure, well, it’s not exactly what I’m looking for, but it’ll have to do…

3 hours later...

3 hours later…

……..3 hours later…….I caught my first fish

So, yes, beautiful fish, but it was one of very few.  It wasn’t until I started turning over some rocks until I relearn the difference between what I wanted the fish to eat, and what was on the menu.  Checking out the insects above and below the water is normally how I start every day of fishing.  Its not everyday that you get the chance to go fishing, but in places like this, it is everyday that they have been pitched a pick-up line just like the one your throwing.  It is unbelievably inconceivably on the verge of irrational how these fish choose which fly they are going to eat.  Presentation is a big part, but if your fly isn’t even in the ballpark of what they want, you don’t stand a chance.  Here is a look at the midge in this fishes mouth.


If you are looking to learn the basics of insect identification and fly selection, I have created a helpful tool.  Visit www.flyselector.com to see my full-color waterproof insect identification and fly selection card.

Chad Pettrone



One Response to Fly selection for attractive trout from the Fly Selector

  1. arosati

    Fish do discriminate against flies and presentation, but not fisherman. That’s one of my favorite things about fishing. Young, old, rich or poor…. fish don’t give a shit. While on the river it takes a lot to ignore all the articles and books of “how to” on fly fishing and simply become a part of the natural process happening at that specific moment. In a sport with so much variability looking under rocks can give you a starting point when chasing trout. Good post.

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