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Fly Patterns for the Fall Spawn

By Doc Trout

     I was thinking about the Brown Trout spawn here in western North Carolina the other day which generally starts sometime in October in our local Wild Water streams as well as the Speckled and Brook Trout spawns that generally start in November here in the same streams and this led me to consider appropriate fly patterns for these spawning periods. Thus, according to the research that I have done, a Trout's egg has a gestation period of approximately one to two months depending on the water temperature (the colder the water is, the longer the eggs require to develop). Then, once the eggs hatch, the Alevin take approximately one to one and one half months to consume their yolk sack (again dependent upon water temperature).


     Therefore, it seems to me that during the months of October and November respectively, Brown Trout, Speckled Trout, and Brook Trout are likely to be very aggressive to what I like to think of as "predator streamers" such as the Black Nosed Dace and the Muddler Minnow (which imitates both a Sculpin and Chub) because this is the one time of year that these little fish (that are normally the Trout's prey) get to turn the tables by sealing and eating Trout eggs from the Redd. In addition, both adult Trout (those who are sexually mature) and especially juvenile Trout (those who are not sexually mature) are not above gulping down the occasional stray egg that has been washed away from the Redd and is drifting in the current or is rolling along the stream bed.


     Consequently, it has been my experience that streamer patterns such as the Black Nosed Dace, the Muddler Minnow, and Alevin imitations tend to draw a lot of strikes from aggressive Trout during this period. In addition, this is also a good time to fish with egg patterns. Personally, I prefer the Glo Bug type in Pink with a red dot and Orange with a red dot in a size 12 and I like to place a small spit shot about six inches above the leader.



Streamers; the mystery fly

By Doc Trout


     I was out fishing with a client the other day and because we observed very little insect activity that morning, we reasoned that fishing subsurface would probably be more productive than fishing with dries. In addition, since the water was relatively cold that day (50˚), conventional wisdom told me that we should be fishing with nymphs even though it was late October and most of the major May Fly and Caddis Fly hatches had already come off. Thus, it was very likely that the only nymphs drifting in the current were very small and thus the fish would have to inhale countless numbers of them to get a meal. So, contrary to conventional wisdom, I decided to try streamers instead. Thus, we started with my all time favorite Streamer fly: the Beadhead Wooly Bugger in green, brown, and black. However, after a couple of hours of fishing (and to my complete amazement) we had not had a single strike. So, after sitting down to take a break, my fish-fevered mind started working on its own and suddenly it occurred to me to try a more sparsely tied streamer pattern such as a Black Nosed Dace, a Baby Rainbow Trout, or a Baby Brown Trout; all of which are in a class called Bucktail Streamers. Thus, I switched to a Black Nosed Dace in a size 10 and placed a small split shot on the leader about six inches in front of the fly and cast it into the run that we had just been fishing. Much to my surprise, on my second cast, I felt a light bump on my line so, I set the hook and it was on from there! Consequently, we spent the rest of the day fishing with Bucktail Streamers and caught numerous fish in the ten to fourteen inch range even though the skies were sunny and the water was supposedly a bit cold for Streamers. So much for conventional wisdom!


Trigger Colors for Trout & Smallmouth Bass

by Doc Trout


     Although I started my fly fishing career at age eight, which is a little earlier than most anglers, I was immediately "hooked" and I have been absolutely fascinated with the sport ever since. Now, after over forty years of watching the sport evolve, I have noticed that one thing doesn't seem to have changed at all; both Trout and Smallmouth Bass, regardless of whether they inhabit moving water or still water, seem to be triggered to strike a fly by the same three colors: red, yellow, and green. Have doubts? Disagree? Well, then I would suggest that you look at any fly manufacturer's web site or printed catalog, identify all of the "Attractor" patterns in their Trout, Smallmouth Bass, and Saltwater sections and the note the dominate colors. I believe that you will find that they consist of red, yellow, and green. In addition, certain other color combinations seem to be especially attractive to both Trout and Smallmouth Bass. For instance, red & white, red & yellow, and yellow & black seem to arouse special interest in Trout whereas, Smallmouth Bass seem to be especially attracted to the colors olive or chartreuse. So, it seems to me that although the names of the flies as well as the materials they are made of may change frequently, the fish's interest in certain colors does not.