"Look at that Escargot"

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Gregg Lundgren, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Gregg Lundgren Now fishing on weekdays too!

    Posts: 513
    N. Edmonds / Mukilteo, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 0
    I was going to make a trip to Lone yesterday, but the wife mentioned we were due for some pan fried trout. You know, cast iron skillet, deep golden brown crispy skins. Well, my argument for a great C&R opportunity failed to gain any traction. So, off to a local 'put and take' lake.

    The fishing was very good. The water was very clear and 61 degrees at the surface, and the trout were willing once I discovered they wanted a little flash in the recipe. But this was certainly not a 'match the hatch' situation. They were loaded with snails, thousands of them. Most of the snails were quite small, but some were a bit larger than a peppercorn in size.

    I was wondering if they feast on these, picking them off the plant life? Someone had mentioned earlier, that at times, they become free-floating; and you can actually 'match the hatch'? Maybe both?

    btw... these rainbows were delicious
  2. Taxon Moderator

    Posts: 944
    Mercer Island, WA
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Hi Gregg,

    Trout certainly feed on freshwater snails. In some E. Washington lakes, they are a major food source. The only thing about your report which surprises me, it that trout heavily feeding on freshwater snails would be described as delicious.
  3. Gregg Lundgren Now fishing on weekdays too!

    Posts: 513
    N. Edmonds / Mukilteo, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 0
    Hi Roger,

    They certainly were great eating fish. No earthy or muddy taste sometimes associated with certain algae being in many lakes. These stockers have only been in the lake for about two months though. Apparently snails are major food source in this particular Snohomish County lake, if only for a period of time during the year.

    This lake stays pretty clear, and has a lot of broadleaf plants growing on the bottom that you can still see at a depth of 10 feet. Aquarium-like at times. Thanks for your insight regarding this topic.
  4. Gregg Lundgren Now fishing on weekdays too!

    Posts: 513
    N. Edmonds / Mukilteo, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 0
  5. jessejames Flyslinger

    Posts: 1,846
    Show Low, Arizona
    Ratings: +338 / 3
    Roger why does that surprise you? I thought that a meat diet, snails and shrimp, scuds would make a pretty tasy trout. There is a flake here in the Spokane area that is full of shrimp/scuds? and it has the best tasting fish of any of the lakes I fish.
    jesse
  6. Gregg Lundgren Now fishing on weekdays too!

    Posts: 513
    N. Edmonds / Mukilteo, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 0
    Here we are about one year out, and the cycle is repeating. Only this year the snails are much larger, and the trout can't eat more than about a dozen at a time. In fact, I cleaned one trout that was much smaller(skinnier) than the rest and found out why... a snail shell had perforated the stomach and the least path of resistance was into the body cavity. Likely it was beginning to starve in the midst of an abundance of food. I found one snail floating on the lake surface that was about 7/8" in diameter!:eek:

    Anyway, I thought it interesting enough to post on the subject again. I haven't tried to match this particular hatch... yet.

    One other point of interest... I was 'trolling, stopping, and stripping', but caught 4 out of 5 fish while I was letting the line out again after catching a fish or after checking that the fly hadn't picked up some weeds. The fish must have been keyed-in on the longer hesitation of the fly that particular action provided. Anyone else ever experienced this to such a degree?
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  7. fly-by Active Member

    Posts: 160
    Tangled in the Pines
    Ratings: +33 / 0
    I once fished a high altitude lake in AZ where the fish were keyed exclusively on snails. We fished a local pattern that looked like a size 10 bead head scud, but tied thicker up near the bead head and tapering toward the bend of the hook. Sloooow strip on a fast sinking line. Really effective. Not sure how they tasted....
  8. Taxon Moderator

    Posts: 944
    Mercer Island, WA
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Hi Jesse-

    Please forgive my not having responded. Not sure why I hadn't responded, but when this thread got re-awakened today, I saw that I had not.

    The reason I expressed surprise was that I had been told by my flyfishing mentor (about 30 years ago) that trout which feed heavily on freshwater snails, an example being those in Dry Falls Lake, are lousy table fare. However, I have no first hand information on this, as I have never actually retained a fish from Dry Falls Lake, in that I release caught trout, so others have the opportunity to catch them.

    On the other hand, it's my belief that trout which heavily feed on freshwater shrimp/scuds, are excellent table fare. However, once again, I have no first hand info. :)
  9. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,118
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +956 / 1
    I have eaten trout from Sage Lake and once the fish get on the snails it's best to release them. My thoughts are the snails eat the moss on the bottom and that's where the muddy taste comes from. Snails get it and then pass it on to the trout.