Actually seeing what they're eating

NW_flyfisher

if it's not this, then what?
#17
To me just look at the lake and see what is floating on the surface or turn over a submerged rock. You will get an idea what is there. I have a box full of flys and I bought them for some reason. Some fliys give me confidence that I will land a fish. Other flys just sit in the box. I fish the other flys when I need to know if they work. The bottom line is don’t over think fishing. Just fish.
From this sentence on is my style of fishing: “I have a box full of flies and bought them for some reason. I fish other flies....”
 

PeteM

Active Member
#18
I am with Stonefish, a throat pump can be very useful. I don't use mine a lot but it has really helped me to zero in at times. There was one lake on Whidbey Island that one throat pump changed the primary pattern I use on that lake since.
 
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Starman77

Active Member
#19
Although a throat pump can be useful, especially when you're trying to dial in on the size and color of chironomid pupa, be advised that throat pumps have their limitations. Large food items, like adult dragonflies, adult damselflies, dragonfly nymphs, minnows, crayfish, large water boatmen, large leeches and other things just won't fit into the throat pump tube. The only way to truly know what a fish is eating is to retain it and inspect the stomach contents. However, I would suggest that trout are very opportunistic. 90% of the time I retain a trout and examine its stomach contents I am surprised that the fly that the trout took had no relation to what I found in its stomach. A trout can be stuffed with chironomids or scuds, but it took a leech pattern or a water boatman pattern. I like to cast & retrieve; for that style of fishing the depth and method of retrieve make a lot more difference than the particular fly pattern being used. The fly is usually being retrieved at a fairly rapid rate, so the fish doesn't really have much time to examine the fly closely like they do with strike indicator fishing. I know my friends who fish chironomids will crucify me when I say that "matching the hatch" is over-rated even when using strike indicators to fish for chironomids. Why then do I say that? Because if you go around a lake when chironomids are clearly hatching and ask every fishermen what chironomid pupa pattern was working for them, unless they are colluding, they will usually offer various sizes and colors of their favorite chironomid pupa pattern, and they aren't all using the same pattern, but they all are catching fish. In the old days of steelhead fishing (when there were lots of steelhead in the rivers), everyone "knew" that you had to use a Green Butt Skunk to catch a steelhead. We now know that it wasn't that the Green Butt Skunk was such a good fly pattern, but just that everyone used a Green Butt Skunk, so that's what they caught steelhead on. Likewise, all chironomid fishermen have their favorite chironomid pupa pattern, so that's what they use the most, and that's the pattern they catch most of their fish on, whether it is a Black Sno-Cone, a Chromie or whatever. I don't think you need to get a net to sift through the weeds, or get a throat pump, as on the lakes, it is usually pretty obvious what insects are hatching just by looking around in the air or on the water. Even if you see nothing, you should know the insects that ought to be active during that season or time period. Even if you don't know, it probably doesn't matter that much if you are using leech patterns or something similar that the fish are taking opportunistically as attractor patterns. After all, gear fishermen catch lots of trout using Wedding Bands, Panther Martins, spinners, spoons and lures, most of which bear absolutely no resemblance to natural insects. I would contend that retrieving your fly at the proper depth, just above the weed tops on the bottom, is far more important than "matching the hatch." Your new full sinking line will go far towards helping you do this once you get used to the sink rate and different casting feel.

Rex
 
#21
I was unaware of the throat pumps limitations (thanks Rex). Lately I have seen boils next to the weed beds only to have my leech ignored. I probably spooked the fish with my casting errors, yet they continued to feed (on something). I assume that they were in a "selective" feeding pattern (or were just laughing at my feeble attempts at deceit ) In any case, watching fish boil and not getting them to bite had me re-thinking the whole opportunistic feeding thing. I absolutely appreciate and enjoy the dialog on this forum. Jim
 

Lue Taylor

Lue Taylor/dbfly
#26
I was unaware of the throat pumps limitations (thanks Rex). Lately I have seen boils next to the weed beds only to have my leech ignored. I probably spooked the fish with my casting errors, yet they continued to feed (on something). I assume that they were in a "selective" feeding pattern (or were just laughing at my feeble attempts at deceit ) In any case, watching fish boil and not getting them to bite had me re-thinking the whole opportunistic feeding thing. I absolutely appreciate and enjoy the dialog on this forum. Jim
Every year Jim we in my whse complex thru the months of Sept, Oct until the first frost get these flies from the nearby horse track from the manure thought you could use some realistic flies free:D
 

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