|....................... ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
Choosing the Right Fly - Part 1
In order to understand why trout will take a particular fly at certain times and
places and not take it at other times and places, you first must understand the
basics of how the trout sees a fly and what triggers the trout into taking the fly or
The same basic knowledge is necessary in order to understand why generic,
attractor and impressionistic imitations work at certain times and places and don’
t work at other times and places. The same is true of when, where and why
specific imitations are more productive than generic or attractor flies. You
cannot possibly understand it without knowing at least some of the basics of the
trout’s senses and behavior.
Keep in mind that this is about specific imitations (flies that imitate a specific
insect at a specific stage of life) versus generic imitations (attractor or
impressionistic flies that imitate a variety of insects or other trout food). It is not
about one fly pattern versus another fly pattern.
Trout learn from birth to accept and reject various objects in the streams as
food. They never eat something they don’t take for food. Even though they have
very tiny brains and even by the stretch of one’s imagination are not smart, they
can still learn by experience. They do not depend on intelligence as much as
they rely on senses and instincts to eat.
Trout don't just either feed one-hundred percent selective or opportunistically.
There are various stages of each. By definition, that may not be true, but in a
practical sense trout feed on whatever is the easiest food for them to acquire.
Their diet may consist 75% of one insect and 25% of various other insects. In
that case, had you rather be fishing an imitation the insect they were eating the
most of, or just any one of the several other insects they may possible eat?
It is always important to try to determine what provide you the best opportunity
or which insect you provide the highest odds. The trial and error method of
selecting flies is a poor method to use. You are always better off trying to
determine what the trout are most likely going to be eating, and imitating that
Copyright 2009 James Marsh