.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

10/09/09

Catching Yellowstone Cold Water Trout - Part 17
continued from Part 16

Most anglers want to fish the dry fly or dun imitation under any circumstances. In
cold water, it is common for the trout to ignore it. If you do try a dun imitation and
you find that the trout are not responding to it very well, change back to an
emerger pattern. It shouldn't take long to determine this during a decent
Blue-winged Olive hatch.

The trout will usually line up in the current seams when they are feeding on
the duns. If the water is not very cold, lets say its in the low fifties, and the trout
are taking the duns, you should concentrate on drifting your dun pattern
drag-free in the current seams. This situation can occur on some fairly warm
days but most often, as I have previously said, when the water is in the mid to
high forties and you are better off using a nymph or emerger imitation.

As with the nymph imitations, long, light leaders and tippets are necessary. Nine
to twelve foot leaders and 6X tippets are appropriate under these conditions. In
pocket water, you can get by with slightly heavier leaders and tippets, shorter
cast and maybe even a few mistakes.

In smooth flowing water, you may be able to spot the trout sipping the spinners
from the surface of the water. In rough, fast flowing water, this is just about
impossible. Normally, if the Olives are crawling down objects to deposit their
eggs, they do so in shallower, calm water. You would probably not be able to
spot the trout taking the spinners below the surface. Then there is always the
possibility the trout are taking the spent spinners that have collected in the
eddies and along the banks in calm pockets of water. I suggest you start out
with a dry fly pattern. If you are fishing either an upright wing spinner pattern or
a spent imitation, you are probably going to need to use a long, light leader and
tippet. A ten or twelve-foot long combined leader and 6X tippet would be a
typical setup for this.

If you do not get good results from fishing an upright wing or spent spinner
pattern on the surface, I suggest you change to a wet fly or fly that imitates
those that deposit their eggs below the surface of the water.All in all, we have
had mixed results from the Blue-winged Olive spinner falls in Yellowstone.
Spinner falls from the late season hatches have brought us better results
than the early season hatches. This may only be due to the fact the afternoons
are much longer and the weather is usually more stable than it is in the early
season. The Little Blue-winged Olive spinner falls have brought mixed results
depending on the type of water we were fishing. In the smooth water of the
Madison and Firehole Rivers, for example, we have watched large trout sipping
the spinners from the surface when they ignored our imitations. Every once in a
while, we were able to hook one of the larger fish, but most of the time we ended
up with a small rainbow on the line. Catching spinner sipping trout in the fast
moving but smooth, slick water is not easy. It requires an almost perfect
presentation of a very good imitation of the spinners. We have caught trout
using wet imitations of spinners but we are not positive that the trout took the fly
for a Blue-winged Olive spinner. They could have been opportunistically feeding
trout.

We will continue tomorrow.........

Copyright 2009 James Marsh