In my country most anglers call these madtoms. Some anglers know them as stonecats. These are those mean looking minnows that can sting you painfully if you do not handle them properly. The large bass in the river feed heavily upon them.
These minnows live under cobblestones on the streambottom. They like the sections of the river where there is at least a moderate current. Some are found in the riffles but when we seined them we would find the greatest populations in the lower two hundred feet of the tails of the pools.
They would come out at dusk, dark and heavily overcast days to feed. Many of the mid pool areas upstream of the tails of the pools have cuts which are six to eight feet deep. Many large bass can be caught here on this fly.
An effective method is to float or wade downstream to the side of these deep areas. Starting at the upstream sections of these deep cuts, fish your Stonecat slowly along the streambottom with a Sinking Tip III Fly Line or Fast Sinking Head Fly Line.
The feeding stations can be at many different locations in these cuts. I like to fish the whole area thoroughly by fanning my casts over the complete area I can reach. By moving downstream and stopping every ten feet to repeat this casting sequence, I catch many large bass.
Even though these minnows come out to feed mainly in low light conditions, these deep cuts are productive throughout the day.
Many trout refusals of dry flies result from one of two problems which can be easily corrected. First the fly may be too large for his liking. Here we simply switch to a smaller fly. A dragging dry fly is another cause for refusals. Here a slack line cast, or a different presentation position, or a different presentation angle or dropping your dry fly closer to the trout’s feeding station will enable the dry fly to drift naturally and the trout will take it solidly.
Here is how you can easily solve the dilemma of trout nymph fishing. On a day when you have caught several dozen trout on dry flies you know they are feeding well. Now, replace the dry fly with a nymph and continue fishing the same sections of the pools. If you do not continue catching as many trout as you did with dry’s the reason is very simple: You are getting strikes but not detecting them.
I find that the new Murray’s Trout Nymph leader with its special knotted taper and two Scientific Anglers Indicators spaced along it is a great help in discerning the strikes.
As the nymph drifts naturally along the stream bottom be sure to retrieve the line with long line hand strips. Short pulls mask the strike. When you see the strike set the hook quickly with both the line hand and the rod.
When the mountain trout streams are carrying a high water level I always catch more fish by using short casts to precise feeding stations. Under these conditions long casts which place extra line and leader on the water can easily produce drag on the fly even when using your best effort to bridge the fast currents with your fly rod. These fast dragging drifts will almost always be refused by the trout.
Another good reason to use short casts in high streams is because the feeding stations are much more compressed than they are in a normal stream level. Dinner-plate accuracy in fly placement is often a must in high streams. The positive side of this is that the trout has less time to evaluate our flies so an accurate cast to a precise feeding station usually brings a strike.
There is some aquatic grass drifting on the stream and even though there is a good hatch on, the large trout before you seems to feed mainly on the duns that are drifting amid the drifting grass. Every time you cast to him your fly lands in the grass. Then for a few seconds he moves over to the edge of the grass and takes three duns. Now is your chance. Quickly cast your fly two feet upstream in that open current and you will probably take him.
Often when you approach a pool on a high gradient trout stream when the water level is low it is difficult to discern the best feeding station in the lower part of the pool because the in-stream boulders block your view. It is important to locate this because often the largest trout in the pool feeds here. The easiest way to locate these is while you are well below the pool carefully study how the main current leaves the pool above. Frequently it will percolate out beneath the boulderrs on the lip of the pool. About a foot above this flow is where your big trout will be.