Catching trout on heavily fished streams can prove to be a monumental challenge for even the most experienced anglers. On heavily fished trout streams I often catch many large trout by fishing with what I call “Change of Pace Flies”. These are fly patterns which mimic the natural foods upon which the trout feed but which show them fly patterns they seldom see. A good example of this is the Murray’s Housefly. By placing the wings down spent on each side of the flies body I show the trout a food they know well but that produces a different light pattern from what they usually see. I fish these below shrubs along the banks and below overhanging tree limbs using an upstream dead drift.
The Inchworm is another fly which matches many worm-like creatures that the trout feed heavily upon in addition to the real inchworm. Since many of these worms fall clumsily onto the stream, I find that presenting my Murray’s Inchworm will roll cast causing it to land on the stream with a splash often brings a strike from a trout which races across the stream to get it. Dapping this carefully over vegetation along undercut stream bank causes the Inchworm to dangle on the surface like a natural worm hanging from his thread.
The Mosquito is another artificial fly which will fool many wary trout when fished with a dead drift along brackish water on mountain streams and on sloughs in spring creeks.
Frequently these tactics bring me some of my largest trout of the season.
On large trout streams many trout feed deeply during the winter and fishing a large streamer on a fast sinking head line will help you catch these fish.
Many of our best stocked trout streams in Virginia such as Big Stoney, Mill Creek and the Bullpasture have gotten very high from heavy rains in the past two weeks. This can actually help the flyfishing when the streams drop back to normal levels because the trout become distrubuted throughout the streams.
Frequently the most productive sections of the streams for flyfishing will now be the deepest pools from a mile to five miles downstream of the areas that are normally stocked. Fish these thoroughly with the Murray’s Betsy Streamer and Pearl Marauder both in size 10.
On many occasions I’ve taken a friend fishing and have intentionally given him my favorite part of the stream while I fished another part of the stream well upstream or downstream from him. Frequently I’ve found some new water which was much more productive than I had expected it to be. From this I’ve learned I can frequently find outstanding fishing by exploring new waters.
The water temperature of mountain trout streams is very important to the feeding habits of the trout. Early in the spring and late in the fall the streams are cold and we seek areas with slightly warmer water. In the summer the streams get warm so we look for areas with cooler water. What I do to give me help here is to take the water temperature of all of the tiny feeders I come to as I’m walking up the trails and fishing up the streams. For example, it is not at all unusual to find a feeder ten degrees cooler than the main stream in the middle of August. Downstream of where this feeder enters the stream the fishing will be excellent.