menus will often include limiting statements such as 'subject to availability'
or 'when in season'. The aquatic menu for Rainbow Trout has these
same restrictions. Various aquatic bugs are only available or in season
at certain times. Availability will vary with the type of bug, elevation,
weather, geographic location and numerous other factors.
should try to imitate bugs during their prime periods. This isn't
essential since almost any fly can catch a fish at almost any time.
However, the truly excellent fly-fishing occurs when the trout are
taking a certain bug and the fly in use represents that bug. Knowing
when to expect those bugs and using a fly to match can significantly
improve your odds for some really great fishing.
southern interior of British Columbia, the following should provide
some guidance as to when you can expect the seven most important bugs
to be available on the aquatic menu.
Larva: Caddisfly larva in their cocoon-like casings are available
throughout the fly fishing season. However, while in their casings these
are not usually a preferred food source of the Rainbow Trout unless
all other foods are scarce. This only seems to happen occasionally during
the very hot periods.
Pupa & Adult: In their pupa and adult stages, Caddis are the
third most important source of food for our trout. Hatches begin about
the first week in June. The frequency and quantity of hatches increase
until they peak in the last week of June or the first week of July depending
on elevation. Thereafter hatches steadily decline for the remainder
of the season. The last major Caddis hatch is the Cinnamon Sedge in
early September. Hatches happen throughout the entire day but evening
and after dark are the primary times for emergence.
Larva: While in their 'mud tubes', Chironomid larva are not
readily available to the Rainbow Trout. However, on occasion the larvae
leave these tubes to crawl among the bottom substrates. This is the
time of larva availability and it happens primarily in the spring or
late fall and generally during daylight hours. At these times the larva
are often bright red and known as "Bloodworms" but they also come in
cream, green and other colors.
Pupa & Adult:Chironomid pupa are the second most important source
of food for our trout. Various species of Chironomid hatch whenever
there is water free of ice. The quantity and frequency of these hatches
peak from May 1st through June 15th. The early spring and late fall
hatches are mostly the smaller species while the larger species tend
to hatch during mid-season. The majority of hatches tend to occur at
mid-day as opposed to early morning or late evening. Adult Chironomid
are sometimes taken by trout as they skim the water surface laying eggs
(dry flies). In terms of adult availability, the best advice is to simply
to watch for the times when trout are taking these.
soon after ice-off, small to moderate sized Damselfly nymphs will migrate
from the deep water where they hibernate into the shallow water feeding
grounds. During the second or third week of June the grown (and larger)
nymphs will have their main hatches. Hatches occur during daylight hours
and imitations should be fished accordingly. After the hatches, from
late July through September, Damselflies nymphs are generally scarce
although adults are abundant. In the late fall (October through November)
the newly hatched nymphs have become large enough for the fly fisher
to imitate and the trout will readily feed on these as they migrate
from shallow to deep water in preparation for winter. The trout seldom
feed on adults.
adult Dragonflies are seldom a preferred food source for Rainbow Trout,
the nymphs are the fourth most important food for our interior trout.
These nymphs are available throughout the season. Availability begins
at or shortly before ice-off as the nymphs come out of hibernation and
begin their spring migration from deep to shallow water. Fall migration
from shallow to deep water is the second most important period of availability
and this peaks through September even though the hibernation period
is a few weeks away. Hatches peak throughout July (watch for the first
adults) and this is the third most important time of availability. Dragonflies
tend to be nocturnal and are more active in the evening or after dark.
Hatches also occur after dark but the trout will key on these during
the afternoon as they gather for the hatching migration along the drop-offs.
Shrimp are the most important food source for our trout. These are available
throughout the year, even into winter after ice-on. The primary time
to fish shrimp patterns seems to be when the variety of other foods
are limited. At ice-off and during the hot spells of summer are quite
productive for the fly fisher using shrimp patterns. However, from the
beginning of September until ice-on the shrimp are at their peak as
a preferred food by the trout. Shrimp are available at all times of
the day but during the evenings they are generally more active than
are actively taken in both the nymph and adult phases throughout most
of the season that is free of killing frosts. In early May and early
June the Mayflies are most abundant. There seems to be four other lesser
but important hatches. These are early July, early August, and early
September and there is even a minor hatch peaking around the beginning
of October. As a rule-of-thumb, watch for hatches at or near the beginning
of each month. The trout primarily take Mayflies during the daytime
and into early evening.
are found in feeding samples of trout during every month of the fly
fishing season. The primary time of availability, however, is in the
fall with flights peaking in September but continuing late into the
season. A lesser but also important time of availability is during the
spring from ice-off until mid-May. The Boatmen tend to seek shelter
during the low light hours and so are more commonly available at mid-day.
by the fly fisher is still one of the most important aspects in determining
when the various trout foods are available on the aquatic menu. However
it is important to remember the "Food Preferences
of the Rainbow Trout". One of the most important of these
considerations is to match a NEW hatch. Fish imitations of aquatic foods
that are newly becoming available. Good fishing.