The Science & Details
Almost forty years ago, I found myself in love with a river...the Henry's Fork in Idaho. This however, created a dilemma. The Henry's Fork has long been known for it "highly selective trout". This is especially true on the slower upper reaches known as "The Ranch" aka Harriman State Park. My dilemma...I was relatively new to fly fishing for trout and "my new love" was cruel to a beginner. I considered just finding another river that was better suited for my developing interest in fly fishing for trout.
I found I just could not stay away. Year after year I spent two or three weeks driving from my home in California to Last Chance, Idaho and the Henry's Fork. It did not take very long for me to realize I really needed to educate myself in the ways of truly selective trout or spend a lot of frustrating days. Happily, with the help of a few friends I was able to get a head start with my education.
The first lesson was aquatic entomology. I learned all I could about the many different aquatic insects that call the Henry's Fork home. From the mayflies to the stoneflies to the terrestrials, I learned their life cycles and the flies that best imitate them.
Then, the hard lessons started. If you want to become somewhat successful with these trout, you need to find them and then "fool them" into eating your fly. To make a very long story short(er), I did learn to fool those fish on a regular basis. Along the way, I kept learning and here are some of those lessons...
What do I need to know about a trout's eye sight?
How do I get close enough to make a good accurate cast?
How do I known which fly to use and when to use it?
Can those trout hear me wading?
Are they eating duns or emergers?
Many of the answers to these questions were to be found in what I call "The Science and The Details".
As a fly fisherman, you certainly do not need a PhD in aquatic entomology to improve your your odds when confronted with particularly selective trout but you do need what I call "Aquatic entomology 101". In this section I have tried to present what I feel are the necessary basics of aquatic entomology.
The answers to the other questions will be coming in the near future so, stay tuned in...