December 17th, 2001

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .


By Ron Koenig, (aka Osprey), PA

I have studied, at great length, the causes of trout strikes, from many different sources. All seem to be in agreement that there are three basic reasons for the strike as follows; to eat, to protect the space where they reside or spawn and finally out of curiosity/playfulness. Having said this, I would respectfully submit there is a definite separation or difference between attractor patterns and proven imitations of natural aquatic foods at the disposal of, specifically, wild trout and or salmonoids, in general. It would be my guess that most of us would agree that when a significant hatch is in progress on most bodies of water, it would be the wise angler that attempts to match some phase or stage of the hatching insect with a natural imitation tied to replicate the dominant hatching insect as opposed to offering an attractor pattern to the feeding trout.

As we go through our fly boxes, attempting to select the correct pattern for those, sometimes, rather selective trout, we often times come up empty and are forced to reevaluate the conditions, perhaps, intensifying our observation techniques. Admittedly, there are times when we anglers often reach a point of frustration as we go through this process without success and will ultimately resort, on occasion, to an attractor pattern, sometimes a terrestrial pattern, that has been successful for us in past similar situations.

This brings several questions to mind; the main question being the reason we fly fish rather than use any other method to catch wild trout, secondly, what we hope to accomplish while on the water, specifically in the pursuit of wild trout. My first thought would be, we can discount the need for food as being a reason. Could we discount the number of fish we desire to bring to the net on each outing or should it be the size of the fish we catch on any given outing? After many hours of observing anglers on the water and through subsequent conversations with many an angler, it's blatantly apparent that the reasons are as varied as the number of fly anglers.

The quality of the fly-fishing experience has many definitions, however, I believe most fly anglers choose that approach with the idea that it's more productive but mostly more sporting, not necessarily in that order for each angler. It has occurred to me there is a typical progression fly fishers go thru all of which become possible as the fly fisher's skills improve from being able to read the water, spot fish, perfect rod and line skills and recognize and successfully evaluate stream conditions along with a good knowledge of the insects in and around the water. As the elements of the total equation fall into place, the fly angler's rate of success increasingly improves exponentially with his consistency.

In a perfect world this would be the general rule, however, as soon as the human element is entered into the equation, exceptions appear, at which time the objective fly angler is wise to be aware of and evaluate his own individual short comings. These short comings can manifest themselves in all aspects of the sport, usually resulting with the number of compromises the angler is willing to make in his methods and to the water he fishes.

We all have our favorite "fishin' holes" and or streams and usually because we tend to be more successful at these secret spots but the true measure of an accomplished angler is to have similar success on any water that has comparable populations of fish, then by going the long way round, reading the water, locating holding fish, identifying the dominant insect and exercising experienced rod and line skills.

When all else fails and you must have fish, a mixture of Kieselguhr and Nitroglycerin packed into a variety of elongated shaped cylinders and wrapped tightly with heavy waxed paper can be extremely effective, however, beware, this material can cause headaches in either of it's states, dormant or active, a small compromise at worst. This method is not recommended nor accepted in most parts of the world but I have heard it is effective. ~ Osprey

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