Trout and Their Habitat
Recommended Prerequisites: Getting
Started, Flies and Rigging Technique, The
Perfect Cast and The Perfect Presentation.
Length: 1 hour plus
20 min. promo $29.95
This program includes scenes from numerous
streams located throughout the United States
from the East, Mid-West and Western states.
“Trout and Their Habitat” covers the four major
species of trout; the Brown, Brook, Cutthroat
and Rainbow; their range, and distribution.
|A/ngie with a rare Cutthroat Trout from an alpine stream
Considerations that should to be given to the
different types of water, such as pools, runs
and riffles are included.
Learn about the particular habits and habitats
of each species.
Understand the different strategies used for
freestone streams, tail-waters, spring creeks
and still waters.
|.......A small Golden Stonefly nymph and a large Giant
Examine the differences in native, stocked and stream bred or wild trout.
The trout’s senses of sight and hearing are discussed in relationship to how it affects the
Almost ironically, tail waters are affected by the same acts of nature as the freestone streams, that is,
rainfall and snowfall. It is just that man is somewhat in control of it. Some dams were built strictly for
flood control purposes and in this case, the dam’s floodgates allow a more steady disbursement of the
floodwater than Mother Nature would allow.
Most dams were built to produce electricity. Hydroelectric dams also are used to control flooding.
Water is supplied by the reservoir above the dam and is dispersed through the turbines of the power
generators as needed for electricity. Most of these dams also have flood, gates that allow additional
water beyond the capacity of the turbines to pass through in the event of heavy rain or melting snow
upstream. In many areas, the tail waters of dams are only cold enough to support trout due to the fact
that the water is taken from the bottom of the lake or reservoir, which of course, is much colder than the
surface and upper layers of the lake water. For this reason, many tail waters, especially those coming
from very deep lakes, have an almost constant water temperature year round. For example, the tail
waters of Alabama’s Smith Lake, a very deep impoundment, is cold enough to support a good
population of trout, even though it is in the deep South. The San Juan River, or tail waters of Navajo
Lake, New Mexico, is a top rated trout fishing destinations thanks to its constant low water temperature.
Generally speaking, native and stream bred trout are more difficult to fool than stocked trout and
consequently, they are harder to catch. Hatchery raised trout, in may cases, are caught shortly after they
have been stocked and in many cases, in large numbers proportional to the quantity stocked. For at least
the earlier part of their life stocked trout have become accustomed to being fed at a hatchery. They have
not developed the same fear of predators as the native or stream bred trout. They have not yet learned
what their new food supply, consist of and can therefore be fooled by a large variety of baits and flies.
Neither have they learned where to feed most effectively and where to rest in comfort and with security.
Of course, the amount of water in a freestone stream is drastically affected by the amount of rainfall, and
when runoff occurs, snow fall. In the higher elevations of the Western Rocky Mountains, in late spring
and early summer, this runoff can be the major source of problems. Many streams become unsuitable
for fishing for a few weeks during this time of the year. Runoff times are fairly predictable. They may
vary from year to year, however, depending upon the amount of snowfall as well as the elevation of the
area and its Northern proximity. Some runoff usually occurs in the Appalachian mountains of the Eastern
United States, again depending upon the amount of snowfall and the location and elevation of the
mountains that form the freestone stream.
All freestone streams are affected by the amount of rainfall. Very heavy amounts of rainfall can cause
extreme turbulent stream conditions in the higher elevations and flooding conditions in the lower elevation
streams. Just as bad for the trout fisherman, as well as the trout, are periods of draught, especially during
the hot months of summer. Water in some freestone streams can reach critically, low levels and rates of
flow that leads not only to tough fishing conditions but also, harsh environmental conditions for the trout.
Length: 1 hour plus 20 min. promo $29.95
The basic difference in fly-fishing streams and still water confronting anglers is that the trout sometimes
use the depths of the water to hide-that is deeper than they tend to do in streams. Trout in lakes and
ponds also tend to use weed beds, logs, rocks and such, as cover, more so, than they do in streams.
Presenting flies at various depths and around cover is very different from drifting flies in the current in
many ways. You must get used to sinking tip and sinking fly lines, except during those good dry fly days
that occasionally occur, and you must get used to stripping line. Instead of relying on the currents to
present your fly, you must do it.
Water temperature may become more important than it is in streams because lakes and ponds are more
affected by the changes in weather and the temperature of the water varies according to the depth.
Some of the lakes are affected by what is called a “turnover”. In the early spring, just after the snow and
ice has melted, the water near the surface is the coldest part and the lower levels of water are warmer.
As the lake warms, the surface water becomes warmer than the lower water levels and the lake “turns
over”, so to speak. Naturally, this has an effect on the whereabouts of the trout.
The fact that there is a blind spot in the trout’s vision may lead you to think that it is easier to approach a
trout from the rear than it actually is. Not only is the blind spot very small, when the fish is moving its
head back and forth in opposite directions, even slightly, there is in effect, no blind spot. The fish can see
in a complete three hundred and sixty degree circle.
Slipping up on a trout from the rear may be easier than it is from the front due to the fact that the trout
may be focusing its attention in the direction it is facing. The point is that it is usually much easier to
approach trout from the rear than from the direction they are looking for food. Fishing in an upstream
direction, from this standpoint, definitely has its advantages.
A trout can determine shape, size and color although it cannot see detail nearly as well as us humans.
Thank goodness. If it were not for this fact, we would have an extremely difficult time fooling a trout into
taking our fake fly. It is believed that the human eye is able to discern detail several times better than the
eyes of a trout. Much like us humans, if a fish detects something in its peripheral vision, it usually turns its
head to focus more clearly on it. Generally speaking, it is contrast and movement that gets the trout’s
attention. Trout can detect the movement of an object, even when the object is not in clear focus.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh, All Rights Reserved
Spring water is different from other trout waters in many ways. It is usually clearer, purer, supports more
plant and aquatic insect life and usually remains an almost constant temperature year round. The average
temperature of spring creeks is probably between forty-eight and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. This provides
cool water for trout in the summer and water that does not freeze in the winter. This constant water
temperature and fertile ecology produces heavy midge, mayfly and caddis hatches as well as scuds and
cress bugs. Some spring creeks have stonefly hatches.
Normally, the rate of water flow is more constant than it is with other type streams and rivers. Of course,
most spring creeks have pools, riffles and runs that vary the rate of flow, but it is not nearly as affected
by rainfall as freestone streams.
Patterning what to use and how to fish spring creeks is, if anything, easier than other streams. Fishing
them, however, is usually more difficult. On a clear sunny day with polarized sunglasses you can usually
easily spot trout in spring creeks if you use a stealthy approach. This tends to make you think they are
ahead of the game, but usually just adds up to frustration when you realize the trout is aware of your
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|James- Henry's Fork of Snake River