This week this writer fished the American River around Auburn California on a limited access 8 mile section which had not been fished for at least four days before. Always try to think like a fish, ask the question, Trout flies, why are trout fussy? What makes them attack with lust or move away from your presentation. When approaching new water where wild trout have not been disturbed, they are often quiet selective in what offering they will want.
Always start exploring with a mid sinking line with a leach or wooly bugger mid size, 12 or 10. If no grabs you must rethink your offering. The solution is to go smaller and slower in your presentation. As the mid range depth is fished with now grabs, try the top layer, still no garbs.. you are facing fussy fish that are actually intimidated by your larger size offering. Try small nymphs and fish them in the same manner of depth slowly, still no grabs, go smaller still. Start with a 12 and 14 trailing nymph, blood midge, hares ear your just searching. Still not luck, go 16 and 18.
That was the secret for success and 15 native trout from 12 to 17 inches taker over a mid day four hour period. Fish either swinging the tiny nymphs or under an indicator. The largest fish an aggressive 17 rainbow took in a fast riffle, an 18 hares ear bead head.
The other observation when you begin searching is to watch and look. That day no fish were feeding anywhere on the surface and it just felt like a shy day for the population. This was proven when the tiny flies worked. This writer has observed this condition many times over 30 years of fly fishing. Trout flies, why are trout fussy… trout are in a sense weary of larger offerings.
On even selective trout fish a hares ear, prince nymph or Pt nymph slowly. Its the size and dead drift that will save your day and up set theirs!
Hares ears nymphs, both bead head and standard 12-18
PT nymphs, both bead head and standard 12-18
Prince nymphs, both bead head and standard 12-18
For a great selection of the small size nymphs at a very reasonable $1.00 each, see the flies at : http://kaneklassics.com/shop/