Trout Fishing – Where Fish Feed

As a beginner to trout fishing you’ll need to have an understanding of you prey’s feeding habits. The feeding levels are: the surface, just below the surface, middle of the road or near the bottom.

It’s rare for trout to feed on the surface because they will hit insects on the surface film no more than 10 percent of the time. It will be obvious when they are doing so, however, as you will see boils at the surface and hear the fish slurping bugs or even jumping out of the water to snag aquatic insects as they emerge. This is a common sight in the evenings when mosquitoes are abundant at the water's edge. Try an Elk Hair Caddis or similar dry fly when you see trout starting to dance on the surface.

Same applies to an immediate subsurface bite, or the first few inches below. Trout take about 10 percent of their diet here as well, snatching adult insects as they make their way to the top. Dry flies will still work at this stage. A better idea, though, might be to try a light nymph such as a pheasant tail.

A stream's middle only holds about five percent of the trout's diet. Insects rarely hold here because of the stronger and the fact there is little shelter in this zone. Most nymphs end up here unless they are a beadhead or you fish with a small splitshot weight just before the fly.

Down at the bottom of the water is where trout spend most of their time. They feed here on bottom-dwelling insects and sculpin, and consume in this zone alone around 75 percent of their diet. If you don't see fish boiling or occasionally breaking the surface, they’re probably holding down below. Use beadheaded nymphs, heavy streamers or add a splitshot to help get your fly down there.

Finally, a good way to monitor when and where trout are feeding is to use a nymph net to sift through the different feeding zones. In that way you will see what types of insects are holding there. To get yourself underway trout fishing, all you have to do then is match your fly to the hatch.

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