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  • 1 Post By coralrives
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:50 AM
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Default Neophyte Questions

Howdy! I've been stalking the forum for some time and am a budding fly fisherman. I've been fishing flies in ponds for bass and such for a few years and am moving into the trout world. I've been reading as much as I can and took an Orvis 2 day class. I've been on a stream 6 or so times and am looking to do as much stream fishing as I can this year and on. Some noob quesions I can't seem to find answers for. I'll number them in case you only want to answer a few or only one. Thanks for your help.


1. How can you tell if a stream or part of a stream has trout? For instance, I've read about the SOuth Branch of the Potomac in WV having trout in the Smokehole Canyon area and the surrounding river, but what about several miles up and down stream? How do I know how far the trout will travel? Do you ever find yourself driving along and see a nice stream on the side of the road and stop to fish it not knowing if there are fish in it?

2. How long after stocking will trout stick around? If the water stays high and cold enough, is there any reason trout can't caryover for years and reproduce?

3. It seems like all I read about is stocked rivers/streams. Doesn't WV/VA have any natural habitats for trout?

4. Is fishing at a pay-per-fish type place like Rose River in VA considered "cheating".

5. What exactly is technical fishing or a technical stream? Can a stream that's tecnical today be not-technical next week?

Thanks again!
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:06 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will get some great answers to your questions from some of the expert members familiar with the waters you are asking about.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

I used to run a pay-to-fish facility. Personally I considered it "cheating" but that didn't stop me from throwing a line when I had the chance.
However I do not count the oversized trout caught there as any kind of 'personal bests"
Other people did and even harvested them to be mounted

Trout will travel to water where they comfortable. That could be many miles. An area full of trout one week could be void and empty the next if the water temperatures rise enough.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:34 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

I found the answers to many of these questions in about 15 secs with a google search, the WV and VA DNR/Inland Fisheries sites have much of this info: Wild Trout Program - Trout Fishing Guide West Virginia DNR - Go Native: Brook Trout

1) Nothing wrong with tossing a couple of flies to see what happens, fish do move around, so give it a go as long as you're not trespassing. Here's a link on how to read a stream: Finding Fish (In A Stream) - Fly Fisherman

2) depending on the conditions stocked fish can create a breeding population and exist indefinitely, generally in marginal trout habitat they'll be following the food and moving from warmer to colder water

3) Yes they do, see the links above.

4) Matter of opinion... the bigger question is whether or not you'll find it entertaining/rewarding enough to justify the cost.

5) Technical streams tend to be areas that require delicate or tricky presentations, odd currents, highly visible approaches (where the fish can you you coming) etc. Or they tend to be places that are heavily fished and the fish are skittish as a result. Conditions can always change. But I wouldn't count on it.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
I used to run a pay-to-fish facility. Personally I considered it "cheating" but that didn't stop me from throwing a line when I had the chance.
However I do not count the oversized trout caught there as any kind of 'personal bests"
Other people did and even harvested them to be mounted

Trout will travel to water where they comfortable. That could be many miles. An area full of trout one week could be void and empty the next if the water temperatures rise enough.
Some time back I was invited (free) to a pay to play and I just couldn't do it. Too much respect for my 'adversary.'

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Old 09-17-2013, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

Glad you said hello and asked the questions. I remember when I started I had a lot of questions and sometimes didn't even know how to find the answers - what search terms to use, how to understand what I read, etc etc. I know you've gotten some answers above but I thought I'd toss my thoughts in:

1. Sounds like you are already doing some research and that is a great way to learn if a stream has trout. In Michigan the DNR had a searchable database where you could find annual stocking reports, perhaps your area has something similar? If you just see a stream and want to find out if it holds trout I'd start with a thermometer, if the water in the summer gets high, like upper 70's and 80's then it gets doubtful, though there can be places for the fish to hide for brief hot spells. Beyond that, toss some flies. Trout will travel as long as there is suitable water and food, so if they are stocked in one area they will likely spread out. If you read there is trout fishing in a section of a stream, it can be rewarding to explore up or downstream from that area. Most people seem to fish close to access points on advertised stretches of water.

2. Trout need certain habitat to reproduce, places to lay their eggs and for the young to grow-up. If those are present you could get reproduction.

3. I would guess they do, you'd have to do online searches or personal exploration. If you know of a trout stream, follow it upstream on a map and find water closer to the headwaters, spots above natural barriers like waterfalls which might prevent stocked trout from pushing out natives/wild fish. That kind of exploration is fun, catching a 6 or 7 inch native after a decent hike can be more fun than catching a 18" stocker near a well known access point.

4. There are different types of 'pay-per-fish'. Some are stocked and very easy fishing. Others might just be private land and can be great fishing. I wouldn't consider the latter cheating at all, you are paying for access not poundage. As for the former, it is up to you whether it is the kind of fishing you want to do.

5. Got good answers already, but I'll add yes a 'technical' stream can be non-technical. For example, a spot that requires stealthy presentation with tiny flies on light tippet might come alive during a prolific hatch or when there are a lot of hoppers falling in the water.

Again, welcome!
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

+1 to Caberguy's response. So I will try to add a little personal experience.I spent most of my summers when I was growing up in Hampshire County.

1) The best way I've found to check a stream if you can't see fish (in eastern freestoners) is with a crayfish pattern. Also several blue lines on public land held native brookies. I have stopped to fish streams just to see. I make sure their are no "no tresspassing" signs or even remnants of a fence. Unless it has changed in the last couple years in W.V. the land owner owns the stream bed and a single broken strand of barbed wire is considered a no tresspassing sign.

2) If the flows and water temps are good they can holdover all year and in some streams reproduce. I know of a couple streams that have had reproducing browns as a result of stocking. Droughts took care of that.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

Good answers to all of your questions so far; just want to add a few thoughts on #1 (How can you tell if a stream or part of a stream has trout?)

Stopping and prospecting can pay off. You can always do some sleuthing around and ask questions, both online and in person, and find out some local beta that way. Still, some of the very most intriguing cases are the ones that nobody seems to know anything about. Sometimes you strike out, and sometimes you strike it rich. You don't necessarily want to build your whole fishing approach around this kind of thing, but it's worth including a few wildcard gamble prospecting trips in any given season or year. Go at a time with likely conditions, i.e. water levels, weather patterns, time of year etc. supportive of any fish that *might* be there.

Some of my favorite streams to fish as a youth in Vermont were in places where neighbors would tell me outright that I was wasting my time, there was nothing in there (I could have told them about browns the size of baseball bats, but didn't). I have fond memories of a California trip to an upper Sacramento tributary that had once held a steelhead run but had been cut off by a hydro project. What, I wondered, had become of that stream's native trout? Nobody seemed to know anything. I went there in February and on my first cast hooked an 18" rainbow that took off like a jetboat down the rapids.

You might just find a secret honey hole all your own.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Neophyte Questions

Some excellent advise so far to some very well thought out questions

1. All waters that have oxygen, food, structure and cool temps can hold fish. Something most novices overlook (and many veterans for that matter) is observation. Dont just wade out and start casting. Spend some time looking around, turning over stones and looking thru vegatation to see what and if theres a food source. If theres bugs in the air, spend some time watching for a rise or other clues there may be fish. Pay close attention to current breaks, soft riffles, bolder edges, cut banks... likely water.
As a beginner it can be very beneficial to fish areas where there are other fishermen. not only is it a clue theres fish here, but watch them a bit to learn what theyre doing. Just know good fishing etiquette when you fish around others.

2. Yes and no. Fish can certainly survive and grow for many years, but many hatcheries are genetically engineering sterile trout. This is to keep hatchery and wild fish from interbreeding.

3. I dont know for sure, but I believe these states have some excellent trout streams. No such thing as an excellent hatchery trout stream

4. Again, yes and no. Some pay to fish places have very educated trout that are hard and rewarding to catch! Yamsi Ranch comes to mind.

5. The first half of this questions been answered well. The second half is YES! Fishing conditions are constantly changing making most every fishery technical some days, and strangely easy others. Heck it can change like a light switch. But when facing wary, heavily pressured, clear water trout you should always have your A game.

Great questions and welcome!
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