I’m not going to suggest that trout have the predatory ferocity of sharks, or northern pike, or even largemouth bass. But they do have their moments…
Case in point: Check out this photo sent by my friend John Flick, co- owner of Duranglers Fly Shop in Durango, Colorado. Guide Cory Craven is holding a rainbow trout that not only choked down a (not much) smaller brown trout, it also ate a fly. Things like this happen on the wild rivers in southwestern Colorado.
I was once fully convinced that rainbows were merely timid bug-eaters until I spent an afternoon on a remote Alaskan creek with Tyler Palmerton, tossing mouse flies. We caught 18 fish, all over 20 inches long, all on furry dry flies, in the middle of the day.
I’ve also seen things eat in the middle of the night on certain Michigan rivers that make me think twice about dipping my toes in the water.
My new theory is that trout that eat little bitty flies all day (or don’t eat at all), do so because they get the snot pounded out of them by anglers during prime fishing hours. The “predatory nature” of trout is sometimes directly proportional to the amount of flies trout see.
The lesson? If you can avoid the circus on the river… make it a meal.