Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Fish Foolery


No, we don’t eat bananas with our trout, but it’s there to show the relative size of the fish.

You’d think it’s easy to be smarter than a fish, but have you ever tried to catch one that didn’t want to be caught? You might be surprised how wary they are, and if you try to lure them to bite a hook, you’ll learn that they are choosy too.

Fish basically eat insects, and each other’s babies. Nasty little critters, aren’t they? And yet, when I’m lucky enough to get one onto my dinner plate, they don’t taste nasty at all. The trick is to get them there.

So I’ll defer to the Captain, who has been trying for a lifetime to outsmart a fish. He loves the art of tying “flies” (lures made with fur and feathers and other components), to suit the mood and appetite of the fish at any particular time. Appetites change with the season, the temperature, the weather, and a few other factors.

Assuming you have a fishing rod and a boat to get out onto the lake to try fishing, here are some things the trout might look for. What we are trying to do is to create a lure (a fly) that simulates something the trout might be attracted to. We need to be a little bit mean, and hide a sharp hook in this “fly” to catch our dinner.

When flying ants are hatching, the trout love to make a meal of them near the edge of the lake where the swarms of newly hatched ants are crawling on the overhanging branches and often drop into the water. The simulated ant below has wings made of window screen mesh.

Another favourite food of the trout is the nymph dragonfly. The eggs are laid near aquatic plants in the quiet waters near shore. Sometimes in as few as five days, the eggs hatch into the nymph stage of the dragonfly. This is when they are often picked off by trout. The nymphs who survive, split their skin up to twelve times on their way to adulthood (rather than sitting in a cocoon to wait for development to be completed), and this series of molting can take up to four years. Once adulthood is reached, the dragonflies mate and the female lays eggs. Both male and female dragonflies only live about four or five months after mating.

Below is a dragonfly lure simulating the nymph stage. The nickel is placed in the photos to show the relative size.


Below is a shrimp “fly.”

And of course there are leeches in many of the lakes. Not nice for swimmers, but lovely for a trout’s meal.

And this nasty little critter, below, is a bloodworm, the larval stage of the midge fly. It lives in the shallow lake bottoms and can give people or animals a venomous bite that hurts like a bee sting.

When the bloodworm changes to the pupa stage of the midge fly (Chironomidae) it floats up to the surface of the water, and then in the next stage it turns into a small fly.

In the above flies, the one on the left has a white bubble that floats the pupa to the surface where it rests for a while until its wings dry and it can fly away (if a trout doesn’t snap it up first).


Trout have no scruples when it comes to eating other fish’s babies.  Here are some of the lures made to look like minnows used to entice them to bite.

But now comes the lure that I find the most fun. It is made from a small piece of rabbit fur. Yes, rabbit fur!  Made to look like sculpins and bullheads, fish that stay near the bottom, these lures have an amazing action that simulates that of these bottomfish.


Here is a short video showing the action of one of these lures.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

20 thoughts on “Fish Foolery

  1. This is wonderful, Anneli, thanks for this education. I fly fished as a kid. Your captain is amazing. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those are some very nice looking flies! I am also a fly fisherman and have been since about 1950. Not many things are more fun or better at taking your mind off of everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so true. It’s a very peaceful way to spend the time, and the fly tying is something that you get better at the more you do it, The rewarding thing about fly tying is not only the fact that sometimes you tie the right fly and it works, but it’s an ongoing challenge to tie something unique that you created, rather than just buying a fly from a sports shop.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Those are amazing, especially that last one in the video. I haven’t gone fly fishing for a long time, but I found it relaxing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had no idea there were so many types of lures. Fly fishing looks so relaxing. Thanks for sharing, Anneli.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent workmanship and talent required in catching fish. Interesting to learn about.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for teaching me something new. Had no idea how fly fishing worked.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This isn’t something I have ever done but I can see the challenge. I definitely isn’t as easy as I used to think.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Did Gary do them all? Those flies are so very good and look- and behave like real little creatures. Beautiful job Captain! And the video is just something else!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I so enjoyed this introduction to fly fishing, Anneli. The descriptions were great, and the variety and quality of lures is impressive. I also really liked the video demonstration, as it made more sense to me how they look to the fish underwater. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

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