Think Like a Trout, Act Like a Bug.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Zombies and Ghosts

When matching the hatch, choosing a fly color is not always as simple as matching the color of the naturals. For many species of fresh water shrimp (scuds) parasite loads of infected individuals can result in their natural colors fading to a ghost-like hue. Without the advantage of camouflage these ghost scuds are more prone to predation by hungry trout.

A typical olive scud
A scud infected with Acanthocephalan parasites.
In addition to affecting the color, parasite infections can also alter the behavior of the infected scuds - causing them to be more active than usual, and remain active even in broad daylight. This exposes infected scuds to feeding trout more than non-infected scuds. With more pale scuds being gobbled up than natural colored ones it makes sense to use a fly that matches the faded scuds. Enter the Blue Dun Scud...

The Blue Dun Scud
The Blue Dun Scud tends to out fish more natural colored patterns by a significant margin. It's my go-to pattern for trout lakes that have good scud populations.

An infected scud showing the typical orange spot along the back where the parasites have congregated.
More information on the life cycle of scud parasites can be found in the Fall 2016 issue of Fly Fusion Magazine.

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