You do not have to read many books to understand that when fishing mountain streams, you have to be sneaky. In addition to not kicking rocks and stepping on branches and doing other things and make a lot of noise, you have to pay attention to how you are dressed and present yourself. Not that you need to wear a coat and tie to fish for brook trout — although some rabid purists would probably prefer that! Instead, you just need to use common sense and wear clothes that most closely match the background where you will be fishing.
When I looked through some pictures from my recent trip to White Oak Canyon Run, I realized that they provided a good example of what I’m talking about. In the picture to the right that Lon took of me, you can see how the shirt and vest I was wearing blends in very well with the background. The “Blue Heron” color vest and the burnt orange color shirt match the background of fall leaves and slate gray rocks pretty well. In fact, you may have to look twice to see me in that picture.
The other thing that will give you away is your rod. If your rod has a shiny finish and it is a sunny day, you may spook fish with reflections off your rod as you cast – a shiny reel may be a disadvantage for the same reason. One of the ways I solved that problem is to use the Flyfishing Benefactors 3/4 weight “Shenandoah” model rod. It’s the one I keep promising that I will do a review on when I am done testing it. Anyway, as you can see from the picture below (left), the rod disappears into the background. There are two key reasons the Shenandoah rod is perfect for mountain trout hunting. The first is its lack of shine from the flat finish. The second is the color. The FFB guys told me that they picked the shade of green by taking a fern leaf from the Blue Ridge and using it as the color match in the production process. The picture at the lower right is the proof of that as I propped my rod against a random set of leaves — not a bad match at all.
One other point to make on camouflage is to understand the colors that trout see very well. I read that the colors most visible to trout are red, orange and yellow while blue and green tend to fade into the background. Obviously, in the fall, orange, red or yellow may be the good choice based on where you are fishing as it was on the day I went to White Oak Canyon. You can confirm that blue is hard for trout to see by looking at the color of a Blue Heron. Those guys make their living eating trout and evolved to the bluish/gray color they are today. That’s one of the key reasons that I chose the bluish fishing vest that I use for trout.
As we head into the fall trout season, keep this in mind and you may do better.
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Note how the FFB Shenandoah rod disappears into the background
The FFB folks brag about using a leaf from the Blue Ridge to determine their rod color… Here’s the proof.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore