Micro Fishing Trip Report 10-6-13

The day was not supposed to be a micro fishing day. The plan was to fish a couple New Jersey trout streams - one with wild browns and the other with wild brookies. However, both streams have yielded micros in the past. Both have blacknose dace. One also has creek chubs and the other also has common shiners and what I believe are tessellated darters although I haven't caught one yet.

Fallfish are not technically micros. When fully grown they are over a pound in weight, which is the arbitrary cut-off point for what is truly a micro. In this particular stream, though, I have never caught one longer than about 6 inches and most have been smaller. The fish may fall outside the narrow definition, but I see little difference in catching 3-4 inch juveniles compared to 3-4 inch adults. They're still 3-4 inch fish.

I started right off with a fallfish.

Angler holding fallfish

I caught a few trout and then started catching fallfish pretty regularly. The yellow sheen on the fish below makes it look a bit like a common shiner but the body doesn't look deep enough. I think it's another fallfish.

Fallfish caught with Sunglow Killer Bug

A little later I caught a blacknose dace, my second on a fly.

Angler holding black nose dace

After we moved to the second stream, my first fish was a creek chub. This one was caught on a size 14 CDC & Elk, but I caught another later on a small sunglow Killer Bug.

Angler holding fallfish caught with CDC & Elk fly

Most of my fish that day, whether dace or fallfish or trout, were caught on a size 18 Killer Bug tied with sunglow yarn instead of my normal size 12 tied with Killer Bug Yarn. I think I will spend more time fishing with smaller flies. I'm not at all sure that the sunglow is any better than the Killer Bug yarn or Utah Killer Bug yarn, but I do think that the size 18 flies were better for catching micros than the size 12s! I've caught micros on size 26 flies but never trout. Having a fly that might catch a dace on one cast and and a trout on the next just isn't too bad.

To some extent, I could forecast what fish I would catch based on where in the stream I was fishing. Relatively shallow water closer to shore, over a sand or leaf litter bottom yielded small fallfish. Deeper runs midstream yielded only trout. The blacknose dace on Sunday, and also the one I caught on a fly in August were caught in shallower water over a rocky bottom. The sample size of just two fish is too low to be definitive, though. Similarly, even though the common shiners I've caught on flies were all caught in quiet pools, to date I've only caught three, so that may not be definitive.

Although the day was one in which I caught micros while flyfishing for trout, it increases my confidence that flyfishing for micros is a viable pursuit. I know that there are fly fishermen who would be more likely to become micro fishermen if they were reasonably confident that they could do it with flies. I'm sure there are micros which you could never catch on a fly, but there are probably dozens if not hundreds of species that you could. If you added the juveniles of sport fish that readily take flies, there are lots of little fish that with a very small fly, a very light line and a very soft rod could provide a lot of fun.

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