What Does a Trout Eat?
Of course, fly fishing in Colorado means an abundance of beautiful trout to fish. However, just knowing what fish to look for isn’t the end of the story when it comes to getting a fish on the line. It’s also imperative that any fly fisher knows the diet of the fish they’re trying to hook. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the common diet of the trout in Colorado. This can be an important tool when considering the flies, seasons, and locations for fly fishing. This knowledge will no doubt be an important skill that can be utilized in all aspects of fly fishing.
The diet of a trout is not unlike many other fish, and can be broken down into four main categories: aquatic insects, land insects, worms, and eggs. Of course, given the appetite and/or desperation, trout will eat a variety of other food sources as well (such as crawfish, minnows, and even small rodents that might find themselves unfortunately trapped in a body of water), but we will focus on these four more common food groups.
To begin, aquatic insects are the most common part of a trout’s diet, and often the most abundant of all the food sources. Usually, the term aquatic insect in fly fishing refers to different types of actual flies that reside near or on rivers, streams, and lakes. These flies are often smaller and lighter than the common housefly, and typically begin their life cycle as eggs floating on the water’s surface in stagnant pockets. The fish may eat these eggs, but if these flies are lucky enough to mature past their embryonic stage, trout will snap them up by grabbing them near the surface of the water. Fly fishers would be well suited to carry a wide selection of nymphs, or imitation flies. It could be an added benefit to carry a selection of nymphs that resemble these flies in different stages of their lifecycle.
Besides aquatic insects, trout commonly feast on land dwelling insects that may find themselves near a trout habitat. These land insects can include grasshoppers, horseflies, spiders, and other larger insects that typically aren’t as abundant near water. These larger bugs are enticing for trout, as these insects can be over three times as much food in a single meal. Trout may leap just out of the water near shorelines to snag these unlucky insects. Fishing with a selection of larger flies that imitate a grasshopper silhouette near shore in slow moving water is a sure way to get these hungry trout to bite at the chance of a tasty meal.
Moving on from insects, another common trout food is worms. Worms are commonly found both in and near rivers and lakes in thick, muddy areas. These muddy areas are typically surrounded by slower moving silty waters, where trout may lurk in search of a worm. Similar to worms, small leeches and other tubelike animals can be found in most bodies of water, this time in faster moving current areas. It would be smart to carry a variety of streamers, worm imitation bait, or even worms when fishing for trout. It can be more difficult to cast and drag with worm-like bait, but when done correctly, chances of catching a hungry fish dramatically increase. Stop by Angles Sports in Longmont today to ask a fly fishing professional more about how to fish with worm-like bait.
To cap off this list is eggs. Not eggs like us humans eat, but much smaller eggs found near and in the water. These eggs can be insect eggs or fish eggs, and often they are hard to spot with the human eye. Trout will even eat the eggs of their own young, showing that trout will often stop at nothing to find a meal. In order to capitalize on this, make sure to bring in tow some egg flies. These flies are often a bright color and contain small spherical orbs to mimic clusters of eggs found in the water. Casting these flies in combination with a slow drag in pockets of warm water can be a good combo when fishing for these trout that may be on the hunt for protein rich eggs.
Keep in mind that although this list is designed to be specifically for trout, many fish have access to a similar food chain selection, so these diets are common for many comparably sized fish besides trout across Colorado. So even if you spot a beautiful bass, these trout tips and tricks can still come in handy. Feel free to stop by our Fly Fishing store in Longmont, where a fly fishing professional can break down specific flies, and answer any questions you may have. Happy fishing!