Trout Food
Trout Food and Egg Thieves
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fishing Journal
Sculpins are bottom-dwelling fish that are usually very difficult to see. Most of them are found in shallow sea waters and others,
such as the miller’s-thumb (Cottus gobio), inhabit freshwater. There are about 300 species of them, the largest of which grow
about two feet long. Among the freshwater sculpins, the Cottus genus, small, generally mottled-brown fish that grow to about four
inches long, represent the great majority of those found in trout streams.  

 Sculpin stay right on the bottom, usually hidden down between the rocks on the stream’s bottom. They do move around on the
bottom when they are feeding and that is when they are most likely to be eaten by a trout.

 We have tested our Perfect Fly “Brown Sculpin” for the
past several years. It's a not only a fairly realistic imitation of
the sculpin's appearance, it also imitates the movements and
behavior of the little fish. We have tested it with and without
eyes. We have tested it using several different weights
added to the hook before other materials were tied in. The
end result was that we decided to use the eyes but not to add
weight the fly. We think that when a trout closely examines
the fly, the eyes may well make some difference. There is one
thing for sure, adding the eyes doesn’t hurt the effectiveness
of the fly.

 There's a theory of mine regarding the color red used, in
this case, in the eyes. I won’t take the time to explain it in
detail, but from a distance, red isn’t red to trout in most
underwater situations. Red changes from brown to red as the
distance the trout view it decrease. Under water, at a distance, red
appears brown. The closer a trout gets to the red eyes, the
more they appears to be red. In both fish lures and flies, I
think it gives trout the impression that the little baitfish
becomes frightened. Areas of the color red are being used
effectively in many different types of fishing lures and I think
there is a valid reason behind it.

 We don't add weight to the fly for several reasons. One reason is that It allows you to fish the fly in very shallow water. This is
important in many cases, especially during low light conditions where the trout may be very shallow or hidden in shallow water
underneath overhanging limbs or grass. In low light conditions, brown trout are very prone to get into shallow water. If the fly had
added weight it would not work as well as it does unweighted in shallow water. When we did add weight to the fly, (internally
on the hook) we noticed it adversely affected its action. The fly didn't swim as natural as the unweighted versions. The final factor,
which we consider in many cases for other flies, is the fact that when you use a predetermined amount of added weight, the fly only
works well for certain depths and current speeds. You may still need to add weight to get the fly deeper or you may not be able to
use it effectively in water that it not deep.

 Sculpin stay right on the bottom, usually hidden down between the rocks on the stream’s bottom. They do move around on the
bottom when they are feeding and that is when they are most likely to be eaten by a trout. If the fly is weighted to the point it stays
right on the bottom, the action is affected. That is why we don’t like the upside down versions of sculpin streamers. They seem to
work good for flies used in saltwater flats and some other situations but not on the typical trout stream bottom.  

 We have tested this fly in tanks, swimming pools and of course, numerous trout streams from the east to the west coast trying
various ways to improve the fly to match the natural action of a sculpin. We have even placed sculpin in aquariums to observe
their behavior, although water in the aquarium doesn’t flow like a stream does. We don’t think the results were very informative but
it helped us learn more about the little baitfish.

 As most of you know, deer hair adds buoyancy to the fly. The head is spun deer hair and the beginning of the body is deer hair.
Part of the body and the tail consist of feathers that look and move like the real thing. When you add weight a few inches (we
recommend 4 to 5 inches) above the fly, it helps increase the wiggle or natural swimming motion of the fly. In the current, It looks
and acts like a real sculpin. We like the weight close to the fly because it does not seem to affect the trout taking the fly and it
keeps the fly only an inch or two above the bottom.

We believe this is the best sculpin imitation there is for clear water trout streams. We hope you give it a try.
November 2013 Issue
n cold water, freestone streams, sculpin represent a very plentiful and available fish food for trout. They also represent a
threat to trout during the spawning season. They are egg thief. These little bottom fish will line up around a redd and dart in
and out trying to steal eggs faster than the spawning trout grab them and kill them.
Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin