“Fishing shrimp is something I have tried and simply have no confidence in.”
A small part of me dies on the inside when I hear the above mentioned sentence. Though you do not see hoards of anglers flogging the internet with the hottest shrimp patterns (except this masterpiece tied by Trevor Tatarczuk!), this does not mean they should fly under the radar.
Rainbow trout in our interior lakes are given the ability to feed on scuds (freshwater shrimp) for the entirety of the year. Though there are certain methods that often yield the most consistent results when shrimp fishing, often the lack of success comes from simply not allowing yourself to fish the fly long enough to develop confidence that is so necessary.
How to fish Scuds Beneath a Strike Indicator
I prefer the term ‘bobber’, but the fly fishing world seems to have so much resistance towards it. If you observe the way in which scud patterns are typically tied, you will notice a dramatic curvature of the hook shank.
Upon further observation, you will notice that scuds primarily hold this position while they are resting.
Click here for a step-by-step tutorial on the UV Pregnant Shrimp!
Shrimp that are actively swimming the water column in their erratic manner are often elongated, but fish do not seem to discriminate against a heavily curved scud imitation retrieved on either a floating or sinking line.
Indicator fishing with freshwater shrimp imitations is a deadly effective approach, especially in the early spring, heat of summer, and late-fall periods of Stillwater season. As water temperatures plummet, fish are found actively searching for staple food sources before the onset of winter.
To properly execute this technique, first you will be looking to locate a piece of structure or area of the lake that is worthy of your efforts. I will often look for ledges and transitions from deep to shallow water in which the fish have a safe exit strategy, as well as bulrushes, marl flats and weed beds.
A floating line fished in unison with a 9-15 foot leader is often ideal for indicator fishing with shrimp imitations. I am an advocate for a barrel swivel approximately 24″ above the fly to reduce undulation caused by small waves, and to help your fly reach its desired depth in a rapid manner. Either a level or a tapered leader is appropriate, ending in 3, 4 or 5x tippet.
How to Fish Them
A simplistic method, suspending freshwater shrimp imitations beneath a strike indicator involves little to no movement by the angler. Intermittently twitching the fly upon its arrival at your intended depth will sometimes be just enough to catch the eye of a trout passing by, while other times a totally stagnant approach is preferred.
I will close this article, the first part of a three part series, by saying that I almost always prefer to fish this method in less than 15 feet of water, though I have had great success suspending scuds midway through the water column in deep water.
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