There is a creature, lumbricus terrestris, that is found in or near virtually every trout stream. A trout dietician’s dream food, this tasty morsel and its imitations have probably caught more fish than any other Latin named fare. Yet few of us, until quite recently, would have admitted to using them...especially the “natural”, but also its many imitations.
Deep in the hidden away pockets of your fly vest, you probably have such imitations, and when the fish are not cooperating you have been known to use them. Lumbricus terrestris is an earthworm. Of course there are more popular variations which include Paleacrita vernata, otherwise known as the Inchworm, and perhaps the most famous of all to trout fishers, members of the phylum Annelida and the class Oligochaeta, the San Juan Worm.
For those of you relatively new to the fly fishing game, in days of old no self respecting fly fisherman would have considered using these imitations...we fished with FLIES! Nor would we have attached split shot to a leader. We would have used wire weighted nymphs, but the thought of using split shot was as unthinkable as adding tap water to a fine single malt Scotch.
Years ago I would cuss the guys catching all of the trout using little pink rubber worms with their spinning gear. Imagine the horrors! Some were drifting these weighted worms to the dark depths of the stream with little bobbers firmly attached to their line! What they were doing was unfair, un-sporting and downright redneck to the core!
We’ve come a long ways, but we still have our biases. We use “strike indicators”...just a fancy name for bobbers, and the angler without a full assortment of split shot sizes is severely limited in the number of trout he will catch. In other words, “Trout Flies” have come to mean many things. Some are made of plastic; some are made of beads; some are made from anything the imaginative angler finds at the local crafts store. And we...unlike the trout...are all the better for it.