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What Trout Eat

with Ernie Gulley




One of the most important questions that anglers ask themselves and try to answer every time he or she ventures onto the water is, “What are the trout eating this very minute?”   This can be a tough question because trout often have many different food items from which to choose.  In fertile waters, the choices are almost limitless.   Chironomids, scuds, fry, leeches, damsels, snails and mayflies are just a few of the tasty morsels trout love to eat.  And each food item has different stages in its life cycle that it can be going through, e.g., egg, larva, pupa, adult or fry.  How and when do we first observe and then conduct quick and reliable research in order to choose the correct fly or flies that imitate

what the trout are eating at that moment?








 

Our November presentation will focus on this important subject. And we will see how each of these individual trout food items can be broken down, and why trout choose them. We will become familiar with many of these life cycles, the time of year they are most prominent and which food items trout in our waters love to key on most of the time.  And we’ll learn the importance of understanding how these food items actually move in the water. Most individual food items move in different ways through the water column and this is often a key when trying to mimic how to fish your fly and make it look just like the real food the trout are seeking.  We will even see short videos of many of the food items that will show how they move. 







Our guide for these very informative and valuable facets of our sport is one of our favorite presenters, SoCal’s own Ernie Gulley. Ernie has been at our club a number of times and always is popular and appreciated for his knowledge and being able to present topics in a way that invariably help us become better fly fishers. Ernie will improve our fishing by showing what foods are in large abundance during which months of the season and what are the actual choices trout have and, most important, how and why they choose to eat what, when.   

Ernie was actually born in southern California, and started fishing with his Dad as soon as he could walk. However, at age seven, Ernie and his family moved to New Orleans where he learned how to fish Lake Pontchartrain for speckled trout and other saltwater species.  Later he moved back to SoCal and began fishing Lake Crowley, Bridgeport Reservoir and many lakes in Utah, Idaho and Nevada. (Ernie currently resides in Riverside with his wife Shannon and their two children, Logan, age 13 and Aidan, age 10.) 








In 1997, Ernie’s curiosity about fly fishing began and a true love affair was born. This love affair blossomed and he never looked back.  Ernie was mentored by Bob Slamal, one of Ernie’s legends in the fly fishing industry, and he also joined many local fly fishing clubs to learn as much as he could about fly fishing.  In 2007, Ernie won the “Double Haul in the Fall” tournament at Lake Crowley, now his home waters for guiding; this is where he has won both individual and team division titles. 

Ernie is currently a professional fly fishing guide in southern California and the eastern Sierra and is known as one of the Sierra’s premier stillwater guides. Even when he is finished guiding for the day, you will find him back out on the water until sunset, always exploring, testing, observing, analyzing and putting in the extra time and effort to master his craft.  His philosophy is simple: you can always learn something new every time you are on the water.  

 




Ernie is a “Pro Ambassador” for the Hardy Fly Fishing Company and the Cortland Line Company, among others.  He takes great pride in sharing his knowledge of fly fishing and his great passion is teaching stillwater fly fishing tactics.