There are several possible high lake food forms that I have not mentioned because they are low priority food items that neither the angler or the fish are likely to come in contact with on a steady basis on the high lakes, which would include leaches, dragonflies, crayfish and forage fish.

Leaches: I have never seen a leach in a high mountain lake, not in the Sierra, the Rockies or the Cascaids. But that does not necessarily mean that they do not live in some high mountain lakes. For those of you who are interested in leaches as trout food form items, here are two links with information on leaches: and

Dragonflies: Dragon flies come in two families, the jet propelled darners - which live in weed beds, and the Red Shoulders - which have to have mud bottom lake beds to live in, so neither is a frequent dweller of glacially formed high mountain lakes. But there are exceptions in high mountain lakes just as there are exceptions with almost everything else in life, so here is a link to information on dragonflies for those of you who would like to know more about them:

Crayfish: I have also never seen a crayfish in a high mountain lake, but that does not mean that no crayfish live in the high lakes. Appropriate colored Wooly Bugger patterns, given the proper retrieves and fished where crayfish could be expected to be found in a lake (or stream for that matter) will take high lake trout, I know for a fact. I have caught a lot of golden trout on orange and brown WB patterns over the years, so I never leave home with out a few WB patterns in my fly box.

Forage Fish: About the only forage fish present in high mountain lakes are the young of the spawning trout that live in those lakes. And many high mountain lakes lack adequate spawning habitat to allow their trout to spawn, so in many lakes the trout do not even have the young of their kind to feed on. Consequently, forage fish imitations and streamers are not especially effective fly patterns to fish in these environments, although they will produce fish for you at times and are good prospecting patterns. Not so much for the actual catching of fish, but more for teasing out the bigger fish so you can see that there are, in fact, good sized fish in a lake to be caught. And once you have located those better sized fish, more food form specific imitations will generally prove to be more effective in catching them than the streamer patterns will be.

Tenkara Friendly Wooly Bugger Patterns: To a large extent all of the above food forms can be effectively be imitated with one fly pattern in a range of colors - the Wooly Bugger. The problem with commercially tied WB patterns is that they are not very Tenkara friendly fly patterns to cast and fish on Tenkara tackle. The smallest size of WB patterns generally sold is a size 10. And the Tail is usually as long as the hook shank is long, making for a pretty big and wind resistant fly pattern for us to cast on Tenkara tackle. Weighted WB patterns, whether weighted in the body or through the use of metal bead heads, makes the casting problems even worse for Tenkara fly fishermen. So I have recently tried to develop a Tenkara Friendly series of Wooly Bugger fly patterns that will make Tenkara anglers casting and fishing lives a little easier, and still catch fish with all the fish catching abilities that the Wooly Bugger Pattern has had in the past, which is considerable in my experience. One source on WB pattern information I read said that the Wooly Bugger is the most effective fly pattern that has ever been invented. I have a little more work to do on the Tenkara Friendly Wooly Bugger patterns before I can release them but, release them I will. I will eventually post a picture of the patterns in daylight and in Black Light lit conditions, along with a tying material listing for each pattern, as well as detailed, step by step, fly tying instructions for all of them in the not too distant future....Golden.