Despite the vibrant red stripe on the majority of our trout in Western Alaska, the dark mottled back of a rainbow trout provides surprisingly good camouflage – an adaptation developed to protect from predators from above.
Even in clear water, that can make them difficult to spot to the untrained eye, especially from a moving boat. Therefore, when fishing subsurface flies, many anglers prefer to use strike indicators to offer a visual cue that the fish has eaten the fly, so that they can quickly bury the hook home.
However, regardless of their attempt to remain concealed, one thing most trout can’t hide when they take a fly is the bright white color of the inside of their mouth (see photo above). Even in relatively dirty water, a quick white flash can act as a great indicator that the fish has taken your fly.. A big reason we always tell folks to fish beyond the end of their fly line, especially when using a strike indicator.
So, whether you’re bouncing nymphs, drifting flesh, or stripping streamers, if you see a flash of white in the general vicinity of your fly.. Set the hook! There’s a good chance there’s a fish on the other end. After all, as we’ve said many times before.. Hook sets are free anyhow!