“This small crustacean is probably the most important of all organisms on which trout feed; particularly when hatches of fly larvae, pupae and terrestrials are not present.” Jack Shaw, Fly Fish the Trout Lakes, 1976.
There it is, one of those almost absolutes of fly fishing that’s plopped down before you. There is often the obligatory section in any pattern book or lake and river how to book about the Scud. But, given its prestige, it is often the fifth or sixth offering in a sequence of possible offerings…well, behind Mayfly, Caddis, Chironomids, Leeches, Stoneflies, Dragon flies, Damsels….way in the rear is the Scud with Ants, Beetles and Waterboatmen. Hmm? Not disputing the worth, just interesting.
For all the praise for Scuds, I do not fish them nearly enough. I have Scuds I tied in the late 70’s for the Crooked River…orange Scuds. I have maybe three dozen scuds, mostly grey green, some orange, some tan, and a few blue. Blue?
Yes, blue. Several years ago, I had been staying near Salmon Lake in B.C. I usually, wind permitting, fished the West end of the lake (C) where I would find plenty of size 14-16 grey-green Scuds. Up in the weeds, I would do well with Scuds as well as over in a back cove (C) (I came to call it Dead Moose Cove because of the remains there near shore). But, one evening I had to stay close to camp, so I put in at (A), a ramp and worked my way up toward (B). All along that shoreline were Bright Blue Scuds, almost electric in color. Did I have any blue Scuds? Of course not!
In the visits to follow, I had blue Scuds and they were reasonably successful in that A to B zone.
Scuds can be quite dense, akin to a Shrimp Feed at a Biloxi BBQ. They can be scattered at various depths in a lake and caught in the drift of streams. In a stream, normal nymphing techniques or Czech Nymphing are suitable. Actually, a Czech Nymph is quite suitable in smaller sizes for a Scud pattern (similar tying technique).
In lakes, the presentation is not the normal retrieve. A more jittery, nervous, fluttering movement is desired. I think, it is typical to many Mayfly and Chironomids that make that journey to the top in stages of up and down and up again movements. Not all critters make steady progress toward the surface and this same presentation would work for the Scuds.
So, one more thing to try to remember to use this Summer… “probably the most important of all organisms on which trout feed…” A Simple Scud (pics a bit fuzzy, but you will get the idea) & More info about Scuds.