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Common Sense to Mayfly Hatches

Published by Dave Kile [davekile] on 03/19/2009 (3977 reads)
by Woody Banks

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Fly selection can be most complex for the fly fisher during an insect hatch. During a hatch the fish feed selectively on the most abundant insect form in or on the water. To be armed with the perfect imitation, in size, form, and color, for each phase of every hatch he may encounter, the fly fisherman would need hundreds of fly patterns in dozens of sizes. One current catalog lists forty-six patterns in five sizes to imitate the phases of one mayfly's life cycle.

Mayfly color can vary considerably, even during the same hatch on the same riffle. Under different light and water conditions, a fly can take a variety of manifestations to the trout. Flies appear differently to fish on cloudy days,on bright days, under the direct light at noon, and in the low angle light of morning and evening. Fish perceive flies differently on riffles than on smooth slicks. Murky water following a rain will alter the trouts view of a fly.

During a period of selective feeding one of four primary characteristics; size, shape, color, and behavior, stimulates the fish to investigate your fly. While one trait draws the trout to investigate, the others need to be present if your fly is going to consistently draw strikes. When fish are taking naturals all around you, yet seemingly ignoring your fly, there is something wrong with your fly or presentation.

You could carry an imitation for each phase of every hatch. Your fly box could be stocked with hackled flies, no hackle flies, parachute hackleflies, comparaduns, sparkle duns, emergers, cripple patterns, quill body flies, dubbed body flies, sparkle spinners, hen spinners,.......You could also fish the entire season with a hare's ear and an Adams.

Probably the best approach in terms of dollars and common sense is a middle of the road one. For each hatch you want to carry an appropriate nymph that, in most cases, could also be dressed with floatant and fished as an emerger. You will want standard hackle flies for rippled water, parachutes or comparaduns when you need to show a body silhouette of the fly, and an appropriate spinner pattern.

Often when you cast to a rising trout,the fish will move to investigate the fly only to turn away at the last instant. If this behavior continues for several casts try the following sequence: (1) change to the next size smaller of the same fly, (2) try a pattern that presents a different silhouette, (3) try a different shade or color, (4) switch to a different stage of the same insect, (5) make sure your tippet is appropriate for the size fly you are using (hook size divided by 3 = X number), (6) try a different casting position, (7) move on and look for a fish that wants to get caught.

Please contact Woody at the Indiana Angler (724) 463-2011.

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