Page 1


Table of Contents 00 Foreword .......................................................................... 8 Introduction.................................................................11

Chapter 1 ....................................................................22 HOW DID WE GET HERE? 25 n Brief history of hatch matching 24 n How it got overly complicated 28 n The era of the angler/entomologist 30 n Where hatch matching is today Chapter 2 ....................................................................40 ENTOMOLOGY AND THE FLY FISHER 41 n Exactly how much you need to know 45 n Why some people enjoy it 56 n A brief overview of each order of aquatic insects 60 n The amount of entomology a fly fisher really needs to know

Chapter 3 ....................................................................62 HOW TROUT FEED 63 n How water temperature affects trout 66 n Optimal foraging theory 69 n Types of feeding spots 70 n Differences in responses to hatches 72 73 73 79 82 84 86

amongst the various species n What happens during a hatch? n Why hatch times are easier n What is selectivity? n Do trout have favorite foods? n Size, shape, and color n Why selectivity is the least important factor when trout don’t take your fly n What types of things masquerade as selectivity?

Chapter 4 ....................................................................88 HOW TO FIND TROUT FEEDING ON A HATCH 89 n Seasonal progression of hatches

00 00 00 00

n How photo period and water tempera-

ture affect hatches n How to figure out what is hatching now n It’s all about location n Where trout feed on hatches depends on water flow n Reading the water for trout feeding on hatches is not always the same as reading the water for nymph or streamer fishing

Chapter 5 ................................................................ 106 STAGES OF A HATCH 00 n How long does a hatch last? 00 n How predictable are hatches? 00 n How to recognize what stage the trout are feeding on 00 n What you can and cannot tell from a rise form 00 n How to determine whether fish are rising to emergers, winged adults, or egg-laying spent adults

Chapter 6 ................................................................ 124 STRATEGIES FOR FISHING PRIOR TO A HATCH 00 n Why traditional deep nymphing fish00 00 00 00

ing tactics are usually ineffective n How to fish a shallow nymph below a strike indicator or dry dropper n Water types to concentrate on n How long before a hatch are the insects active underwater? n Swinging soft hackles

Chapter 7 ................................................................ 136 STRATEGIES FOR FISHING EMERGERS AND ADULT INSECTS 00 n Emerger/dry dropper setup 00 n Why an emerger is almost always a better bet than an adult 00 n What to do if a fish ignores your fly 00 n What to do if a fish refuses your fly— and how to identify refusals

© 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


00

n Times and places when a high-riding

adult imitation works better 00 n Times and places to actively move a dry fly

Chapter 8 ................................................................ 150 STRATEGIES FOR FISHING EGG-LAYING EVENTS 00 n Why this is the best time to catch a 00 00 00 00

very large trout on a dry fly n How to tell when it is egg-laying insects rather than emerging insects that trout are feeding on n The importance of timing and urgency in these events n Fishing drowned spinners and spent caddis after the hatch n Why this stage is the only important one for stoneflies

Chapter 9 ................................................................ 166 STALKING HATCH-FEEDING TROUT 00 n It’s seldom just about walking into the 00 00 00 00 00 00

water and promptly fishing n How to wade without spooking fish n When to approach feeding trout from upstream or downstream n The importance of where the fly and leader land n How to determine a trout’s rise rhythm. n How to tell the difference between an irregular riser and a fish that is spooked n What are the common mistakes anglers make when fishing to rising fish?

Chapter 10 ............................................................. 174 SPECIAL TACKLE AND SKILLS FOR FISHING HATCHES 00 n Why avoiding drag is the single most important aspect of fishing a hatch 00 n Curve casts and reach casts 00 n Various ways of getting slack in the line and leader

00 00 00 00 00

n What kind of rods and lines are best

for fishing hatches? n Why shorter rods are often better during hatches n What kind of rod action is best for hatches? n Knotted vs. knotless vs. braided leaders for hatches n How to modify a leader for a hatch

Chapter 11 ............................................................. 186 SPECIAL FLY PATTERNS FOR FISHING HATCHES 00 n A strategy of having fewer patterns but 00 00 00 00

more sizes is critical n But why you need a few different profiles for the most important hatches n Patterns that imitate more than one order of insects and more than one life stage of an insect n Times when you do need a very specific imitation: Hex, Green Drakes, Salmonfly, Trico n List of suggested patterns and their recipes

Chapter 12 ............................................................. 190 HOW TO CATCH BIGGER TROUT DURING HATCHES 00 n How to identify the biggest trout in a 00 00 00 00

pod of rising fish n Recognize that the biggest trout will only respond to certain hatches n Places in a stream to find the biggest trout rising to insects n Why it’s necessary to move a lot when looking for a very large trout n Why the largest trout are sometimes easier to fool than the little ones

Acknowledgments................................................. 204 Index .......................................................................... 205

© 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Š 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Entomology and the Practical Fly Fisher Š 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Š 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter 2

Entomology and the Practical Fly Fisher

I

t’s ironic that most novice fly fishers are most scared of knots and entomology. Most won’t admit a fear of knots, until you tell a fly fisherman of a year’s experience that he should probably use an improved blood knot to attach a piece of 5X tippet to a piece of 3X, or that maybe attaching his nymph with a non-slip mono loop instead of the clinch knot will give the fly more action. Then you see The Look, the same one that involuntarily betrays your emotion when the dentist tells you he has to fill a cavity on your next visit. Heck, learning a new knot even scares the old timers. Take it from me, I get The Look, too, when a guide tells me I need a Huffnagle Knot for tarpon. And entomology? Even though knowledge of entomology is not thought to be as important today in the general population of fly fishers as it was in the 1980s, there still exists a perception that to enjoy trout fishing you have to crack some books that you might not have seen since high school. It sounds like work, it sounds like drudgery, and to someone

PAGES 00–00: Del et odis aut arupti officient ped min necatum in nesci doluptas sit ab iusa vel in et quistem qui volest ma voluptatem ene sitatem vendae. OPPOSITE: Uditate omnis et volorro qui venimet ureperis nos sim undis modi aut ex et et volore platiatisto es seruptis sus dolum harume excea quamusdam. ABOVE: Todis aut arupti officient ped min necatum in nesci doluptas sit ab iusa vel in et quistem qui volest ma voluptatem ene sitatem vendae. qui tem dignime ntore, qui dendignim volorro et quaspelicta vellicipit quiderc hitibus.

e n t o mo l o g y a n d t h e p r a c t ic a l f l y f is h e r n 41 © 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


who just wants to feel the water rushing around her legs on a sparkling morning in June, out of sight and sound of civilization, the thought of learning names of insects described in a dead language has all the appeal of squirming through a two-hour High Mass in that same language. The irony is that knots are pretty easy and you only need a few, and you can really take or leave entomology in order to have fun on a trout stream, but the area most novice fly fishers, in fact most fly fishers in general are deficient in is casting prowess and line control. Fly fishing schools do a good job of teaching anglers the basics of the overhead cast and the roll cast, and when most people leave the class and get out into that real world of trying to catch fish they feel pretty good about their casting because they can put the fly 40 feet away with reasonable consistency. That’s a lot like learning to drive in a Florida parking lot and then being thrown into a Minnesota snowstorm on a winding road. Casting

and line control, and the nuances of knowing exactly how to place a reach cast to get a drag-free float at the exact position you need it, is something I can help you with a bit in a book, but casting is a lifelong learning experience and the more you do it, whether on the water fishing or practicing on a neighborhood park, the better you’ll be. Enough with the sermon, back to the bugs. How much entomology do you need to learn to be successful at fishing hatches? If you don’t care about fishing hatches and just want to throw streamers or drift nymphs, you need to know absolutely nothing. You don’t need to be able to tell a mosquito from a dragonfly. But if you like the challenge of stalking fish and trying to fool them with a carefully selected imitation, you do need a little. But less than you thought. The whole tenet of this book is a philosophy I feel very strongly about—that catching fish during a hatch only requires a reasonable or rough imitation of what they fish are eating, and

Con rae parcit eum haria sequos et magnitaqui consed ma quias molores et recea diciliquiasi audam.

42

n

the orvis gu ide to s mall s t r e a m f l y f is h in g © 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Stalking Hatch-feeding Trout

H

ectur mossi demperspit antia voloritiusam ipid ut officitae. Ita il il eveni ut mo omnimusapis aut et venderi orrorestius a doluptur eostrum, nim sae eossusa pitem. Ipsam aut eatur simus quate re nullign ihicili busdandis dolupta turendae. Dicimus. Ad qui re etur aborem faccum fugiti sediatatus, ad enis voluptur, cum quam haribeaque dolorep eriorem aceaquid quiandis rerum excescid endanti ommod mo verro estruntibea sum verument od magnat audanim et et as sum apiciet laut pero te voluptaqui aceprov itisciis miligendae rehent quam nobition este voluptas dia num re, ex et pore, essusapelis alit pressum consequ untiis Et laudia volor adignis in periorrum fugia.

n Ad qui re etur aborem faccum fugiti sediatatus precipisas verro cum ichi. n Alit volorum qui ullenditis sitae nimodi ut hil ium estrundam, quiam volupis nis culluptat ma voluptatur si restiberum duntist, optatem rem qui offictore es repero odit inihil erum rectiae eos eos exped quatum aped milique volenda ecturibust quibus dolo ipienda ndebit verovidis et maximos vellaccae. Bitatis dolupta tatias rates exerumquam la comni. n Et laudia volor adignis in periorrum

When to approach feeding trout from upstream or downstream n Ita il il eveni ut mo omnimusapis aut et venderi orrorestius a doluptur eostrum, nim sae eossusa pitem. Ipsam aut eatur simus quate re nullign ihicili busdandis dolupta turendae. Dicimus qui re etur aborem faccum fugiti sediatatus, ad enis voluptur, cum quam haribeaque dolorep eriorem.

Haria sequos et magnitaqui ma quias molores et recea diciliquiasi lapsim.

n Ipsam aut eatur simus quate re nullign ihicili busdandis dolupta turendae. n Alit volorum qui ullenditis sitae nimodi ut hil ium estrundam, quiam volupis nis culluptat ma voluptatur si restiberum duntist, optatem cupis maximil mos maximin nullabo rporporem qui offictore

Common mistakes anglers make when fishing to rising fish n Eveni ut mo omnimusapis aut et venderi orrorestius a doluptur eostrum, nim sae eossusa qui re etur aborem faccum fugiti sediatatus, ad enis voluptur, cum haribeaque dolorep eriorem. n Aut eatur simus quate re nullign ihicili busdandis dolupta turendae verinum.

Con rae parcit eum haria sequos et magnitaqui consed ma quias molores et recea diciliquiasi audam.

n Volorum qui ullenditis sitae nimodi ut hil ium estrundam, quiam volupis nis culluptat ma voluptatur si restiberum duntist, optatem cupis maximil mos maximin nullabo rporporem qui offictore orrorestius ipsum.

e n t o mo l o g y a n d t h e p r a c t ic a l f l y f is h e r n 43 Š 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Con rae parcit eum haria sequos et magnitaqui consed ma quias molores et recea diciliquiasi audam.

that about three-quarters of your success will hinge on tactics you pursue other than tying on the right fly. It’s not just how you present the fly, either. Presentation is key, probably more important than fly selection, but the ability to read water, the secrets of knowing when and where trout will respond to hatches, a basic understanding of stream hydraulics, and most of all some insight into how a trout lives and feeds throughout the day will be far more important than whether you tie on a Light Cahill, a Yellow Humpy, or a Pale Morning Dun Thorax Fly during a hatch. You hear about “imitationists” vs. “presentationists” , the former only concerned with picking the right fly while the later always fishes the same fly, not matter what the situation, and only worries about how the fly is presented. It’s as if they were different species. But in reality most people are a combination of both. Some lean more toward the imitationist school, with a dozen fly boxes at the

44

n

ready, pawing through hundreds of patterns to pick the right fly, but still striving for a drag-free float over a rising fish. Leaning toward the presentationist school, you’d fish a Parachute Adams over every rising fish, but you would spend a lot more time getting into position without spooking the fish, fiddling with your leader until it was just right, moving your position until you were in the perfect position to present the fly, and then making a precise cast. While the imitationist will change flies repeatedly until he gets a rise or spooks the fish, the presentationist might take fifty casts over the same fish, adjusting positions or trying a different type of cast, but never tying on an Elk Hair Caddis to replace that Parachute Adams. If rising fish are abundant, a presentationist will change fish instead of changing flies, while the imitationist enjoys the challenge and will continue to cast over the same fish with dozens of fly changes before giving up. Slanting toward one philosophy or the other depends a lot on how you want to play the game and your personality, but both approaches have their drawbacks as well as their appeals. Knowing when to lean toward one or another is what makes a truly canny fly fisher, the one who always seem to catch more fish or at least always returns to the cabin after dark with a Mona Lisa smile instead of tossing down a beer to drown his sorrows. The biggest drawback to being an imitationist is that by staying in one place but switching flies, you might be getting a tiny amount of drag that you don’t perceive from 50 feet away, or you might be casting enough to one side of the trout that the fish is not inclined to notice your fly. The drawback of being a presentationist is that you just plain might have the wrong fly, and trout can be carefree about what fly pattern they eat at one time and a lot more picky just an hour later, or 100 yards away in a different piece of water. The obsession with entomology, and the desire to identify aquatic insects down to the species level, still exists with some people. Noted angler/

the orvis gu ide to h a tch s t r a t e g ie s © 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


entomologist Paul Weamer was showing me around Penn’s Creek one day, and was in the process of telling me where trout usually rise in a particular pool he favored, when a big mayfly floated by and he plucked it from the water. He immediately got more excited that when he spots a 20-inch brown trout rising, because he suspected the mayfly in his palm was a species he had never identified on Penn’s Creek before—in fact it was a species he had never seen outside of an entomology book. He claimed it was Ephemera XXXX , and immediately proceeded to shore where he spent an hour observing the photographing the insect. I kept looking for those fish feeding against the far bank. Now Paul is a great angler and plays the whole game as well as anyone. But he loves to identify insects, especially mayfly species. He had never even knowingly seen a trout eat that particular mayfly, yet he said it was one of the most exciting things that had happened to him that season. You see, the entomology part of fly fishing can become an obsession within and obsession for some people, and it just adds allure to discovering new pieces of nature while spending time in delightful places. On the other hand, I studied biology in college, and even took several aquatic entomology courses— and because I grew up fly fishing during the peak of the fly-fishing entomology craze I could identify the aquatic insects better than my professor. (There were a lot of other aspects of aquatic entomology I learned in class but identifying aquatic insects by eye was not one of them.) But I don’t use my skills in keying out insects in my fishing today and haven’t looked up an insect in Aquatic Insects of California (at that time the best scientific reference on the subject) in over 30 years. Trying to identify a mayfly to species makes figuring out fall warblers seem like sticking round, rectangular, and triangular blocks of wood into the appropriate holes on a board. It can also be hopeless. There is not even any guarantee the insect you hold in your hand has ever been identified by an ento-

mologist, because there are about 900,000 species of known insects in the world, but entomologists estimate that the total number of unique species in existence today exceeds ten million. So you’re not about to try to identify bugs at streamside to species. Just how much do you need to know? What’s the bare minimum you need to fish hatches successfully, and what advantages do you get if you delve a little deeper into entomology? I’m not going to teach you how to identify insects in this book. There are many excellent fly-fishing entomology guides available today, and I’ve listed the ones I feel are most helpful in an appendix. This book can stand by itself if you don’t want to bother telling one mayfly from another, but if you decide to delve into this aspect of fly fishing for trout I’ll give you a guideline on how much you want to learn depending on your inclinations. Who knows, you might find that aquatic entomology is, to you, as exciting as catching trout, just like Paul Weamer. Insects are sure easier to catch and observe, and you can even take some home and observe them in an aquarium. People think you are strange for spending so much time catching little fish only to throw them back; you might as well go all the way and impress them with your total insanity.

Orders of Insects Orders are broad groups of insects that have similar physical characteristics, life histories, and behavior in and out of the water. I think it’s key that you at least be able to tell the different orders apart. If you look at the taxonomy of any animal, here is how it breaks down: kingdom/phylum/class/order/family/ genus/species. All insects are in the class Insecta. Most of the invertebrates trout eat are in the class Insecta, although they do also eat a number of freshwater crustaceans (class Crustacea), like sow bugs, scuds, crayfish, and Mysis shrimp. But crustaceans remain aquatic for their entire lives, so although they do “hatch” it is only when they emerge from

in t r o d u c t io n n 45 © 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


TOP: Del et odis aut arupti officient ped min necatum in nesci doluptas sit ab iusa vel in et quistem volest voluptatem ene sitatem vendae. ABOVE: Uditate omnis et volorro qui ureperis nos sim modi aut ex et et volore platiatisto es seruptis sus dolum harume excea quamusdam. OPPOSITE: Todis aut arupti officient ped min necatum in nesci doluptas sit ab iusa vel in et quistem qui volest ma voluptatem ene sitatem vendae. qui tem dignime ntore, qui dendignim volorro et vellicipit quiderc hitibus.

Š 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Š 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


eggs and then when they shed their exoskeleton when growing. You’re familiar with orders of insects. Butterflies and moths are an order. Ants, wasps, and bees are in another order. Grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids are in a third. Most adults can tell these apart, and they know that butterflies and moths don’t bite and are necessary for pollination, ants and bees and wasps can sting, and grasshoppers are a pest if you’re a farmer, benign if you’re just taking a walk in a field, and an object of desire if you’re a five-year-old. If you’re going to spend any time on a trout stream, you need to develop the same familiarity with aquatic insects. In order to keep this non-threatening, and to stress that this is a book about trout-fishing strategies, not about fishing entomology, I’m not even going to give you the scientific names of these orders. Look them up if it makes you happy.

Mayflies Mayflies are some of the most common aquatic insects in the world. You find them from just below

the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, and even in rivers that historically never had trout, like Argentina or New Zealand, you will find mayflies. It’s curious that when you fish for rising trout in the mountains of Kenya or the coastal rivers of Patagonia, the trout are an invasive species yet their prey, the mayflies, are indigenous organisms. No matter where you find mayflies, they are about the same. Colors are similar, sizes are equivalent, and their behavior is the same on English chalk streams as it is in mountain streams in British Columbia. The few times I have been lucky enough to travel to exotic trout streams in other countries, I have never found a mayfly hatch that I could not imitate with my basic North American fly selection. Mayflies have a strange life cycle. They hatch from eggs, live as larvae or naiads (we call them nymphs) for about a year, and then they hatch into a winged stage called a sub imago (we call it a dun). We call the duns “adults, but to an entomologist they are actually sub-adults because they can’t reproduce in that stage. The duns undergo one more molt a few hours after they hatch, then they return to the water to mate, lay eggs, and die. Entomolo-

Con rae parcit eum haria sequos et magnitaqui consed ma quias molores et recea diciliquiasi audam.

48

n

the orvis gu ide to h a tch s t r a t e g ie s © 2017 Universe International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Con rae parcit eum haria sequos et magnitaqui consed ma quias molores et recea diciliquiasi audam.

gists call these imagos and we call them spinners. It’s said that mayflies only live a day as a true adult, but that’s not always true. If weather conditions are not conducive to mating flights, the spinners may wait in streamside foliage for several days before returning to the water.

Mayflies are known as indicator species that signify cold, clean water, but some species are quite hardy. There are a few species of mayflies that thrive in Lake Erie and other relatively polluted, warm water lakes, and there are other species found in rivers that are too warm for trout. But for the most

in t r o d u c t io n n 49


The Orvis Guide to Hatch Strategies  

A new book from Universe. ISBN: 978-0-7893-2923-3 On sale: 3/14/17

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you