01/25/12

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Midges
2.    Little Winter Stoneflies
3.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Match The Hatch?, Not Exactly
It should also be Match "What's About To Hatch"
as well as Match "What's Not About To Hatch"

This morning I was looking through the articles I have written during the past few years thinking I
shouldn't get too repetitive. During the time I was doing just that, it occurred to me that maybe I
should be doing just the opposite of that. I doubt very many, if any, go back and read articles that
I wrote a few years ago. I also questioned myself regarding how it would even be possible not to
repeat the same things. I ended up in a confused state of mind, I guess, but this one article,
written February 13, 2009, did catch my attention. It points out the most misunderstood thing
about aquatic insect hatches.
It shouldn't be nearly as much about "what's hatching", as it
is about "what's going to hatch".

The book "Match The Hatch" changed the way many anglers go about fly fishing for trout. It
wasn't very long after its release before the "no hatch to match" book came out. That was
followed by a long list of books written using part of the same phrase in the title - matching
Eastern Hatches, Western Hatches, Colorado Hatches, etc. The "Match the Hatch" phrase stuck.
The problem with this is that anglers soon begin to think about "matching" only what's hatching.
Actually, they have always done that. They have always related how they (the angler) see flies
rather than how the trout see flies. In other words, matching what's not hatching, which is 99.9
percent of all the trout food in the water, doesn't cross the minds of anglers like it should. Since
they don't see the nymphs and larvae from the underwater world the trout see them from, they
think matching their flies to the naturals in the water isn't that important. There's two big reasons
for this.

One big reason that matching what hasn't hatched, or what's about to hatch is more important
than matching what's hatching, is because the trout get a much better look at what's below the
surface of the water than they do of what's drifting on the surface of the water. I don't want to get
off into the subject of how trout see things below and above the water, but I will say if you don't
understand how trout see objects both above and below the surface of the water, you haven't
finished the first grade of fly fishing. To put it in perspective as relates to this article, I'll put it like
this.
Trout can see your flies that are presented below the water (streamer, wet fly,
nymph and larva imitation) far better than they can your dry fly drifting on the surface of
the water.
In other words, its more important that your fly "matches the naturals" below the water
than it is those on the surface of the water.

The facts are, the entire world of fly tying and fly design is approached exactly the
opposite of that.
Fly tiers put far more concern and effort into matching their dry flies to the
naturals than they do in matching the naturals below the surface of the water.

The second big reason is that trout eat about a hundred (if not a thousand) times more aquatic
insects below the surface of the water than they do on the surface of the water.

This is the Article of 2009:
Now that I have listed the hatches that could occur soon in the streams of the park, I will mention a very
important, often overlooked thing about a hatch chart. It doesn't just show what is hatching at any one given date,
it also shows what is about to hatch. Here's the importance of that.

When an aquatic insect is getting ready to hatch, most all of them change locations from those they normally
reside in. They also change their normal behavior. They come out from their normal hiding places and become
much more available for the trout to eat. Some of them move to a different area of the stream and a different type
of water even though it may be only a very short distance. The period of time they are in this transitional situation
varies greatly depending on the species of insect and the changes in the weather during the hatch. I generally
use a very rough rule of thumb of about a week or two. It's often much less than that and sometimes much longer.

Whenever nymphs or larvae come out of their normal hiding places to hatch, the trout know. They key in on the
easy to acquire food.

By the way, when I mention larvae in this older article, I am referring to caddisflies and midges. In "fly shop"
terminology, nymphs include larvae. It should be right the other way around. All nymphs are larvae but not all
larvae are nymphs.

Without going into detail here, just be reminded these insects will undergo another stage of life, the pupa stage,
before hatching into an adult fly. During the time this change is occurring they are very available for the trout.
Midges come out of their burrows. Cased caddis larvae come out of their cases. Net spinning caddisflies pupate.

To simplify this even further, just let me say that within a short time (a week or two) before an insect is going to
hatch, they become more available for the trout to eat than any other time in their life. The trout are well aware of
that and key in it. You should too.

You are always better off imitating an insect that is about to hatch than those that may not be getting ready to
hatch and are still in their normal stream habitat. Mayfly Clinger nymphs are under the rocks. Crawler nymphs
are down between rocks and are hidden as well as they can hide. Swimmer nymphs are hidden in cover like
minnows tend to hide. Burrowers are in their burrowers.

Now that I have explained why it's important to know what's about to hatch at a later date, let me point out that it
may be even more important to have flies that imitate these insects in their larva and pupa stages of life as it is
the newly hatched adult caddisflies, stoneflies and midges, and mayfly duns.

I will make the point very clear. If you're going to fish a nymph, fish a nymph that imitates an insect that's about to
hatch. The same thing applies to larva imitations. This will result in one thing. You will catch more trout.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh