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Match the ... Hatch Chart

03/27/15 at 08:15 PM by Vince Puzick


One of the questions posed at CMCTU’s monthly membership meeting concerned stream reports — how often are they updated? How reliable are they?  The responses from the Angler’s staff and guides raised some interesting points — which really came down to growing as a fly fisher.


Earl Hecker shared the first insight: instead of searching out a stream report, know the hatch chart.  “You’ll grow in confidence and become more self-sufficient” as an angler.  If you know the hatch chart, you can prepare your fly box and consider your rig even before you get to the river. 


Seems like everybody and his brother has a hatch chart out there.  Our Guides, though, offered some suggestions for early spring fishing, for example, at Deckers.


SteveShotglass Baetis, RS2

Robert:  Psycho Prince

Juan:  Pennington’s Golden Stone #10, Sniper Baetis

Greg:  Flashback Pheasant Tail, Purple Haze, Pat’s Rubber Legs


Greg Blessing and Becky Leinweber added that an important piece of gear that you should own to grow in self-sufficiency and increase your skills at the river is a seine or river net.  You can seine the river to see what food sources are active.  One way to seine is to turn over rocks and kick up some the river bottom.  You’ll find out a lot this way — maybe even more than you need to know! 


Greg suggested dropping your seine in the foam — “foam is the home” — to see what bug-life is flowing in the river.  And be patient!  Leave your seine in the flow for a good five minutes to get a good collection of the bug life.  Of course, this connects to Earl’s point.  Know the hatch chart so you are prepared for bugs in all stages of their growth — from nymph to emerger to adult.  Since about 80% of a fish’s food source is sub-surface, you’ll want to get a glimpse into the underwater bug-life.  


When it comes to fly selection, Blessing adds, “size and silhouette” are at the top of the list.  Color is down lower on the list.  Fish are looking for something that looks like food — and they make that decision by the size of what is floating toward them and the shape of those tasty morsels.  “If you were to pump a fish’s stomach, you’ll find out what they eat.  Some of it is sticks that were the right size and shape.  Ahhhh fiber!”  


Want to learn more about matching the hatch and bug life?  Check out our calendar for our 201 class Introduction to Aquatic Entomology and Fly Selection — with Robert Younghanz, The Bug Guy.  The first offering of this class is Wednesday, April 8, here at the Shop.  


Other information about hatches and reports:


To check conditions statewide, see the report on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.  They do warn, though:  “Keep in mind that fishing conditions change on a constant basis. A lot can change in a week from the time this fishing conditions report is produced.“


Want to learn a little about a bug's life?  Check out this video from Bugs of the Underworld (Ralph & Lisa Cutter, DVD, 37 minutes) and features the chapter on mayflies.


Ralph & Lisa Cutter’s documentary work has appeared on National Geographic, PBS, BBC, TROUT, and at the California Academy of Sciences. This DVD showcases their extraordinary skill in underwater cinematography, and also features Stoneflies, Caddisflies, Damselflies and Mayflies.


A Mini-Glossary


Duns: Mayflies have two adult stages. They first emerge from the water as duns (scientifically known as the subimago stage). They then molt into the spinner (imago) stage, in which they mate and die. Sometimes the word "dun" is confusingly used to refer to a brownish gray color in fly tying materials.

Emergence: The transformation of a nymph or pupa into the adult winged stage of an insect. The term may refer to the emergence of an individual, or the daily or yearly event in which all individuals of a species emerge.

Spinner: There are two winged stages of adult mayflies. They emerge from the water as duns, molt on land (usually) into their fully mature stage, spinners. As spinners, they mate, lay eggs, and die.


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