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Old 06-11-2012, 10:29 AM
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Default Help with Matching Hatches

Sorry if these questions have already been answered before. I sifted through some other posts but was not able to find anything specific.

I bought a seine and I have had a little more success matching some of the nymphs but I am still lost on trying to find out what aerial bugs or dry flys are hatched, any tips on trying to match the aerial bugs? Do you guys look in specific places to find those bugs? Net them with a butterfly net or something?

Also, what do you guys do when you are not having any success with dry flies? and is there any specific way you have your line setup so you can switch back and forth between nymphing and dry flies easily?


Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys, this forum has been very helpful and I have learned a lot.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

The best advice I can give would be spend a day watching, if you can't spend a full day break it up. Take an entire morning from sun-up till noon or so and just watch. Next time go from noon till dark observing. Another thing I got in the habit of doing is checking out riverside spiderwebs. Check around with local shops too and don't be affraid to shake the streamside bushes.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:37 PM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_n View Post
Sorry if these questions have already been answered before. I sifted through some other posts but was not able to find anything specific.

I bought a seine and I have had a little more success matching some of the nymphs but I am still lost on trying to find out what aerial bugs or dry flys are hatched, any tips on trying to match the aerial bugs? Do you guys look in specific places to find those bugs? Net them with a butterfly net or something?
Check the riverside vegetation. It will hold insects that have hatched.

Seining the rocks ONLY works if you are going to fish in that location. Micro environments differ in a river and the insects you find in the riffles for example will differ from what lives in the slower sections of the river.

I have a homemade net that extends. It is an aquarium net epoxied the end of a collapsible magnet from Harbor Freight. You can catch the flying insects with it and also use it as a seine.

Click the image to open in full size.

Take the net off of its frame and make a frame that will fit into your vest pocket with a wire from a cloths hanger. Cut off the end of the magnet so the end of the coat hanger wire will fit into the tube of the collapsible magnet tube. Reverse the direction of the wire post 180 degrees so that it bends back over the opening of the net. By doing this you shorten the length of the net so that when the handle is collapsed it will be short enough to fit into a vest fly box pocket. The distal end of the handle will be over the opening of the net but it will not effect catching insects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_n View Post

Also, what do you guys do when you are not having any success with dry flies? and is there any specific way you have your line setup so you can switch back and forth between nymphing and dry flies easily?

You can rig up with a tippet ring between the basics leader section of a leader and the tippet section. That way you can switch the distal ends of the leader from a dry fly to a nymphing set up with a loop to ring connection.

Here is the method that Gary Borger uses:

Gary Borger » Blog Archive » Uni-Body to Harvey Style Leader
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

Look on the sunny side of trees and shake the vegetation as well as looking closely at it. Seeing an "adult" bug could mean you missed a hatch which isn't a bad thing, it just means you might have to fish nymphs or emergers.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

All good advice. I like your seine set-up Silver, creative and functional. Since I'm trying to carry less stuff, I have considered the kind that stretch wad up into a little pouch that attaches to your net handle and stretches over the net frame.

Honestly Chris, it takes a lot of time on the water and knowing your area hatches. Half of it is knowing what to expect. If there are bugs in the air, mayflies or caddis, then as you know, you are experiencing a hatch. Those bugs are coming out of the water and if the fish are surface feeding you should be able to observe them on the water. Look for eddies where stillborn bugs will collect and just watch the water right in front of you. Something will go by you eventually. Find the slow current and try to catch one of the little buggers.

Look for downed trees and snag over the water, they are excellent places to find bug. Either trapped in spider webs or often times you'll find a lot of insects just resting there.

Look for signs, hunters all talk about sign. Think of yourself as a trout hunter. Watch the birds. When the swallows start swooping in low over the water I know that something is starting to come off. Robins on the bank vegetation are finding stoneflies starting to move around or caddis getting ready to take flight for egg laying.

It takes a lot of time really. But you are on the right path. Observation is key. Keep it up.

And welcome to the forum!
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

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Originally Posted by dean_mt View Post

If there are bugs in the air, mayflies or caddis, then as you know, you are experiencing a hatch. Those bugs are coming out of the water and if the fish are surface feeding you should be able to observe them on the water.

I do know that Dean knows what a hatch is so this is not a correction but rather an expansion to what he wrote.

I will add to what Dean said that bugs in the air do not always mean a "hatch". A hatch usually means that is insects are coming up from the bottom and going through the process of emergence. So during an actual hatch, the fish may be feeding on nymphs, emergers and adults on the surface.

Sometimes, especially during the evening, you will see insects in the air BUT NO surface activity. You need to determine whether this is actually a hatch or more likely insects like mayflies or caddis returning to the river to mate and lay eggs. If they are actually adults that are mating, they fish cannot feed until the insects start to lay their eggs in and on the water and then fall onto the water and die.

So when you do see insects in the air, determine whether there is actually a hatch going on and this will determine the fly to use especially for mayflies. The more you learn, the more you realize there is much more you can learn. Welcome to the sport.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

Thanks for all the info guys it is much appreciated. I do have a seine and I often use it when I don't see fish rising to the surface. The issue I sometimes have is whether the fish are eating the emergers or the adult bugs hitting the surface, I often times can tell the difference in the rise (mouths or backs) but I have missed a whole feeding frenzy when I thought they were eating off the surface but apparently they were not. Any tips for this situation? I may have been fishing the emerger patterns wrong, any advice on using an emerger? Do you swing it or fish it as a dry fly?

Thanks

P.s thanks for the warm welcomes, glad to learn what I can from you guys.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:47 AM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

Thats when a softhackle pattern comes into play for me. I'll fish it on an upstream cast and then let it swing out after it passes me. For a standard emerger pattern fish it like a dry at first and if nothing happens play around, swing it or give it the Leisenring Lift. It all depends on the bug. If there's a caddis hatch popping and nothing is happening surface wise before you switch to an emerger try skaing the pattern, sometimes it draws some impressive takes. If its a mayfly hatch a nymph with a dab of floatant can be deadly.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:40 AM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_n View Post
Sorry if these questions have already been answered before. I sifted through some other posts but was not able to find anything specific.

I bought a seine and I have had a little more success matching some of the nymphs but I am still lost on trying to find out what aerial bugs or dry flys are hatched, any tips on trying to match the aerial bugs? Do you guys look in specific places to find those bugs? Net them with a butterfly net or something?

Also, what do you guys do when you are not having any success with dry flies? and is there any specific way you have your line setup so you can switch back and forth between nymphing and dry flies easily?


Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys, this forum has been very helpful and I have learned a lot.
Chris,

It seems that you are on the right track by examining what is going on ...on and in the water. Here are three great sources, for information, that will assist in accelerating the learning curve:

Amazon.com: Western Mayfly Hatches (0081127001385): Rick Hafele, Dave Hughes: Books Amazon.com: Western Mayfly Hatches (0081127001385): Rick Hafele, Dave Hughes: Books

Troutnut.com: Fly Fishing for Trout, Photo Blog & Hatch Encyclopedia

Amazon.com: Caddisflies (9780941130981): Gary LaFontaine: Books Amazon.com: Caddisflies (9780941130981): Gary LaFontaine: Books

This fly fishing "thingee" is a process and it takes time ( a lot ) to understand what will work and exactly what is going on. Learn about rise forms, masking hatches, life cycles of the insects and other aquatic residents in the waters that are to be fished...bugs are just one element in the equation...In my lifetime, I will NEVER know all of it...

PT/TB
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: Help with Matching Hatches

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_n View Post
Thanks for all the info guys it is much appreciated. I do have a seine and I often use it when I don't see fish rising to the surface. The issue I sometimes have is whether the fish are eating the emergers or the adult bugs hitting the surface, I often times can tell the difference in the rise (mouths or backs) but I have missed a whole feeding frenzy when I thought they were eating off the surface but apparently they were not. Any tips for this situation? I may have been fishing the emerger patterns wrong, any advice on using an emerger? Do you swing it or fish it as a dry fly?

Thanks

P.s thanks for the warm welcomes, glad to learn what I can from you guys.
There are 3 rules of thumb for beginners when the trout are rising but ignore your fly. Consider making these changes. The order in which you consider making these changes depends on the situation as discussed below

1. Go to an earlier state of emergence. Rational - the fish are feeding on the emergers rather than the adult.

2. Go to a smaller fly. Rational - you are being fooled by a "masking hatch". A masking hatch is when you see the larger insect of two simultaneous occurring hatches. The fish are feeding on the smaller insect, but you think they are feeding on the larger one that is easier to see. To see the smaller insect get low to the water so you can look along the water surface. Bend down along the river back and see if you can find the small insects on the water surface.

3. Go to a thinner and longer leader. Rational - the fish are refusing because of micro drag. If you see a fish coming for your fly but refusing at the last instant; or if you think the fish has taken the fly, but you are missing the strike time after time, this could be do to micro drag. You are not actually missing the take at all. The fish is refusing the fly at the last instant and you think it has taken the fly. This is called a "late refusal". It can be quite frustrating.

Read the FAQs I PM'd to you. You can read the rises to learn in what water layer the fish are feeding and then you can tell what stage of emergence the fish are feeding on.

Reading rise forms is extremely important in determining what fly to use and how to fish it. A beginning fly fisher may see the "ring of the rise" and assume that the fish is feeding on the surface, and therefore on duns. This is not always so.

When fish are feeding on nymphs under the film, you will see a head and shoulders rise. Since this will also leave a ring, it can fool you into thinking the fish are feeding on the surface duns.

You need see the snout of the fish come up before you can be sure that the fish is feeding on in or on the film. You actually need to see a fish take a dun before you can be sure that the fish is feeding on duns. If you do not, assume that the fish is taking an emerger rather than the dun.

If the fish is too far away to be certain whether it is taking a dun or emerger, always start with an emerger. If you start with a dun and the fish refuses, back up one stage and put on an emerger.

If the fish continues to refuse, you can back up another stage and use a floating nymph OR possible there is a masking hatch and you have put on the more obvious insect.

Look for a smaller insect hatch that may be masked by the larger insect that is more obvious to you. The smaller insect hatch is more prolific than the larger hatch and so the fish feed on the smaller insects because there are more of them on the water.

When fish are feeding selectively, I always look for a masking hatch before I decide to put on a fly. One clue is that there are many more rises than the number of larger insects would indicate. So if you see a lot of rises but only a few large insects on the water and in the air, look for a smaller hatch that the fish are feeding on.

The order in which you make changes depends on the situation. For example, if the fish are actually rising and refusing the fly, the most likely cause is micro drag. So if you get a refusal the most likely causes in the order of likelihood are:

A. Microdrag

B. Wrong stage of insect

C. A masking hatch.
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Last edited by silver creek; 06-13-2012 at 01:53 PM.
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