The Flush Hatch

by Fly Fisherman

A flush “hatch,” or emergence, and the dry fly enthusiast is in his heaven. Strangely, the height of the hatch is, more often than not, the least productive period. There are sometimes so many floating naturals on the water that the angler’s lure is lost in competition. The most favorable periods of the rise or hatch or emergence, is as it is getting underway and during the tapering off interval. It is true that some hatches seem to start as if on signal and terminate as abruptly. The observant fisherman, however, will have expected the emergence because he had spotted bulges and swirls in the water where the trout were feeding on active nymphs for upwards of an hour or two preceding the actual surfacing.

During the season of fly “hatches” there is hardly a spell when some aquatic flies are not emerging, even if few and far between. The fish instinctively know this and are not shocked to detect a single occasionally floating down the channels if the fly is not too much in variance with those that same instinct tells him are O.K. Also during the warmer season land flies and insects such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers, deer flies, cattle flies, house flies, blue bottle flies, mosquitoes, spiders and many others, are active and are frequently falling into, or being blown onto, the water surface. Trout are not going to completely ignore those occasional aquatic and land flies traversing their dining room so we see splashes and dimples when there is no general rise in progress. Incidentally, the fisherman should lay particular heed to those same dimples in an otherwise undisturbed surface. They could foreshadow the lair of a sizable fish.

When a working fish, or one that seems to be feeding, is observed, that’s when our dry fly angler goes into his act. This is the time to pause and plan his attack; this is the time to put into effect the best judgment he may possess in approaching his objective. Then comes the careful presentation. If his fly is a reasonable facsimile of a natural that’s in season and his approach has created no apparent disturbance, then he can be accurately judged by an impartial critic on his presentation. If the trout attacks the fly without hesitation he can mark up 100 per cent. If the trout ignores the invitation or does a disappearing act, the angler can ponder on his failure to pass the examination.

Some energetic fishermen deliberately go along the stream in search of working fish. You will see them crawl or creep to a point where they can, unobserved themselves, view the water for a space upstream. Then they retreat back to a safe distance, move further along the stream, and repeat the performance. A fisherman wallowing along the stream’s bank in constant view of the water will be able to expose many working fish, too. Fish working diligently to get away from that area as fast as their little fins can propel them.

In meadow type, open water streams, when trout are not rising, when you can observe no evidence that there are actually fish in the stream, they are in all probabilities quietly resting under or close to the bank or in shadowy haunts near rocks, overhanging bushes, ledges or logs. In this instance your first move is to carefully start bumping the bank where you can, with your fly, close to the water. Short casts in the beginning and gradually working upstream with the fly to the limit of accurate casting. The fly hits the bank and tumbles or bounces to the water almost at the water’s edge. Permit the fly to float down toward you until in safe territory before you lift it for the next cast.

If no action is forthcoming start again close to you with shorter casts and drop the fly eight or ten inches from the bank, working up-water again in successive casts to the limit of your normal fishing distance. If there’s no action, commence the procedure once more but this time place the fly two or three feet from the bank. This latter cast is likely to be effective if the overhanging bank is heavy or deeply undercut. The two previous spaced distances were protective measures performed under the supposition that the trout may have been close to the edge or actually in open water but near the bank. The two- or three-foot interval from the bank’s edge will ordinarily permit the fly to come into the vision range of the trout. If the fish is back in the dark recesses of the undercut, as they many times are, the close-to-the-bank floats would not be visible to him.

While following this potent procedure always permit the fly to complete its float back to you or past you before lifting from the water. This suggestion should apply to practically all your upstream casts no matter what type of water you are searching with your lure. There are times when the disturbance caused by the “lift” will scare your trout into fasting for hours.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: