Which Fly Should I Use ?

by Fly Fisherman

Several years back I pondered the problem of how to tell, from year to year during definite fishing periods, just what fly I should expect to see if a “hatch” occurred. In my study of the aquatic insects I felt that I could recognize the fly when I saw it. Having perused that data, which I could understand, outlining other fishermen’s experiences and recordings of their findings, I was told to expect, for instance, iron frauditor to appear on about May 5th to the 10th. I noted that one writer’s record indicated one period and another’s would be a different one. I guessed that John Doe’s findings were taken from a stretch of the Battenkill and Smiley T. Rout’s was from the Brute. Their being a wide dissimilarity in the quoted emergence dates I deduced that perhaps the flies, for various reasons, actually appeared at different times even under similar conditions.

I carefully kept a record of my discoveries and those “hatches” that I spotted didn’t agree at all with what was supposed to be. I fished hatches of the fly which we simulate from other published sources and discussions with fishermen over the country. It will give you an idea of just what fly you’ll find likely to work for you at the time you are fishing.
Regardless of the trust and confidence an angler has in a pet fly, it does naturally go against the grain for him to limit his fishing to its use, exclusively. Much of the pleasure derived from his stream activity is contingent upon its blind fallibility, its uncertain result, so if he restricts his angling to the use of one fly, he will necessarily forego the possible opportunity of complimenting himself on his shrewdness, demonstrated by the choice of pattern which is accepted, perhaps greedily, by the fish, following their refusal of his “best” fly.

The supposition that a fly resembling closely the form and color of the natural fly on the water, and to which the fish are rising, will be more apt to develop effectiveness than an odd counterfeit fly is logical, not only for the reason that this fly is likely to fool the trout, but it also looks right to the fisherman—it gives him a sense of confidence and that feeling is paramount to assured conquest. Faith in your lure is the greatest single ingredient toward fishing success.

Follow the guidance of honest, experienced fishermen as to your tackle, tactics and lures, if you can get them to council you. At least give their suggestions a thorough trial. Be suspicious, however, of the emphatically declared advice which is advanced too generously, such as: “You gotta use smaller flies—yep, eighteens and twenties are the only ones to use,” or “You gotta use bigger flies—big flies, big fish. Yep, tens an’ eights an’ even sixes are th’ only ones to use,” or “You won’t get no action on them Cahills, you gotta use `Sam’s Turkish Rug Specials,’ it’s th’ only bug ther’ a’takin’,” or “Can’t get no place with them long leaders—shorten it up, boy, get closter to your fish,” or “Y’gotta skitter your fly acrost ‘em. I didn’t catch none t’day—guess I didn’t try very hard, but one day last week, boy, did I haul in a mess o’fishask Joe, he saw one of ‘em.”
Keep in mind you don’t “gotta” do anything as far as your fishing is concerned. A couple of trips on the stream, using what you can sift out of this website, and seasoning it with your own good judgment, and you’ll fish rings around the characters who tell you, “You Gotta!”

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