This is always a great question for us fly anglers. It gives us a place to start when we are trying to figure out what the trout are feeding on at any given time. And those that take note of what is in their stream can usually figure out how to gain an advantage in the game that is played between angler and fish.
Matching the hatch is what we call it. But it isn’t always as easy as it seems. Many times we may see a hatch going on and concentrate solely on that one big event, and miss out on the finer details. Maybe those details are found in a small black spent winged caddis that you didn’t see floating down stream, and the trout are taking full advantage of an easy meal. Or maybe the details lie within the emergence of a smaller mayfly that is just starting to make its way to the surface, or perhaps, a small midge pupa that is drifting just off the bottom. And those that take the time to notice those finer details while on the stream will be rewarded with some great fishing.
So what happens when the fishing has been less than good due to excessive amounts of rain, with few bugs on the water, and high water that makes it difficult to even see what is going on below the surface? Well….you take some stream samples! At least that we have been doing out here in WNY. Sure we have caught some fish, but it has been a challenge. We have already missed this year’s Hendrickson hatch due to poor conditions and it does not look good for the rest of this month either. So we have been breaking out the nets and doing lots of kick samples.
Our sampling of one of our favorite inland WNY trout streams has revealed a great deal. First – it has made it clear to us that the hendricksons are truly over with for the season, as we have found very few nymphs when just 3 or 4 weeks ago, they were everywhere. Second – it has given us an opportunity to get some great photos of the next round of mayflies and other aquatic creatures that we have not been able to get before. This will mean more time at the bench, but it will all be worth it in the end. And third – We have taken notice of certain spots and patterns that we should fish more often in higher water conditions.
But before we can take advantage of all this research we have gained from our recent time on the stream, we need it to stop raining. Once again we are under a flood watch in WNY, and the forecast is calling for rain the rest of this week. Perhaps this would be a good time to do some work at the bench.
So check out all the photos – I hope they can inspire you all to tie some new patterns, as they have for me!