A fly and two sedge pupae.

How-to tip: match the hatch

Jargon is one of the worst barriers to communication, as seen in simple ideas and actions that describe unique characteristics of a relatively simple activity: in this case, fly fishing.

As an example, “match the hatch” refers to the efforts of fly fishers to imitate with their artificial flies, the shape, colour and size of the insects they are copying so that trout or other fish will bite their hooks.

The photograph is of two sedge pupae taken from the intestinal track of a trout and the fly hook that was tied to match the hatch. The insects were encased in a tube-like protection case that fell off after I had saved them in a small bottle of water.

The colour of their cases was the same as the fly, but had small reflective particles imbedded in them that gave the case a sparkle effect. The fly in the picture is a near replica of the real insect in the case. The sedge pupae crawls around the bottom of the lake or pond and is easy to catch from a trout perspective.

When you take up fly fishing you commit yourself to mimicking  the insects that the fish are feeding upon.

Casting a fly is one of the most common methods of fly fishing, however for beginners and children there is a simple way to catch fish on a fly – namely trolling the fly on a fishing line.

This particular insect lives on the bottom of the lake, therefore it is important to get your fly in the general area where it lives. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to slowly row over a weedy area with a wet line acting as the weight to get your fly down into the feeding zone. The depth of the water can vary from 10 to 20 feet. On the matter of jargon, a wet-line is simply a line that sinks. There are several types of sinking lines varying from slow to fast sinking varieties.

One of the most common questions I get on fly fishing is “Which is the most productive – dry line or wet-line fly fishing?” There is no clearly definitive answer to this question because it has much to do with time of the year, lake, river or ocean conditions where the fly fishing is being practised.

I would however suggest that at this season of the year on still-water lakes, wet-line fishing is much more productive than dry-line fishing.

The reason for this is simply that most insects are still in their pupal or nymph stage of development and are moving around near the bottom  of the lake.

Another important aspect to consider is the amount of time insects are on the surface emerging or swimming around and how much time they spend crawling around the bottom of the lake feeding.

For example, dragonfly nymphs spend up to three years in the nymph stage and a few minutes on the surface when they crawl out to emerge as an adult on a plant near the water’s edge.

Sedges spend at least a year in the pupal stage and just brief minutes when they emerge to swim on the surface before they take flight. The simple fact is that if the fish is feeding on insects that have lived for years under the surface that is where the trout will do most of their feeding at this time of the year. More to come in a future column.

 

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.

 

 

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