Looking to improve your fly fishing? Match the hatch

I have spent many years teaching and guiding and it never failed to amaze me when talking to experienced fly fishers, with many years of fishing behind them, how little some of them knew about matching the hatch.

This means they guessed what fly to fish during the hatch, and they conveniently caught a fish just on dark and thought they had got it right. 

One of the important things to be aware of just on dark is that the colour has gone but shape and size still lets the fish pick the correct thing to eat. Therefore in the light of day - colour is very important.

Some fly fishers believe shape and size are the same thing. This is wrong.  A Mayfly on the surface has a totally different profile to a Caddis sitting on the water. However, there are two insects that do look alike on the water – Caddis and Stonefly.

An awareness of all insect shapes and size is important so as to match the hatch. "A trout will eat any size insect coming down the river because he is hungry," – good luck with that plan!

Have you ever had a fish come up to your fly and look like he is going to eat it or gives the fly a nudge with tip of his nose only to reject it? This is a classic event of the wrong size fly. In this case the fish was watching your fly coming towards him. He checked the colour which was OK, then he checked the shape OK too.
These two things made him come up to your fly, but the size was wrong. Your fly was refused. Too big or too small. In my experience your fly was most probably too big and therefore not matching the hatch.

Choosing the right colour fly on dusk is key for successful fly fishing.

Know your insect shapes and sizes, match the hatch - with a midge size 20.

Know your insect shapes and sizes when fly fishing
Consider the insect profile when sitting on the water.