Understanding the Hatch for Fly Fishing Success

Understanding the Hatch for Fly Fishing Success

1972-Deckers/Cheesman-Cranefly Larva

Before I set out to fish the Colorado waters around Denver, whether it is on the South Platte, Clear Creek, Boulder Creek or further afield, I always check in with my favorite fly fishing shop, Minturn Anglers, to find out about current hatches and stream conditions. Over the years, I have found their information just about essential to a successful fly fishing venture. Besides, it gives me a chance to stock up on the newest and best flies.

When I am on the water, I must admit that sometimes I choose a fly simply because that particular kind worked for me last year. Most often, however, I try to match my fly to the hatch that is active on the water right now. This means taking the time to study the water before me and the insects active on the surface. I watch the feeding activity of the trout, and then select a pattern to match.

You’ll want to identify the insects that are present where you are fishing so you can imitate their habits to attract the trout. Mayfly hatches often cause a frenzy of trout feeding activity in the stream. On other rivers, it is the caddisfly that is the trout feeding favorite. Using flies that simulate midges are popular with anglers working placid and fertile stillwaters and spring creeks.

Sometimes I remember there are very successful fly fishermen and women who insist that the proper presentation of the fly is more important that choosing the “right” fly. These anglers tend to use only a few favorite patterns, perhaps a black beetle dry fly. While trying to match the hatch is my favorite approach, sometimes it just isn’t practical. When the trout start thumbing their noses at my offerings, I change tactics to tempt trophy trout to play my game.

However, whatever rationale is used in choosing the fly used, the sign of success is that familiar tug on the line!


It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Justin Nolan

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