Fly Fishing Newsletter  





Matching the Hatch

1).  What is matching the hatch?

2).  What should I expect?

3).  When should I fish?

4).  Where should I fish?

5).  What if no hatch?



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What is matching the hatch?

Matching the hatch is a phrase used to describe the art of figuring out what type of insect the fish is feeding on and matching the insect with a fly. The end of May and June provide multiple hatches of insects for Trout to feed on. The warmer weather allows these bugs to go through a full emergence schedule from emerging to egg laying, or spinner falls. This full emergence swing allows the angler multiple hatches to fish, multiple stages of a hatch to fish, and great opportunities for a trophy Trout.




What should I expect?

Fishing starts mid-day to late afternoon and runs into dark or even later. Emergence of insects can be based on weather and water temp. Best fishing will often be from 7 pm to midnight. Most days will produce an emergence of insects followed by an egg laying stage or spinner fall close to dark. I like floating down a river because it allows the anglers multiple shots at nice fish feeding. Some fish may be feeding on one insect, while another group may be feeding on a different type of insect. The use of nymphs, emergers, dun's, and spinners all come into play at this time of the year. June will produce warmer water temps as summer temps warm the river water and the hatches will become later and later. The Hex (late June) will emerge around 10:20 pm and can have spinner falls well into the early morning hours (2:00am). On nights with an early emergence and good spinner fall, it is not uncommon to mouse the river on the way out to the access or for an hour after the hatch. Waking a mouse pattern is something you will never forget!





When should I fish? 

Given a choice, the best fishing will occur between 4:00 and 7:00 pm early in the season & 7:00 pm and 12:00 pm later in June. The days are long at this time of the year and the sun will set after 10:00 pm as we reach the end of June. The weather does not need to be hot, but does need to be warm, and the nights need to cool slowly. Night time lows should be above 50 degrees to have the best fishing. The major hatches at this time of year in northern Michigan start mid to the last part of May and build into the later part of June. It is not uncommon to find good numbers of bugs still after July 4th. Fish get caught and educated at a good rate at this time of the year, so the first come first served rule does apply.


Where should I fish?

Michigan has many great rivers and streams to fish for Trout. Some of my favorite rivers are the Manistee River (near C.C.C Bridge), Pere Marquette River below M-37 Bridge (flies only section), Muskegon River below Croton Dam, and the Au Sable River (holy water). When choosing a river to fish, ask yourself what you are looking for. Some rivers are easy to wade; others fish better with a boat. Will the river or section of river to be fished be crowded? I try to fish where good numbers of fish can be found, but where others do not influence me all day long. Talk to the local fly shops and see if anything has been hatching.

Different insects like different types of river bottom. Some Mayfies like gravel, others like marrow and silt. Talk to your local fly shop or give me a ring or e-mail and ask where these section of river bottom can be found. Fishing the hex involves finding the right area for insects and finding an area with these insects and big fish!



What if no hatch?

What if there is no hatch? What if the hatch is over or weather has put the hatch settings on off? What do I fish before the hatch? These are questions often asked by my customers and fellow fly fishermen. My reply is always the same. Fish a streamer or a nymph and cover water! If the cover of darkness has hit the river, it never hurts to wake a mouse pattern or big streamer, and this technique will work well as hatches run later into the night! Big fish love the chance at a good meal and these patterns will do the job! When I was younger, I was always told to throw a large Muddler minnow and this will often get looks by fish as well.



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