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How to Read A Perfect Fly Hatch Chart:
Hatch Rating:The hatch rating is provided to give anglers an idea as to the availability of an insect or what the trout are most likely feeding on. It is not a rating of importance. An insect with a one * rating may be more important than anything else at a particular time of the year, month, day or hour. A ***** rating simply means there usually are a lot of the insects available. This doesn't necessarily mean that the insect is available any and everywhere on the stream. It is available only where the insect's preferred habitat exists on that stream. If the trout are feeding on an insect with a * star rating and it is the most available insects at the time, it is very important. What is important is what is hatching at the time you are there fishing.
Concentrations:On any given stream there may be hundreds of different species of aquatic insects that exist in some quantity. Some species may occur only in certain isolated areas of the stream. We are listing what we believe are the most prevalent and important hatches that anglers should be concerned with. Although the density of any hatch can vary drastically, the hatches are noted as ”dense, normal or sparse” in order that you have a better idea of what to expect.
Stream Habitat:The species we list are usually not concentrated throughout the entire stream, only in the portions of the stream that offer the proper habitat. For example, if a certain stonefly hatch is shown on a river that is thirty miles long, don’t expect to find them at the lower end of the river in pools of slow moving water unsuitable for stoneflies. Also, you should be aware that hatches could progress upstream from day to day, especially on those steams with steep declinations, so they may occur at different sections of water from day to day.
Weather Variations:Remember that seasonal weather conditions can change the dates that hatches actually occur from the predicted time periods the charts indicate. An unusually cold year may delay a hatch a week or two, in some cases, even longer. However, the sequence in which the different specie hatch will generally occur in the same order.
Preparation:Prior to fishing any given stream, you should make a list of the insects and other trout food shown on the hatch guides along with the recommended flies that imitate them for the time period you intend to fish. Make some allowances for the indicated time period, just in case. In other words, if a certain insect is shown to start hatching on March 1 and you are fishing February 26th, list it.
Pre-Hatch Importance:Do not forget that the charts show the predicted “hatch” dates. Normally, the nymph or larvae, and pupa stages of the insects are available for trout to eat well in advance to those dates. In fact, in many cases, depending on the particular species, the insects are much more important to the angler prior to the hatch than they are after the hatch occurs.