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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:26 pm • # 1 
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After several days of rain it sure was nice to feel the sun on my face. Made the rounds with a 3 wt at a local lake although I didn’t really expect much due to a passing front and dropping temperatures. Nevertheless, quite a few ‘gills willing to play albeit mostly on the diminutive side so I put on the weedless mop fly and started combing. Occasional slabs here and there…
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Some bass interspersed with them, mostly hovering around this size…
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Impressive hatch went off on a little sidewater toward evening and (of course) in typical Indiana fashion the resident fish seemed largely oblivious to it.
Save for a few small sunfish here and there, the Mayflies pretty much went about their business unharrassed by any aquatic creatures.
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Nice way to wrap-up a day, though. Especially in the setting sun, any hatch event has a certain charm to it and it’s one of the coolest things to just loaf around on the bank and watch it all happen regardless of the lacking fish response. Mays always remind me of little golden fairies zoomin’ around when the light hits ‘em just right, probably cuz I watched too many cartoons and strange sci-fi/fantasy movies as a child.
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Fulfilling day well spent on the water. I’m going to settle for now on Maccaffertium and let the more entomologically inclined troutsmen of the forum nail it down further if they elect to do so. Mayfly stages tend to baffle me on ID as they are more a joyous surprise to encounter than any type of angling strategy around my parts. Occurred to me on the drive home that in a lifetime of flyfishing and tying, I don’t think I’ve ever tied and fished with an adult mayfly pattern of any type. Never felt I needed one, either. If warmwater fish are responding to a “big bug” hatch at the surface, they seem willing to hit just about anything I’ve ever plopped-in with wild abandon. Ants and beetles can be a bit different game, but I’ve never encountered any perceptible selectivity with the big three (may/cad/stone).

I need to tie and catch at least one fish on a (intentional) adult mayfly pattern before I die. This is my new goal.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:14 am • # 2 
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:applause A day well spent, and nicely documented!
brent


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:48 am • # 3 
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Great report!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:32 am • # 4 
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You can be sure that the fish were gorging themselves on the mayflies as they were rising up towards the top.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 11:33 am • # 5 
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Thanks, gents.
Cliff Hilbert wrote:
You can be sure that the fish were gorging themselves on the mayflies as they were rising up towards the top.

A certainly in many waters I fish in. Also the reason so much of my flyfishing is subsurface oriented, often with finesse suspension/indicating techniques and minuscule offerings. I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that the seeming irrelevance of many thick (airborne) hatch/emergence events is simply the closing chapter in a what was a long and efficient foraging melee underwater. Nymph and streamer guy to my core in stillwater most of the time unless topwater opportunities beckon.

Realistically, in waters 5’-30’ deep these fish can get their bellies full on the upward travel of bugs underwater well before anyone has dry wings and aerial ability. There’s exceptions like Hex and White Mayflies, but the vertical is a huge opportunity zone in stillwater and many of the lakes have great water clarity so rarely does anything goes unnoticed. Remarkable so many bugs can make it to the surface, then again who knows how many it started with.

Add to the above that so many of my haunts are high production midge waters and lack of hatch enthusiasm at the surface becomes even less surprising. They’re basically vast production facilities for the tiny, mini-sausage fly larvae and warmwater species are extremely good at capitalizing on this buffet. Sometimes even the crappie get the “no bigger than size 18-16 nymph” kinda picky and it’s very hard to keep larger one’s fish pinned on hooks that size.

I suspect this is actually the case with many waters when we think the fish just ain’t bitin’. With plentiful food, they can afford to be more lazy and selective in their foraging approach than we give ‘em credit for.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 2:53 pm • # 6 
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For many years I've encouraged flyfishers to use beadheads, wet flies, etc. to fish for bream and most other freshwater species because about 95% of their diet is underwater larvae, leeches, minnows, etc. Very few times do we see fish actually feeding on insects on the top of the water. But many people love to use dry flies, poppers, etc. because they like to see the fish hit their flies. My personal best largemouths, 9# & 7-15#, have come on Peck's #1 Poppers which look like nothing the bass have ever seen before, the bass are reacting to movement on the top. But 95% of my fish are caught underwater.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:40 am • # 7 
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knotjoe wrote:
. I need to tie and catch at least one fish on a (intentional) adult mayfly pattern before I die. This is my new goal.


After thoroughly performing my entomological research I can categorically state that what you have there is the sub-species correctly referred to as a "white bug". Seriously though, a good fly to fish in such a situation may be the Light Cahill, either as a dry or as a wet fly during the spinner fall.

I grew up and started fly fishing in southwest Michigan (Cass and Berrien Counties), not far from where you fish. In the streams there were often Brown Drake and Hex hatches, and in the lakes there were some great Hex hatches. So Hex nymph imitations were often a good bet for lake fishing for all species of fish. But you already knew that.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2021 5:02 pm • # 8 
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Enjoyable thread and good report. I like the picture of the hatch and all those follow on comments about hatches; I am very curious about this subject of hatches.
I have only seen one hatch and that was in a small lake in Kansas; no idea what was hatching but the Bluegills readily hit my small poppers along with the hatching insects. I am curious why in all the time fishing I have only seen one hatch. Aside from my two summers in Kansas, all my fly fishing has been in Virginia (SmallMouth streams), Georgia(marshes), North Carolina(Pamlico sound feeder streams) and North Central Texas (Trinity river basin). And again, the only visible hatch in that one location in Kansas.
I would appreciate any comments.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:24 pm • # 9 
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PampasPete wrote:
After thoroughly performing my entomological research I can categorically state that what you have there is the sub-species correctly referred to as a "white bug". Seriously though, a good fly to fish in such a situation may be the Light Cahill, either as a dry or as a wet fly during the spinner fall.

:lol :lol
Indeed, Pete! I know exactly where you’re coming from. Seems so simple until one tries to pin it down and then we realize the true nature of “splitting hairs” on matters of speciation. But hey, we both did better than Gooogle when I tried (for my first time) to actually use their image match feature and dropped the finger photo in. Here’s what they thought…
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Although I’m still not sure if they’re accusing me or the mayfly of parasitism I did get a chuckle out of it. As I recall, some demographic groups had big issues recently with what machines and software may interpret an image to represent. Amused as I was by all of it, I have now come to completely appreciate how and why we fly anglers have such broadly functional nomenclature to described these hatches. The Light Cahill description is a both easy and functional ID solution for the fishing end of it. Did find a cool link to the historical and we definitely understand a fella like Daniel C and his good deed…

http://english-fly-fishing-flies.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/dry-lightcahill.html

On the matter of large bugs and positive hatch response by the fish, I definitely know what you mean about the experience. There have been some memorable evenings on the local gravel pits for Hexies and anyone who’s ever been on a smallmouth creek during the White Mayfly hatch (aka The Evening Blizzard) never forgets. One of the rare fishing events where catching carp, channel cats, and drum on poppers isn’t at all unexpected or surprising on a smallie excursion. Ironically, this is one of the reasons I’ve never actually tried the true “trout fly” hackle versions of any of these bugs. While they certainly work (some do use them), I cannot see them floating well for long with the level of abuse they get in a condensed time period. Effective, yet seem like they’d be very high maintenance thus I always lean toward a small popper for durability and visibilty in low light.

Still, I’m gonna tie a few real hatch flies…just because. Even for me, it's hard not to appreciate the perfect across-the-board utility of the Light Cahill and it's worth having a few just to make me feel smart and well prepared. (inevitably, first fish'll be a rowdy gar cuz it's me finally trying to do this >:( )


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:33 pm • # 10 
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JimRed wrote:
I am curious why in all the time fishing I have only seen one hatch. Aside from my two summers in Kansas, all my fly fishing has been in Virginia (SmallMouth streams), Georgia(marshes), North Carolina(Pamlico sound feeder streams) and North Central Texas (Trinity river basin). And again, the only visible hatch in that one location in Kansas.
I would appreciate any comments.

Jim, I’m betting you’ve been around many hatches on the water just not aware of what they were. Most are pretty subtle and, as in my experience, the fish don’t always seem all that moved by the event once they take to the air. To be perfectly honest, the main reason I notice these things so often is that I’m a birder/bugger/critter of all kinds enthusiast and always looking at things regardless of whether it’s germane to the fishing. Just compelling to me and a natural part of the my outdoor experience. One could say I don't fish with a laser focus or "one-pointed mind" and they'd be darn correct as I'm willingly distracted by just about every living thing out there. :)

If you start looking for them, you’ll notice there's almost always a hatch of something coming off. Even in Indiana during the dead of winter, the Little Black Stonefly constantly proves it can navigate my door and window crevices as well as any insect and hang out in my kitchen. Granted, I live near a creek, but you’ve likely experienced these and other typical “flyfishing” bugs more often than you would believe and often in times and places you don't expect. Edge of Altoids can for scale on my kitchen visitors…
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Look around a bit and try to ID the bugs you see while fishing and soon you’ll realize the actual frequency of this phenomenon. Not as big and bold as the Western River hatches in flylore, yet almost ever-present near water. You'll also probably notice them in many other places when not fishing.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:17 am • # 11 
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Knotjoe: Good post, buddy. Always nice to hear from another member of the perennially distracted. (A great way to really notice insect hatches is to motorcycle along stream valleys on warm summer evenings with an open-faced helmet.)
brent


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:41 am • # 12 
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knotjoe wrote:
JimRed wrote:
I am curious why in all the time fishing I have only seen one hatch. Aside from my two summers in Kansas, all my fly fishing has been in Virginia (SmallMouth streams), Georgia(marshes), North Carolina(Pamlico sound feeder streams) and North Central Texas (Trinity river basin). And again, the only visible hatch in that one location in Kansas.
I would appreciate any comments.

Jim, I’m betting you’ve been around many hatches on the water just not aware of what they were. Most are pretty subtle and, as in my experience, the fish don’t always seem all that moved by the event once they take to the air. To be perfectly honest, the main reason I notice these things so often is that I’m a birder/bugger/critter of all kinds enthusiast and always looking at things regardless of whether it’s germane to the fishing. Just compelling to me and a natural part of the my outdoor experience. One could say I don't fish with a laser focus or "one-pointed mind" and they'd be darn correct as I'm willingly distracted by just about every living thing out there. :)

If you start looking for them, you’ll notice there's almost always a hatch of something coming off. Even in Indiana during the dead of winter, the Little Black Stonefly constantly proves it can navigate my door and window crevices as well as any insect and hang out in my kitchen. Granted, I live near a creek, but you’ve likely experienced these and other typical “flyfishing” bugs more often than you would believe and often in times and places you don't expect. Edge of Altoids can for scale on my kitchen visitors…
Image
Look around a bit and try to ID the bugs you see while fishing and soon you’ll realize the actual frequency of this phenomenon. Not as big and bold as the Western River hatches in flylore, yet almost ever-present near water. You'll also probably notice them in many other places when not fishing.

Thanks for the response Knotjoe. Very interesting. I certainly will follow your advice and be observant; maybe there is literature on aquatic insect life in my North Texas area I can resource to help identify these things.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:39 am • # 13 
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Jim, pay attention to the windshield on your vehicle when you cross bridges over lakes, i.e., Lavon, Hubbard, Lewisville, etc., and many times you'll see the increased number of bugs on your windshield. That will usually mean there is an hatch going on.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2021 9:40 pm • # 14 
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Thanks Cliff, very interesting and makes sense.


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