The Power of Observation and the Hatch

4 October 2005 By Dan Bachman • Day-Spent-Fishing • Comments (0)

Last week I had a stellar day on the Owyhee River. The weather was overcast, raining on an off and cool. Perfect conditions for a Baetis hatch that was in full bloom when I arrived at the river around 5:00 PM and lasted until dark. It appeared at first that the fish were taking dries off the surface, but when I couldn’t get a single bite on a BWO dun I switched over to a BWO CDC Biot Emerger Pattern. Over the next hour and a half not a single fish rejected the emerger when I presented it properly in the feeding lane.

Three days later I went back to fish the same spot. The weather was nearly identical and it was the same time of day. I assumed that with nearly the same conditions that fish would be feeding on the same baetis emergers. The fish were even more active on this day. The water was literally boiling. I tied on the same emerger pattern as my earlier trip and wasted nearly an hour without a single strike. It was as this point that I decided that my assumptions were incorrect. I pulled my line in and sat on the bank studying the water for nearly 15 minutes. I soon noticed the tell-tale bubble left behind after a fish took in a fly from the surface. Fish were were feeding on duns this time and not emergers. What was even more suprising was that they weren’t feeding on baetis either. I pulled a couple duns off the water that drifted near and what I had thought to be a baetis hatch turned out to be a PMD Hatch.

I tied on a PMD thorax pattern and I was back to taking candy from a baby. I hooked 9 fish in 30 minutes and landed 6 of them. All of them were brown trout from 18-22 inches long.

So lesson learned-never assume-always observe.

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