Where Trout Feed During Hatches
Please note that anglers refer to aquatic insect hatching when they emerge from
nymphs or pupae. They actually "hatch" from eggs. When we refer to "hatch", we
are referring to the insect emerging.

Where do the trout feed during aquatic insect hatches? For example, where do
midges hatch and the trout feed on them?
Answer: In the slow moving water such as eddies, calm pockets and the slow
moving water of pools.  

Where do most mayflies hatch?
Answer: Even the clingers that live in the fast water runs and riffles move to the
slow moving water of calmer pockets and shallow water that is near banks and
behind boulders to hatch. Just about all the crawlers and swimmers move to slow
to moderately moving water to hatch.

Where do the stoneflies hatch?
Answer: They actually hatch out of the water. They move out of their fast water
habitat into slower, shallower water to crawl out of the water and hatch on the
banks and rocks.

Where do the caddisflies hatch?
Answer: All the different species move to the slow to moderately flowing water for
their pupae to emerge.

In other words, about everything that hatches does so in moderate to calm
water. That written, it is important to understand exactly where they move to calm
or moderately flowing water. Often, this slower moving water is very close to fast
water. Sometimes this is a matter of inches, not several feet. Often, the calmer
water is in pockets distributed throughout the stream within the fast water of the
stream. Sometimes it is the ends of long runs where the water slows down. If the
newly hatched insect stays on the water and does not fly away quickly, it will most
likely be caught up in the fast currents. It depends on the species hatching.

Some insects never get caught in the fast water. Examples are stonefly nymphs
that all crawl out of the water in calmer areas. Slate Drake mayflies that crawl out
of the stream in calm water to hatch. Blue Quill and Mahogany Dun mayflies
almost always hatch in calm pockets along the banks and usually never get
caught up in fast currents before they fly away. Many species of Blue-winged
Olives, Little Blue-winged Olives, Small Eastern Blue-winged Olives and Eastern
Blue-winged Olives are able to depart the water from calmer sections or
moderately moving water before getting caught up in fast water.  

Some mayflies do usually get caught up in fast water before they are able to
depart the water. Quill Gordons and March Browns hatch in calm pockets within
the fast water areas of the stream but often get caught in the fast currents prior
to departing the water. However, the facts are that most hatching aquatic
insects and egg layers do not usually get caught up in the fast currents.
When trout feed in the slow to moderately flowing sections of the streams; or
eddies, pools, the ends of runs and riffles and calm pockets that are within the
fast flowing freestone streams, they can examine the fly much closer. Given that
opportunity, if the fly is not very imitative of the natural insect and if it is
not presented in such a manner as to behave like the natural insect, the
trout will usually reject the fly.

Those just getting started should be aware that the important thing to take
from this is that the exact area, or exact place in a trout stream you place
your fly (the entire purpose of which is to imitate these insects) is very
important. The trout aren't distributed evenly throughout the stream when
feeding on insects. They are concentrated in the specific areas the insects are
easiest for them to acquire. By placing your fly only in these specific areas
these insects hatch in and the trout are looking for them, you can greatly
increase your odds of success. You won't be waisting a lot of cast and time,
fishing where there are not any fish.  

A perfect imitation (fly) of an insect is not effective unless it is presented to the
trout in the same manner they view the real thing. The fly must drift and act like
the real thing without the trout being able to become alerted or alarmed by a
tippet, fly line or leader attached to it. That is fairly easy to accomplish in fast
moving water but again, that is not usually where the trout are feeding. The
presentation and the appearance of the fly become even more critical in slow or
moderately moving water. When anglers concentrate only on the fast water of
riffles and runs, they are usually making a big mistake
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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