What constitutes a hatch? Yes, those of us blessed with amazing trout water and uncountable aquatic bugs are spoiled with more bugs than they can handle in a given day. But the more we fly fish, the more we realize that your typical mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies aren't all that a fish eats.
Being headquartered in the Western Pennsylvania area I'm stuck in a state that has AMAZING fly fishing opportunities, but cursed that I'm in one of the few counties in the whole state without a stream that holds a population of wild trout. I know, pity party. I know many of you across the country are in the same boat. You either travel, or just make due with stocked fish and love sticking some warm water species. Well even if you are blessed with some great bug activity around, sometimes thinking outside the normal box will yield some opportunities that may surprise you.
Fish eat more than just the typical aquatic invertebrates. Lets talk about a few of them.
I've been waiting for 2019 for years! This is the year of the 17 year cicada brood in my area. While most of my neighbors are cringing when I bring it up because of the massive amount of large bugs that will be haunting them while being outside, I am anxiously awaiting the biblical plague. These cicadas aren't your normal dog day of summer cicadas. They come out earlier in the year, are orange and black rather than green, and hatch by the millions. They are clumsy flyers and happen to fall into the water and cause a massive disturbance fairly often. I'm pretty much drooling right now thinking about it. Now these "hatches" come in 17 year cycles and happen all over the country. For more information on cicadas check out this website with info on the bug itself, brood charts and maps and so much more!
Check out our cicada pattern HERE.
Now this bug is an invasive species that was introduced years ago. Many efforts have been taken to eradicate them but their presence is easily found with their nests/tents they make in trees. The caterpillar form is most sought after by fly fishermen. Early on they are green and later a white or brown/black. They fall out of the nest often and a green weenie or even a floating caterpillar pattern can be killer under the nests.
Each area, with a little bit of research, can probably yield one or a few of these not so common hatches. Yes we are all familiar with the grasshoppers, ants, beetles, worms, etc, but if you look around you may find an opportunity for a food source for fish that happens every so often, or just in certain areas. Even things like frogs/mice can be cyclical so if you catch it right you may have a blast taking advantage of a not so common occurrence that the fish are gorging themselves on.
Share with us your story in the comments of an incident where you were caught by surprise by a food source that caught tons of fish with!
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Written probably with grammar and spelling issues by:
President/CEO of Risen Fly