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What's Your Favorite Insect Hatch?

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March 07, 2013

What's Your Favorite Insect Hatch?

By Kirk Deeter

A few evenings ago, a young man came up to me after a presentation I had made, and he asked: "What do you think is the best insect hatch of all, anywhere?"

I thought on that a bit, and realized the little guy had me completely stumped with a simple innocent question (as little guys are apt to do often).

I ultimately answered by saying that my favorite hatch was the one that was happening wherever I was fishing at a given time. I know, that was a cop out. I do, however, think that you obviously have to experience a hatch to appreciate it, and the more you experience one, the more you'll like it.

In other words, you might hit the "Mother's Day caddis" hatch on the Arkansas River just right, and that might blow your mind. Or you could plan to fish that hatch, and miss it by a hair, and be disappointed. Only after several springs of fishing the caddis hatch are you able to appreciate the total phenomenon.

In terms of "power bugs" the baetis has to be near the top of the list, doesn't it? You can fish blue-winged olives from coast to coast, in spring or fall, and sometimes in between. Midges comprise the bulk of any trout's diet, so they are certainly critical bugs. But I just never liked fishing tiny bugs on the surface—at least not as much as I like fishing big mayflies. Which leads me to the Hexagenia. When those things fall on the river, it is unreal. Problem is this usually happens in the middle of the night, so it's hard to actually see it happening.

Gray drakes, brown drakes or green drakes—take your pick—are hard to beat. When the drakes pop on a rainy late-July afternoon on the Roaring Fork River, for example, you'll get an appreciation for how many fish are really in the river.

But after thinking this through in more detail, I've decided that my favorite hatch of all must be Ephemerella subvaria—the Hendrickson. Granted, you won't find them west of the Driftless Area in the upper Midwest. They aren't particularly big. And they don't hatch all year. But I like the Hendrickson for how trout key on them. It's probably the ultimate "opportunity" bug. When there are naturals, if you put the right fly in the right place, and make the perfect presentation, the fish are going to eat it. We only have about a month more to wait in most places.

So what is your favorite hatch?

Comments (23)

Top Rated
All Comments
from benjaminwc wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

The Salmon Fly hatch on the South Fork of the Snake in Idaho. It's suprising, sloppy, unpredictable, exciting, nerve racking, and just a rush...a lot like my casting is that time of year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

If I had to fish one hatch everyday for the rest of my life, a'la Groundhog Day, it would be the caddis. I enjoy the explosive strikes and the fact you can see your fly and it's during daylight hours.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

For one I can count on, day, after day, after day during nice Summer time daylight hours there is nothing like the PMD's, (Ephemerella inermis) Slightly later on in the Summer they can hatch out around 10 am-noon, and then have the light colored Pale Evening Duns come out later in the day. Definitely a gentleman's hatch. BWO? Often an inclement weather hatch, and the big bugs the guy mentioned on the SF?..the giant Salmonflies as they are called. Water often extremely high, off colored, crowds of anglers, and many years they come off very poorly. I can find a riffle to myself, and fish PMD's on light tippets, and small flies. And on the SF of the Snake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rfleer87 wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Worms are the way to go to catch fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FlyDave wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Unless you actually want to use your brain.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Erik Jensen wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I live in Minneapolis and right on, Kirk ! There are several Epheremella species just east of me in WI and in SE MN in the driftless area rivers. They are commonly called here - "light Hendricksons" and "dark Hendricksons" and "sulphurs". I get the sub-species mixed up, the earlier hendrickson hatch can be fickle, fun when it's on, but a little unreliable. But the "sulphur" in mid to late may on the Kinnikinnic river and the Rush river in western WI are truly incredible. When it's on in late May, it can last most of the day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

If you go to cirrusimage.com/ephemeroptera-mayflies.htm. and scroll down to the doppler image you will see my favorite hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

correction: cirrusimage.com/ephemeroptera_mayflies.htm

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

rfleer87 must mean a San Juan worm explosion after a rainstrom. Surely he isn't referring to an angle worm for God's Sake!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Micropterus24 wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

There's something about BWOs that I really like, maybe just because blue winged olive sounds cool

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wetwade wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

when the little black stonefly hatch is good, it's tough to beat. I'm guessing a little cabin fever has something to do with it

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I once bumbled into the mid-summer "whitefly" hatch along the Susquehanna River in northcentral PA...it was fifteen minutes of insanity between the smallmouths, bats and swallows flying around. Sorta like standing in a mid-river blizzard, with everything around you trying to eat the "snowflakes". I'd love to experience it again, but haven't been able to hit the timing quite on the nose.

Another fun one was the coffinfly hatch along Penns Creek near State College, PA. I'm still trying to figure out where all of those really BIG bugs came from all of a sudden...creepy, but cool. And the trout went bananas, of course. -Bob

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I'm torn between a caddis hatch and blue wing olive hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from masterofmeander wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Hexagenia. Bigger smallmouths early in the evening, on nymphs. Smaller smallies and all sizes of cutthroats as dusk begins. Pollution's killing the hatch on my lake, but there's still a dozen days a year when the the swallows, bats, a buddy and I have a circus until the stars come out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from B Mogren wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

While there are a number of great hathches on the fly water of the upper Pere Marquette here in Michigan, my favorite is the Gray Drake (Siphlonurus quebecensis) which seem to last most June and into of July, mostly at or after dark. If you prefer daylight fishing I think BWO's and Sulphers are the best all around for early / mid summer. Of course the Hex is the most talked hatch about around these parts, but I find it too sporatic and unpredictable and many just anti-climatic...I guess the attraction is the thrill of the chase for some. While not a hatch per say, you can't never beat just plain old hoppers for all around fun and action.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

B Magren...WE had a good Gray Drake hatch on the Henry's Fork last season, and it is the spinner fall that generates the trout rises. WE have to have a high water Spring where the Drakes crawl out into backwater areas not available to trout, and then they come back to the river to lay their eggs, and die on the water. #12 parachue adams darkish bodied worked well, and 5-6Pm could be counted on consistently, but some falls were around noon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Thinking back to a rookie on the water who once told me I had just missed the Wooly Bugger Hatch...and he was serious.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charlie Nichols wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I like the Grey Fox or stenonema hatch here in WV. Great weather then, dependable hatch, and the fish abandon their desire to stay deep to rise to the Grey Fox emerges.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hutter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

My sister lived in Bellvue Iowa in the early seventys. At some point,maybe June, the Mayflies would hatch off the Mississippi at lock and dam #? There were so many that the town turned all the lights off and the only light was on the lock. In the morning the payloaders would come and scoop the bugs into dump trucks. They would be 6 inches deep on the window sills. AMAZING!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

hutter...That is the HEX hatch...HAXAGENIA LIMBATA. Happened on Lake Erie every year as well. Cars would get in wrecks sliding out of their lane on the Mayflies. And Bellevue? That is how my town growing up was spelled. Then I moved to Bellevue WA spelled the same way, and contemplated moving to Bellevue, ID, and would have if it hadn't been so expensive to live there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from goin2themountains wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Across the Rockies, in it's various regional purmutations, for me it's the stonefly hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Talked to Bob Jacklin last nite at a TU meeting that Bob put on a presention. I asked him what he thought was the reason for the decline in the big Teranarsys (salmonfly) hatch on the SF of the Snake....said he thought it was the decline in Willows along the bank.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hornd wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Hexagenia Limbata

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from FlyDave wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Unless you actually want to use your brain.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from benjaminwc wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

The Salmon Fly hatch on the South Fork of the Snake in Idaho. It's suprising, sloppy, unpredictable, exciting, nerve racking, and just a rush...a lot like my casting is that time of year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

If I had to fish one hatch everyday for the rest of my life, a'la Groundhog Day, it would be the caddis. I enjoy the explosive strikes and the fact you can see your fly and it's during daylight hours.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

rfleer87 must mean a San Juan worm explosion after a rainstrom. Surely he isn't referring to an angle worm for God's Sake!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

For one I can count on, day, after day, after day during nice Summer time daylight hours there is nothing like the PMD's, (Ephemerella inermis) Slightly later on in the Summer they can hatch out around 10 am-noon, and then have the light colored Pale Evening Duns come out later in the day. Definitely a gentleman's hatch. BWO? Often an inclement weather hatch, and the big bugs the guy mentioned on the SF?..the giant Salmonflies as they are called. Water often extremely high, off colored, crowds of anglers, and many years they come off very poorly. I can find a riffle to myself, and fish PMD's on light tippets, and small flies. And on the SF of the Snake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rfleer87 wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Worms are the way to go to catch fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Erik Jensen wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I live in Minneapolis and right on, Kirk ! There are several Epheremella species just east of me in WI and in SE MN in the driftless area rivers. They are commonly called here - "light Hendricksons" and "dark Hendricksons" and "sulphurs". I get the sub-species mixed up, the earlier hendrickson hatch can be fickle, fun when it's on, but a little unreliable. But the "sulphur" in mid to late may on the Kinnikinnic river and the Rush river in western WI are truly incredible. When it's on in late May, it can last most of the day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

If you go to cirrusimage.com/ephemeroptera-mayflies.htm. and scroll down to the doppler image you will see my favorite hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fflutterffly wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

correction: cirrusimage.com/ephemeroptera_mayflies.htm

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Micropterus24 wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

There's something about BWOs that I really like, maybe just because blue winged olive sounds cool

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wetwade wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

when the little black stonefly hatch is good, it's tough to beat. I'm guessing a little cabin fever has something to do with it

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I once bumbled into the mid-summer "whitefly" hatch along the Susquehanna River in northcentral PA...it was fifteen minutes of insanity between the smallmouths, bats and swallows flying around. Sorta like standing in a mid-river blizzard, with everything around you trying to eat the "snowflakes". I'd love to experience it again, but haven't been able to hit the timing quite on the nose.

Another fun one was the coffinfly hatch along Penns Creek near State College, PA. I'm still trying to figure out where all of those really BIG bugs came from all of a sudden...creepy, but cool. And the trout went bananas, of course. -Bob

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I'm torn between a caddis hatch and blue wing olive hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from masterofmeander wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Hexagenia. Bigger smallmouths early in the evening, on nymphs. Smaller smallies and all sizes of cutthroats as dusk begins. Pollution's killing the hatch on my lake, but there's still a dozen days a year when the the swallows, bats, a buddy and I have a circus until the stars come out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from B Mogren wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

While there are a number of great hathches on the fly water of the upper Pere Marquette here in Michigan, my favorite is the Gray Drake (Siphlonurus quebecensis) which seem to last most June and into of July, mostly at or after dark. If you prefer daylight fishing I think BWO's and Sulphers are the best all around for early / mid summer. Of course the Hex is the most talked hatch about around these parts, but I find it too sporatic and unpredictable and many just anti-climatic...I guess the attraction is the thrill of the chase for some. While not a hatch per say, you can't never beat just plain old hoppers for all around fun and action.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

B Magren...WE had a good Gray Drake hatch on the Henry's Fork last season, and it is the spinner fall that generates the trout rises. WE have to have a high water Spring where the Drakes crawl out into backwater areas not available to trout, and then they come back to the river to lay their eggs, and die on the water. #12 parachue adams darkish bodied worked well, and 5-6Pm could be counted on consistently, but some falls were around noon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Thinking back to a rookie on the water who once told me I had just missed the Wooly Bugger Hatch...and he was serious.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charlie Nichols wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I like the Grey Fox or stenonema hatch here in WV. Great weather then, dependable hatch, and the fish abandon their desire to stay deep to rise to the Grey Fox emerges.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hutter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

My sister lived in Bellvue Iowa in the early seventys. At some point,maybe June, the Mayflies would hatch off the Mississippi at lock and dam #? There were so many that the town turned all the lights off and the only light was on the lock. In the morning the payloaders would come and scoop the bugs into dump trucks. They would be 6 inches deep on the window sills. AMAZING!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

hutter...That is the HEX hatch...HAXAGENIA LIMBATA. Happened on Lake Erie every year as well. Cars would get in wrecks sliding out of their lane on the Mayflies. And Bellevue? That is how my town growing up was spelled. Then I moved to Bellevue WA spelled the same way, and contemplated moving to Bellevue, ID, and would have if it hadn't been so expensive to live there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from goin2themountains wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Across the Rockies, in it's various regional purmutations, for me it's the stonefly hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Talked to Bob Jacklin last nite at a TU meeting that Bob put on a presention. I asked him what he thought was the reason for the decline in the big Teranarsys (salmonfly) hatch on the SF of the Snake....said he thought it was the decline in Willows along the bank.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hornd wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

Hexagenia Limbata

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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