Friday, May 2, 2014

Masking the Hatch

Large insects are "Masking the Hatch."

A complexity arises when numerous insects are hatching simultaneously and more than one insect is available to the fish. For example, there could be still-born nymphs, emergers, duns, caddisfly pupae or caddisfly adults rising at the same time. Since each insect may differ in size, shape and color, it's tough to know what they are feeding on. Often anglers try to match the most obvious insects in the hatch, but in reality, the fish are feeding on something else. This problem is referred to as Masking the Hatch."

The natural tendency is to key on the larger insects, since they are easier to see. Some anglers believe that larger insects will attract larger fish, but this can be a mistake. Many times the less prominent, more diminutive insects are more abundant, and larger fish will readily take them.

One method to unmask the hatch is to use dropper setups. You can tie on a March Brown on the point fly and a Blue Wing Olive on the dropper to see which fly the fish take. You might also use a kick net to see what stages are present and most plentiful. In many instances, the fish are taking the smaller insects, and the larger insects are masking the hatch. If you take time to analyze this challenging and often perplexing event, positive solutions will result.

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