data, data, data-boy   1 comment

Hidy Ho Fine Neighbors,

Hope all has been going swimmingly for all of you folks.  I’ve been staying busy, writing, speaking, picture taking, film-making, tying, and running my pheasant dogs.  Things are good.

As I mentioned, I’ve been doing a fair amount of speaking, and at this time I’ve about a dozen gigs scheduled this year.  I expect a few more to trickle in.  My main presentation deals with mastering technical water.  The talk revolves around catching big, selective tailwater trout.  Trout that are highly pressured and more than a little “experienced”.

A small part of the presentation deals with how to attack technical water you’ve rarely or never fished.  Without going into technique at this time, and assuming that the technique used is fundamentally sound, I talk about 3 aspects that go into selecting the proper flies to throw.  The 3 aspects are historical data, seasonal data, and conditional data.  Let’s break’em down.

Historical data is data that can be gathered accurately from several sources.  This data is about which bugs are typically active or hatching historically, or the same time every year.  Notice I said “active or hatching”  That’s critical, and we’ll hit on that in more detail a bit later.  How do you acquire historical data?  There are several good sources.  One good place to visit is your state’s wildlife organization.  With a bit of digging you can find some good info there.  Also, join an organization, like TU, or send them a question if you’re out of state.  Calling a river specific fly shop is always a good idea to find out which bugs are prevalent at certain times.  There are also river specific blogs, river reports, and fly fishing forums you can join in on.  Historical data is fairly simple to find.

Seasonal data is basically taking historical data to the next level.  I look at seasonal data as “What’s going on with the bugs at this time?”  You may have a good handle on which bugs, hatch when historically, but seasonal data further refines the information.  For example, on the South Platte this winter we have been seeing about a size 22 midge.  Historically, we will begin to see a larger midge come into the picture soon.  It’s a crap shoot when it will start to pop in earnest, but I know seasonally, it will come off.  The “season” or seasonal factors will determine the hatch.  Factors such as unusual cold snaps, non-historical flows and water temps, and even previous factors can put things off or ramp them up seasonally.  Maybe that low water we had last summer killed off certain nymphs.  That’s seasonal data.

To take advantage of seasonal data, again ask your local shop what’s going on, and look to several sources that I mentioned earlier.  Back to the South Platte.  I can observe the small midge coming off during the day, and I know historically the larger midge will soon start to hatch, so I will set-up my rig to capture seasonal data by incorporating a larger midge along with the small midge to prepare for the “active” large midge nymphs.  Look at seasonal data as the transitions between the main hatches.  Prepare for the caddis as you fish Blue Wings.  Prepare for PMD’s as you fish  with Blue Wings.  You get the idea.  It’s another way to stay ahead of the hatch, seasonally.

The last bit of data is gathered on the river the day you put your boots in the drink.  Conditional data is just that, what’s it like today and what bugs are hatching?

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This fish pictured fell prey to a Chocolate Thunder, a Blue Wing emerger.  This was a “conditional catch” in that, the day was overcast, and the Blue Wings really came off more than a sunny cloudless day.  The hatch was prolific, and lasted longer than normal, allowing the fish to get really dialed in to feeding on emergers.  Conditionally, it was a no-brainer.

So, look at weather conditions to give you valuable clues to bug activity.  Is it cold, hot, windy?  Is a front coming in, moving away?  How about water conditions?  Murky or off-color?  Low or high?  How about angling pressure?  These are all  observable factors that come into play.  In The Fly Fishers Playbook, I have gone to great lengths to try to explain how to fly fish conditionally.  It’s that important!

When you combine historical data, seasonal data, and current conditions toward fly selections you are more than ahead of the game.  It’s fairly simple and goes a long way toward fly fishing success.  So, the next time you get ready to fly fish a river, go armed with proper data, and combine that with the days’ conditions so you don’t have to stand knee deep in the river scratching your head over your flybox.

Thank you for following, and FEAR NO WATER!     Duane

blackmamba2

One response to “data, data, data-boy

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  1. Duane! Hubby and I are planning another trip to Deckers this summer- probably June- so excited and hoping to have you guide us again!!

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