It is very possible that insect hatches, while they may be crucial to the survival of trout, may also lead to their ultimate demise if we, as fly fisherman, do not change our ways. 

All of us have been on the stream when a hatch has occurred, and without exception we have frantically searched through our fly boxes seeking to imitate the particular hatch that is occurring.

Once selected and secured to our tippet, we delicately attempt to place our fly between a large fish and the tasty looking genuine article in the futile hope that we might fool the fish into passing up the real deal in favor of our pitiful imitation.  Well, I have determined that our behavior in this regard is quite rude, counterproductive, and that it must end.

If our beloved trout are to continue growing to respectable sizes they must be afforded the opportunity to eat without distraction.  Imagine your evening meal.  You have gathered around the table with family and perhaps some dear friends, and in through the door rushes a horde of salesmen...pushing everything from warranty policies on the car you sold two years ago to the old “I have 28 million bucks for you in a Nigerian bank” scam.  (Well, I guess for the most part we took care of that with the Do Not Call Registry...sort of.  I had a call last night from that gun nut Wayne LaPierre.)  Do you think the trout are any less disturbed by these interruptions than we are?  Of course not.

If we continue to invade their mealtime with our selfish ambitions there will surely be a price to pay.  I have computed that a feed conversion ratio of 11,623 mayflies to one pound of fish is adequate to sustain the trout’s current growth rate, and that any interruptions that reduce their caloric intake will have a negative and exponential impact on growth. Of course the ratio is significantly altered if the trout’s menu includes measurable quantities of Pteronarcys californica.

The future is in our hands if we act now. 

As there are no reliable hatch schedules for us to rely upon, when we see the water come alive with frenzied trout we must immediately leave the stream and sit quietly on the bank until their meal is properly concluded, at which time we may resume our embarrassing and unproductive efforts to lure them with artificial flies.

Ignoring this basic rule of etiquette will insure that our streams are full of stunted, and dare I say...ugly fish.



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