Shrinking hatches make trout less selective?

Fly Fishing in Devon: Falling numbers in flys have led to trout becoming less discerning about what they will feed on Photo: REX FEATURE

Midcurrent has a link to an interesting story this morning about a study in England that suggests trout are becoming less selective due to shrinking insect hatches. Hatches shrinking is not good news. But this is NOT really new for those of us in the rust belt. Our rivers have been scarred, reworked, channeled, dammed, dumped into and famously set ablaze for the last however many years. (You’d think the rivers of England would be worse in this respect but somehow they remain fairly intact, who says royalty is good for nothing) As a result the aquatic insect life in my home waters is sometimes sparse if not non existent. But the fact that it makes trout more eager to devour what is there is interesting, and perhaps even a bit of the proverbial lemons to lemonade. Article and photo from

Trout anglers can be less specific in their choice of fly without reducing their chances of success, according to a report in the new book, Silent Summer.

Two anglers, Cyril Bennett and Warren Gilchrist, have been studying flies on the rivers Test and Itchen in Hampshire, the world’s most famous fly-fishing chalk streams.

Concerned by falling fly populations caused by pollution, silt, water abstraction, poor land management, loss of aquatic weed and climate changes, they enlisted the help of other anglers to monitor fly life on their beats and held workshops on the subject.

They found that the fall in fly populations was so drastic that the trout had been forced to become less discerning about which species of fly they would take.

They conclude: “No longer does the angler have to put up a good copy to tempt a trout preoccupied with feeding on iron blue duns or blue winged olives and his choice of artificial fly can therefore be general rather than specific.”


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