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A Guide's Thoughts on Hatches and Africa & Spain

Did you Know?

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations was organized by a group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including World War II, The Vietnam War, The Korean War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

A Guide's Thoughts on Hatches

Each year as trout season approaches fly fishermen dig out their fly boxes and take inventory on what flies they need for the upcoming season. Most fly fishermen already know what hatches will be the first to appear and which will follow as the season progresses. In books and on the internet you can find hatch charts for different locales that list the bugs in the order they appear and approximate dates one can expect to see them.

Curiously, the hatches are always the same. Same order, same color and same size. But some years a certain hatch is heavier then other years and some years we see very few of them. For instance this year the blue quill hatch was not only a heavy hatch but lasted longer than most of us can ever remember. Other years it might be the march browns or sulfurs and we don't know why or how this happens. Water temperature and weather conditions certainly play a part in all of this, but sometimes we have good hatches in spite of cold wintery conditions.

There are also times when I see a good hatch of a certain mayfly floating down the stream and trout aren't eating them. Go figure!

Another mystery is fly selection. One of the most asked questions I get as a guide is “what flies are working.” Well I can tell you what flies worked well for me today, but that doesn't mean they will work tomorrow. Some days the flies that worked well in one section of the creek didn't work in another section. So it's a game of changing flies until you find one that works and then you may catch one or two fish and it's time to change again. Now you know why guides carrying boxes and boxes of flies and some days I think I try most of them!

The pheasant tail nymph tied in different hook sizes is one fly that over a course of a season catches more fish than any other in my boxes. You might say it's my go to fly and yet some days the trout want nothing to do with it.

When trout become selective and nothing is working think outside the box and do something different. Before I start changing a lot of flies I refer back to my setup. I start by extending the length of the leader and switching to a smaller tippet size and smaller nymphs. I use a small wool indicator or no indicator at all. These changes will change the way your flies move through the water and may give you a better drag free drift.

Although most anglers believe fly selection is very important but nothing beats experience like time on the water, willingness to change rigging setup to improve your presentation, and thinking outside the box.

Jim K.

Africa & Spain

It seems like 2022 is flying by very quickly. We are loving our time at home and we've had a great trout season so far. Our prime fishing season is nearly two thirds over and we're headed into our summer hatches. Before we know it, it will be time to pack our bags and hit the road. We'll start out in Scotland and Ireland in the end of June for salmon and trout, followed by Africa for the annual great migration in Kenya and Tanzania. Africa is the only non fishing trip we host and it's an amazing one.

We still have room for a couple people should you decide to drop everything and come along for the adventure. It's one you won't forget!

After Africa, we will find ourselves in August and headed for the Bighorn River, Montana. It's our favorite time on the river with long summer days and lots of fishing. Maybe we'll hit the PMDs, like last year, or the tricos, maybe the black caddis. Some years we have incredible fishing with hoppers, one never knows but it's always exciting. In October we'll be in Spain, enjoying fall fishing in the lovely Pyrenees. There's no place like the mountains in the fall with cool mornings and warm afternoons – and the big fish are starting to move. What's not to love about that combination? After Spain is Turneffe Flats in Belize in November for one more shot of warm weather before winter sets in at home. The bonefish, permit, and tarpon fishing isn't hard to take either. And then we wrap up the year in Argentina right after Thanksgiving for some early season trout fishing at Argentina Waters and Tres Valles.

Here's a look at what our 2023 calendar looks like. Our web site isn't updated just yet, but soon will be. Contact us if you'd like more information on anything on our schedule. We'd love to hear from you.

2023 Beck Hosted Trips:

January 7-14 Pira Lodge, Argentina, golden dorado

February 4-11 & 11-18 Laguna Verde (Jurassic Lake), trout

March 5-11 San Huberto Hosteria, Argentina, trout

March 11-16 Estancia Pilolil, Argentina, trout

March 18-25 Estancia Tecka, Argentina, trout

July 21-29 Intricate Bay Lodge, Alaska, trout, char, grayling, salmon

August 19-26 Bighorn River Lodge, Ft. Smith, Montana, trout

August 26-Sept. 3 Bighorn River Lodge, Ft. Smith, Montana, trout

November 2-9 E. Pyrenees, Spain, trout

Late Nov/Dec TBA Argentina, trout

See you next week. Have a great holiday weekend. Thanks for following our blog.

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