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Selective feeding is a phenomenon, which occurs when fish are feeding heavily on a food organism because of its abundance. Examples are hatches of aquatic insects such as Mayfly, Stonefly, Midge and Caddis hatches, Selective feeding also occurs when fish eggs, minnows and other food items are in abundance, but insects are still the major food source for the average trout.

This is a time when the fly fisher will out fish a bait or spin fisher. Understanding the mechanisms that trigger selective feeding is essential whether the fly fisher prefers to fish subsurface or on top.

A fish is a victim of its own genetics. Although a wild trout’s IQ is very low it does have sharply honed instincts. Selectivity is an entrained response.

Your mother told you about first impressions. Everything has something you notice first.

Look at a Railroad engine; the first thing to pop into my mind would be “BIG.” A Cardinal at your bird feeder may bring COLOR to mind. Racecars say MOVEMENT. Compare an adult mayfly with an adult caddis; here the importance of silhouette is obvious.

A trout’s resolving power is about fourteen times worse than yours. While he might not be able to count the number gills on a mayfly nymph, he definitely sees movement and color.

With insects like Caddis, movement can be important and anyone who has tried to match a #24 tricorythodes with a #22 trico pattern knows about selectivity as it relates to size.

To be continued

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