Use imitative patterns when fish are feeding selectively, attractor patterns when they’re feeding opportunistically.
Some flies are dynamite patterns because they work for selective and opportunistic feeders.
Al’s Rat. imitates a midge pupa. use it when the trout are feeding selectively. It also works as an attractor pattern since it’s a recognizable food organism.
A Pheasant Tail imitates a baetis nymph. It’s also a wonderful attractor pattern.
Ants are one of a trout's favorite foods. Fish love them when feeding opportunistically or selectively.
Griffith's Gnat imitates a cluster of adult midges. Trout find it appetizing even when midges aren’t on the water. It’s recognizable.
Other such patterns include Cranefles, Honey bug Inchworms and various bead head patterns.
The list goes on and on.
Not all imitative patterns work as attractors. Standard hatch flies like Sulphurs and Tricos, may work for a week or so after the hatch, but after that they aren’t a recognizable food organism to our forgetful, finned friends.
Point to remember
As you fish, analyze the imitative pattern you're using. Does it meet the above criteria? If it does, then try it during a hatchless period. You might make a meaningful discovery.
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