Variety is the spice of fishing
Guides are asked lots of questions in the course of a day's fishing. It's the key to a good day in the best situations. It might surprise the anglers if they knew how many of them ask the exact same questions. What's your favorite river, rod, reel, or line top that list. They're obvious and valid as most guides will happily share their strong likes, or dislikes, to anyone that will listen.
Another one that comes up every trip is "What's your favorite fly or hatch?" This is a question that seems obvious to the angler but speaks of a lack of deeper understanding on the fisherman's part. It's rare that any fly angler casts one fly all day, and while a guide may in fact have a favorite hatch they never last an entire outing either.
Most of the fly angling magazines do an annual list of the top ten or twelve flies. Sometimes they'll spice those up by having a famous guide compile his or her list of favorites . They're approaching an affective outing by expanding the list. The more options you hit the water with the more likely you'll be successful.
However, the real key to fly angling with purpose isn't one fly. The single most affective tool in my arsenal is and will always be, versatility. Every guide I know will tell you the same thing. Read the water, watch for hatches, read rise forms (a whole other skill set), and be quick to respond to changes as they occur. Be Versatile. It can't be passive either. Any angler wanting to hone their craft would benefit dramatically by becoming more versatile as a singular goal. The best part of this goal is that they may never stop learning. They can't help but get better.
- Jake Hood
Lead Spokane River Guide