Hatch Charts found in magazines, web site searches and the ‘net in general are a useful resource for the fly tier/fly fisher. There are different styles of hatch charts that will require little research. The above hatch chart first tells you the general location (Virginia) the general type of insects (‘Major Caddis, etc.) and the suggested general dry fly/nymph patterns and what months those patterns will apply.
The above hatch chart would require you to do some extra work re the size of fly pattern to use, as well as define what insect a ‘blue quill’ or ‘White Wulff’ represents. Once this general understanding is acquired for a region, you may look at the above hatch chart and easily decipher the fly pattern/insect identifiers and just focus on the ‘when’ of the chart.
This next hatch chart is similar to the first hatch chart, but it gives a little more in the way of insect specifics. You will still have to research the insect and determine the fly patterns and sizing. You do have the time span that those suggested fly patterns are worthwhile on the Eagle River.
This next hatch chart is graphically impaired, but actually provides more details. You can see the suggested insects and, in this instance, the sizes for the patterns in addition to the time span.
Now this last hatch chart combines several important factors: the insects are more specifically identified, the sizes of the insects/patterns are provided too. Then not only do you see when those insects are most often available, but also the hatches are weighted as to intensity (low, medium, high). Some hatch charts will call the ‘high’ intensity hatches ‘super’ hatches.
All the hatch charts are going to require you to research the best fly patterns to tie or buy for the referenced insects. Then you will be good to go what’s and when’s for a particular body of water. Not all waters are so nicely dissected though. A thoughtfully designed hatch chart is a great resource.