Posts Tagged ‘Bugs
BUGS? Once again, my short comings are brought forth in print. Entomology, Latin, Genus, Species, Orders and Families. I have enough trouble remembering everyone in my own family let alone memorizing fancy names. Colors, size, hatch time, hatch location and a little studying in advance is often as best as I can do. The common names: Mayfly (BWO, PMD, Callibaetis, Green Drakes)…Stoneflies (Goldens, Little Blacks, California Stones, Skwala)…Caddis (Long Horns, Traveling Sedge, Cinnamons) Midges/Chironomids…Dragon and Damsels…
Nothing too fancy there. I turn a rock over in a stream and see dark mayfly nymphs scurrying for their lives. I saw the size and color but wouldn’t be able to tell you which mayfly it is. I can maybe tell it was a clinger/crawler or swimmer etc. The other morning, I started to put on my waders. Overnight, a Caddis hatch had taken place as my waders and the nearby railing had large adult Caddis sitting there. Over a half inch long and medium brown in color. Hmm? What Caddis is that? Would I fish it now, or did it hatch last night? At least I noticed the body of water definitely has large Caddis. Maybe that is what I saw skittering across the surface early one morning?
Believe me I have tried. I study, I read and look at pictures, I study TroutNut and I certainly tie all Winter to match insects. Take away the hatch charts, books, blogs, outside advice, then I’m left observing and trying this and that…it is the essence of observation and adapting and then, maybe, bringing to the table whatever else you learn from outside sources.
I do take satisfaction in turning over those rocks, looking into stream side vegetation, watching little sailboats float down the river or inspecting the Caddis fluttering on the inside of my sunglass lens. I look at the coloring of Stoneflies crawling ashore and sat in amazement as Waterboatman (Corixia…look at that!) dive bombed a lake one October afternoon. There you have it. I have bombed out at Bug Basics 200. I do believe that the more I can fish, I will add to my knowledge. Heck, I probably know more than I realize. Just don’t ask me any Latin Names…although I do like that Hexagenia Limbata name….sounds like some Cuban Dance or Caribbean VooDoo thing in New Orleans.
Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Challenge Topic: Runoff
I left the house at 7pm intending to run an errand. I noticed a big, beautiful mayfly dun on my other car. I snapped a few pics and departed, figuring it would be gone when I returned. And, so it was, kind of. I returned to find the shuck in place of the dun. Now, I didn’t get a good enough look at the time to see what was totally going on when I originally left. So now, I gently secured the shuck with the intent of photographing it. I went to the front door and opened it and out jets Penelope the House Cat. Shoot it was 0845pm and almost dark. I chased after the cat and eventually removed her from beneath my rig. Hmmm….the shuck was destroyed in the pursuit of the cat! So much for my entomological studies…at least for tonight. What is very fascinating, for me, is that there is only the smallest little spring behind my house. So, was I watching a Dun prior to the emergence of a Spinner or…….
To me, there is nothing seemingly ‘common’ about this spider. It was a long ways from any garden as well. As I explored along the rocky shoreline of the Clackamas River, I came across this sizable spider working away on a web. A steady up river breeze ushered along hatches of assorted Caddis, PMD’s and midges. Remnants of a sizable Stonefly emergence littered the moss covered boulders. This busy spider prepared to intercept some portion of the shore bound insects. Once he was done, he tucked himself beneath some mossy growth attached to a boulder that supported his fly catcher. You are exactly right: the fishing was less than stellar on the Clack/Collawash R., so I passed off the time looking about the shoreline for this and that.
Tags: Bugs, Epeorus, Fly Fish Presentation, fly fishing, fly fishing strategy, fly pattern selection, Fly Tying: Emergers, Fly Tying: Mayfly, Fly Tying: Wets, insects rivers, mayfly, McKenzie River, SwittersB, Wet Fly, yellow quill
For the beginning fly fisher recognizing your insects can be confusing. On a lake, the insect population is seemingly distinct and more recognizable: hexagenia, callibaetis, dragons, damsels, and of course, the other creatures of scuds (rivers too), leeches, water boatman, chironomids (rivers too) etc. Maybe, at first you might confuse a damsel and dragon. On a river or stream, the puzzle can be a bit more confusing.
The other night, an associate was fishing the McKenzie River. There were what appeared to be bright yellow, large mayflies out over the water, “as big as a dragon fly”. There were additional yellow mayflies near shore bobbing up and down and almost like a swarm. The fly fisher saw no surface activity from fish.
This is confusing for a beginner and also for the non-beginner. But, this is truly part of the fun of fly fishing! This part of the thinking, observing, planning, deciphering, responding that makes the endeavor so satisfying….at least if you successfully sort out the puzzle. If you don’t observe to start with or if you observe but can’t sort it out then it is daunting. But, don’t let it be.
Keep it exciting and do the research, which has never been easier for the beginner given today’s on line resources: identify the river (or lake) you were fishing. You can do this before or after your fishing. What hatch charts can you find for that water? What insects are present during what months or when you were fishing? Research those insects. Find pictures of the nymphs, duns, spinners for that mayfly lets say (or caddis?).
In my friends case: what were those ‘large’ yellow mayflies? PMD, PED, Yellow Sallys (stonefly), Epeorus, Golden Stones. Color, size, hatch location, stage of life (dun, spinner), hatch method, time of day…can be important in narrowing down the insects you are seeing. Asking the local shop; writing knowledgeable fly fishers who really know that water shed and insects. The resources are there. Then be armed with patterns for several insects from the bottom (nymphs) up to the top. Remember there can frequently be more than one mayfly hatching at the same time and the duns and spinners can be simultaneously present. Recognize the busy egg laying spinners (no fish activity); the hatching duns, different mayflies from spinners (in this case there could have been the hatching Epeorus, hatching Pale Morning Duns, and egg laying PMD spinners.
In this instance, I did a little research and learned something interesting. The larger, yellow mayfly called Yellow Quills or Epeorus is a mayfly that ‘hatches’/'emerges’ beneath the surface and then moves to the surface to view. Now I know that I should have, for that particular mayfly on that river a larger yellow wet fly to be fished beneath the surface. I learned from my friends bewilderment and hopefully you will too.
So, stay patient. Study. Ask questions. Observe and keep notes. Take a picture if possible. And enjoy the puzzle! Then again, I did some more research and in Arlen Thomason’s excellent Bug Water, he and Rick Hafele arrived at Heptagenia solitaria…a PED. All part of the puzzle.
Tags: Bugs, Carp, Catch Fish, chironomids, crappie, fly fishing, fly fishing crappie, fly fishing ponds, fly pattern selection, Other Fish, Stillwater Stuff, SwittersB, Tony Muncy, warm water species, warmwater fly fishing
Tags: brian chan, Bugs, Catch Fish, Fly Fish Presentation, fly fishing, Fly Fishing Tools, Hatches, hatches, Insectology, insects, River & Stream Stuff, Stillwater Stuff, stomach pump, stomach pump sampling, stomach samples, SwittersB
Personally, I think stomach pumps should be the last thing any self respecting fly shop or on line fly fishing resource should offer to the fly fisher. Oh, the sampling can be most enlightening, but more often than not (no I don’t have any statistical data) I would imagine the device is misused and causes harm to the fish.
I mean just look at that stillwater sampling of mega chironomids, damsel fly and mayfly nymphs. How much easier now to tie on the correct size and color of an imitation. But, seriously, you want it that easy? While potentially doing harm to the fish? I will say this is one thing (the only thing probably) in which, I think Brian Chan errors. A fishery biologist, such as he, knows how to use a simple, crude device as a stomach pump and has a theoretical need to study food samples from fish and the health of a lake or river. The rest of us can study up and forgo the pump. I don’t believe I have seen a presentation by Mr. Chan in which the pump is not presented and demonstrated at least on lakes. He takes great care to use cradles to land fish and is obviously respectful of the fish. Others, I am not so sure of.
Is there available written data on the hatches/aquatic life of the body of water you intend to fish? What patterns imitate those food sources? Where are they likely living, emerging, drifting, etc. in that lake or river? At what time of day do they provide the best food source for the fish? What months are they best available? What do other fly fishers tell you? What techniques are you seeing successfully used and where on the body of water?
When you get to this body of water, what do you see? Are there visible hatches? Are birds feeding above the water? How are the rise forms of the fish (sub surface slashes, porpoising, sips, engulfing wallops, airborne projectiles)? What do you see on the water’s surface, nearby vegetation, on the rocks? What is possibly protruding from the fish’s mouth you are about to release.
Stomach pumps may provide that extra reassurance of what to use, but given the probable harm you will cause (if catching and releasing), forgo the pump and use your brain and power of observation more often. Unless you are Brian Chan and/or a fishery’s biologist?