Posts Tagged ‘Insectology

29
Dec
11

Aquatic Macro Work: Jan Hamrsky

AQUATIC INSECT.NET BY JAN HAMRSKY 

Some nice macro work here by Hamrsky on aquatic insects relevent to fly tying & fly fishing.

Jan Hamrsky at AquaticInsect.Net

 

11
Dec
11

Insectology: studies in the field

All things Odonata (Dragons & Damsels) at NW Dragonflier. The Winter time is a good time to study up on fish foods. For some it is a good time to do stream samples and study the health of a stretch of stream (here

A kick seine to collect stream samples. This can be a one/two person operation. Most of us once on the stream do not have the patience for such studies. We may turn over a rock here and there to watch nymphs scurry, but that is often the extent of our studies. Sam Martin photo of Mike Steffen using kick seine.

25
Oct
11

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“Once a year, billions of mayflies converge on a lake in Russia’s Primorye province to mate, spawn and die… all on a single day.” The video remarks that a year ago, ‘thousands’ of mayflies laid their eggs over the Primorye lake. That translated into billions of mayflies? So later, how many of those billions were females that laid eggs? I find all these math problems so confusing…kind of like the two trains departing, math problem….always terrible at algebra. 

WILD RUSSIA Episode 7 Mayfly Hatch 

A different Russian Dance of the Mayflies by Sergei Dolmatov...blame it on my Post Op pain meds.

03
Sep
11

Fly Fishing Amongst the Riff Raff & Caddis

I escaped before the Labor Day weekend to get a little solitude and renewal. Folks were out in abundance and the banjo’s were playing the twangy sounds. I wasn’t too concerned as I was lost in my reverie. I fished and caught my share. I enjoyed the pattern puzzle, the weather was perfect (not too hot; a mild, cool breeze that produced a riffled chop to the surface). Hatches were consistent and continuous offerings of damsels, dragons, midges and a few Callibaetis spinners. Also, there was a nice flurry of longhorn sedges. 

First fish of the day to a Little Fort Leech.

For the most part, I excluded the current challenges in my life and was absorbed in the moment. The moment included certain segments of our society that need to assert their sphere of perceived influence via cussing, long kerplunking casts (heavy sinkers and spinners…seriously even I know how to rig a lighter slip sinker, treble hook and PBait) and dirty looks coupled with head shakes. I was so mellow, I didn’t get too uptight. I did not let anything get to me on the water. But, it is tempting…..

I ran the gamut of black, green, brown, mottled colored Woolly Buggers to start searching with, while I looked about for signs of insect life. In the end, it was black, black and black with a dash of red Buggers. Sunken caddis pupa patterns stripped to the top near the drop off produced some savage strikes (about that: when you do have those savage strikes…check your tippet! Somehow, I continued to fish on sans fly for several minutes in the midst of a perfect FF scenario…only when I decided to change flies, because of a lack of hits, did I notice the reason the hits had stopped…no fly!).

September & October loom: less crowds, steelhead marching toward Sherar’s Falls (Deschutes R.), lakes still inviting, October Caddis starting soon.

22
Aug
11

Fly Fishing: Entomology & The Cat

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…….

06
Aug
11

Fly Fishing: Bug Catcher

Common Garden/Cross Spider (Araneus diadematus) SwittersB

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.

Cross Spider Hiding and Waiting for a trapped morsel (SwittersB)

Mt. Hood National Forest Proposes Decommissioning 255 miles of Collawash River Drainage Roads

30
Jul
11

Fly Tying & Fishing: On The Edge…Hoppers

Hot Summer days and the dusty shoreline and grass are buzzing with grass hoppers. This is a perfect beginner’s pattern where presentation may be more important than size, shape or color. Whether it is a Joe’s, Dave’s or some other buoyant hopper pattern, work it near the shoreline, close to the edge. Depending upon the size of the river, primarily focus within five feet or so on windy days. When it is hot and still, cast right in toward shore. If the waters allow you to safely wade in, then wade out a ways and cast in toward shore. If you are lucky enough to get an invite on a friend’s drift boat, then a hopper pattern will be a nice morsel to throw in off the grass and dirt banks. Hopper patterns are also, as you may have read in your studies, part of the touted Hopper/Dropper set up, providing an indicator/dry fly offering with a trailing subsurface pattern. Some people also fish two dries, say a Hopper and a Caddis pattern. I know an older gent, who years ago traveled the West, while working for the U.S. Forest Service, and primarily fished the Joe’s Hopper. There are newer Hopper patterns constructed of the new synthetics as well.  

Joe's Hopper (Montana Riverboats)

03
Jun
11

Fly Fishing: The Pale Morning Dun (Summer’s Hatch)

For the beginning fly tier and fisher, the Pale Morning Dun is a ‘predictable’ hatch on Western rivers from June into September. It is a late morning to early evening window of opportunity  for a hatch that has a pronounced pre-hatch nymph ‘drift’ before the emergence on the surface. It is enjoyable to figure out and to fish to. It is one of several Summer hatches that are satisfying to discover and react to.

PMD Adult Wing (McKenzie River Page)

The ‘crawler’ nymphs will move from the rocks and bottom debris where they have hidden. As they move up out of the protection, toward the surface, they are now at the mercy of the currents and trout. This drift, in moderate to slower waters, can take place over an extended period of time as the nymphs drift, wiggle upward, split their wingcases atop the thorax area, wiggle further toward the surface, shed that nymphal case at the surface (emerge) and poke through the surface film (meniscus) to ‘hatch’. The adults will drift a bit further as those now upright wings (opaque) dry a bit and then they lift off into the air, fluttering and drifting with the breezes of the day, toward shore. (Is that a mega paragraph or what?)

The Clear PMD Spinner Wing

This whole process provides stages of presentation that are satisfying  & predictable: nymphs drifting along the bottom in the moderate to slower waters (careful wading, longer distance-stealth presentations?); then emerger/wet fly/flymphs/floating nymphs in the top foot or so of water to the surface; dry fly action and later spinner fall action as the females bob about in quieter side waters to lay eggs and then fall with their clear, spent wings stretched out to the sides like a partially submerged little airplane in film…drifting down in the slower currents.

So many opportunities here for presentations from bottom to top. Once you find a hatch of PMD’s on your favorite stream note its location.  Your patterns will tend toward the tan to dark tan (mottled earth tones) in sizes 16-18 over the course of the summer. You can research Google Images for PMD nymphs, emerger, dry and see a large variety of pattern options. 

 

19
May
11

Fly Fishing & Stomach Pumps

Stomach Pump

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.

Stomach Pump Sampling (Brian Chan)

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?


16
May
11

Fly Tying: Egg Sacs (Female Dun or Spinner?)

In the mayfly pattern below, I wound cream colored (bleached) peacock herl for the abdomen/thorax. I then used a black permanent marker to mottle the body save the rear area, which I wanted to represent the egg sac of a female. A female what? Note the wing is dark as well, touched up with the same permanent marker on the antron post.

But, if I am not mistaken, a female preparing to lay eggs has already progressed through the hatch (dun, darker wing phase) to the spinner phase (mated, wing clear/glassine, preparing to lay eggs and go spent on the water). So, my wing color, if attention to detail is important, is the wrong color. 

Now, in this tie, the wing was not touched up but remains clear/white to better represent the spinner wing. A spent spinner wing is not upright, but rather outstretched to the sides, almost airplane wing style. This pattern is more of the egg laying female setting down upon the water to lay/deposit eggs then try to lift off. 

Hooks: Size 14, dry fly hook; thread 14/0 black Sheer; tail is microfibbets; abdomen/thorax is Nature’s Spirit dyed/bleached peacock herls; hackle ginger dry fly quality; wing post is white antron yarn. (Here is a very nice post re slender parachutes and variations..nice S-B-S at The Fishing Gene)   Paracaddis at the Fishing Gene, also has this very good video tutorial on how to tie his Parachute style Mayfly.

PHILIP ROWLEY WITH EXCELLENT MAYFLY + INFO  




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