Posts Tagged ‘stomach samples

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?


11
Mar
08

Woolly Bugger’s

wooleybuggerolive.jpgsecretwoolybugger2.jpg

Speaking for myself, I have often instructed others, in the tying of W.B.’s that they most often suggest leeches and oh, also, maybe dragon nymph’s, baitfish, or damsel nymphs. Well, recently at a class taught by a very knowledgeable tyer and entomologist, he advised that in hundreds of lakes in worldwide travels and in the thousands of stomach samples he had taken, leeches made up an insignificant portion of trouts’ diets, even when there were heavy leech populations. Interestingly also, he said that the color is less critical than we fuss about so maybe a yellow bugger maybe just as effective as a typical black, brown, green bugger. I would hedge the bet here and have a variety of colors. I have had numerous instances in which green was it…not black or red or mottled brown. And, of course, I can recall instances of a different color being the go to color…so be prepared with colors, sizes, and varities of thickness/leanness. 

So, if that is the case, what is the reason for the success of a Wooly Bugger? The instructor, mentioned above, suggested it is the mere suggestiveness of the pattern that triggers the attack not the matching of any precise nymph. So, that being said, it is the presentation that is critical. In my teachings it should rarely be a chuck and wait presentation. Whether you are matching the hatch or searching with a suggestive/stimulating pattern, presentation should be the key. What are you suggesting and do you know how the critter you are imitating behaves underwater?

You will improve your success rate significantly on lakes by understanding presentation and visualizing the fly’s actions eight feet down and forty feet back. Also, use a clear/camo intermediate (Type I) line with a WF Floating and Type III-IV as available options.

I think if one is imitating damsels or dragons then the thickness of the body, density of the palmered hackle and the tail will be critical for the appearance/action and then, of course, the presentation and location will be important.    




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