Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by Tinker, Nov 19, 2015.
What GAT said. Preston wouldn't happen to be Singleton would it?
Close, but no cigar.
Oh great! Another entomology book I need to buy
Singletary, not to be confused with Preston Singletary, my son, the glass artist, of whom I am extremely proud.
I think trout-related entomology is pretty important. Big fish do eat larger prey, but they also look up. If you've been on the water, you've probably seen monsters sipping #18 mayflies off the water. The water I fish these days is primarily spring creek (Wisconsin's Driftless area), and the biggest brown I've ever seen outside New Zealand was sipping mayflies (no, I didn't catch him!). If you are truly serious about your fly fishing then you will probably start paying close attention to what's in the water. I'm reading Nick Lyons' Spring Creek (thanks, Rob Allen!) which is a neat description of him learning the insects and techniques that made him successful on that particular spring creek. It's fascinating when he describes trout favoring one of two varieties of drakes on the water at the same time. That's when entomology is important.
I fully agree with Gene, though, that you can do well without an encyclopedic knowledge of every mayfly or caddis available. A limited number of dries and nymph will serve to imitate most of them.
Agree, after 55 years of fly fishing you need a basic understanding on entomology to match the hatch. But there are those times when they are very selective where knowing the exact type and size of fly makes the difference. I missed out on some great hatches not being able to match it, very humbling. ;(
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I pay a lot of attention to which bugs are hatching. You will see how important that is on the Yakima River when you find a pod of nice fish rising regularly to Blue winged olives but ignoring your fly in their feeding lane because the fly is not the right size or not the right stage (they are hot for emergers and you have a high-floating dry fly...). That's when you work your way through the fly box to find the right fly that will unlock the hatch.
A second key to targeting larger fish is the realization that trout are territorial and the bigger fish will dominate the best feeding lies - usually associated with structure. Under most conditions (exceptions would be a big hatch or dusk), these bigger fish are not going to move far for a fly. You need to drop your fly into their zone. Maximize the time that your flies are in this prime drift. If you are fishing dry flies, these spots are where your first, best casts should be.
Truer words were never spoken. I'm on the south coast of Oregon and I believe - I'm sure - I'm the only soul in town who fly fishes, since the only other person, who was my mentor, passed-on two years ago. This is the land of winch-like level winds and boat rods and I am looked-at with suspicion whenever I forget to take the drying fly off my vest before walking into the market...
It's not that bad, but there isn't a fly shop within a couple hundred miles, and I am the only person in town who fishes with flies, so I depend on the knowledge and generosity of online resources.
I'm reasonably good at finding the larger fish but miserable, just miserable, at getting them to strike the fly I'm using. Sometimes I can see them rise just a bit then head back home. Occasionally they'll swirl but not strike.
I bought all my original flies at Bi-Mart, and I too bought what looked good to me. Now that I'm tying my own flies, I really should learn to recognize what bugs are hanging around so - if I am not imitating them - I'm at least flinging something of the right size and a similar color at them until I get home and tie new flies.
The books will help, and I have space on the shelves.
I think I mentioned that I fish dry flies almost exclusively. The second time that I ever waded for trout, a cloud of something fluttered down the stream, occasionally dropping onto the water, and I had a Really Good Time with what I later learned was a BWO dry. I like watching a fish sip a fly off the surface and hooking small fish hadn't bothered me until I started seeing the larger fish but not getting strikes.
I also need to get off my lazy and learn to fish nymphs effectively - I've had a spool of SA's "Hover" for a year without loading it on a reel, and one doesn't catch fish by intending to do something.
Thank you for the recommendations and the general suggestions. I've learned some things and I have a list of books to find and read.
It takes a mayfly a while to shed its husk & get the blood flowing through it's wings. until then, it remains helpless being unable to take flight. Trout have learned that there is no hurry so the rise slow & easy, nose into the surface and slurp them up. Often only seen as a very minimal surface disturbance.
Caddis flies, on the other hand are able to take flight immediately. The rise is a much more deliberate, violent slashing at the fly.
When trout are taking emerger's, that is taking them as they are rising to the surface, you may see a bulge as they rise to intercept the nymph, take it in, & then dive.
A "spinner fall" occurs after the exhasted males fall to the water & die after mating, which they do in mid air. The females will dive into the water, or just dip the surface to deposit their eggs.
Stone flies nymphs live in fast water riffles, often loosing their foothold among the stones & getting swept downstream. Fish them along the stones at the heads of pools, just below the riffle. Stone fliy nymphs crawl out on vegetation at rivers edge to split their husks emerging as adults. The adults are sometimes reffered to as Salmon flies. Both nymphs and adults are the whoppers of fish food.
Oregon classifies everything under 14 inches as a trout, making no distinction between juvenile steelhead or salmon, half pounders excepted. Supposedly one can determine a cuttie from a rainbow, but other than that, untill they have been to sea, half pounders, juvenile steelhead, coho, chinook all look pretty much the same.
Sort of. The nymphs of all species of mayflies do not emerge by rising to the surface. Some crawl ashore to emerge (gray drakes and Caenis for example). All mayfly duns (subimago, the initial adult stage which exhibits dull, translucent wings and rather dull-colored, waxy-looking bodies), after emerging, fly into the shoreline grass and brush to molt one more time, into the spinner (imago, the fully-adult, fertile form, exhibiting glassy-clear wings, glossy body colors and much longer tails). After this molt (usually taking 24 hours or so) the spinners, both male and female, fly out over the lake in the mating swarm. The females fly through the swarm and the males pursue them to try to fertilize their eggs. Following this flight, both sexes return to the shore, the males to die or be eaten by birds insects and spiders, and the females to rest while allowing their fertilized eggs to ripen. When their eggs have ripened, the females fly out again over the lake to deposit their eggs either by oviposition, or by (as in the case of Baetis) crawling/swimming below the surface to do so. After laying their eggs, the females begin to die. Initially and while laying their eggs the females have sufficient strength to hold their wings upright and to occasionally flutter across the surface (upright spinner) but, as they weaken, the wings fall to the side in the classic form of the spent spinner. This period during which the eggs are laid and the subsequent death of the females is the spinner fall.
In the case of surface-emerging mayflies fish primarily feed on nymphs rising to the surface, nymphs emerging from the nymphal shuck at the surface (emergers) and duns which have emerged but not yet flown (the time necessary seems to be dependent on ambient temperature, taking only a few seconds at very warm temperatures and up to a minute or more in colder or damp weather), and sometimes during the fall of egg-laying spinners. During the mating swarm, the spinners only become available to the fish if a few happen to be blown down onto the surface of the water, so this does not trigger a major feeding event.
Nymphs of mayfly species that crawl ashore are not readily available to fish in the nymph or dun form, but only as spent spinners
Only because I received a very stern warning, but no citation, about this: in the coastal streams in the SW and NW zones in Oregon, rainbow trout longer than 16" are steelhead. Everywhere else, sea-run rainbow trout longer than 20" are steelhead.
Ow, ow, OW! I'm getting old and I have so much useless trivia stored in my head that I have to forget something to learn something new. I just forgot the name of my cousin's youngest boy...
Yup. It's tricky. You need to be up on the regional regs to know what is what. Good thing I don't keep any of the fish I catch ... well, except for planted steelhead and where I fish for those guys when you catch one, it's very obvious. A question I posed to the local ODF&W office was the subject of the adult steelhead they dump into the coastal lakes in Oregon. I fish Olalla Lake outside of Toledo (OR) and have caught many, many adult steelhead that the ODF&W dumps in the lake when they have a surplus. (the ODF&W never mentions it when they do dump in the steelhead -- I guess they want it to be a surprise when you catch one while fishing for trout planters)
Okay, the regs state that if you catch a planted steelhead in a lake it is considered a big planted trout so you don't need a steelhead tag or to mark it down on your tag if you have one. That's all well and good but Olalla Lake is located near rivers where steelhead are planted in the rivers and you do need a tag to mark those on your tag when you catch one. So I asked the local ODF&W office what you're suppose to do if you are driving home and stopped by a OSP officer for whatever reason and they notice the steelhead in your vehicle.
They ask to see your steelhead tag. You may not even have one because you don't need a steelhead tag for the adult steelhead you catch in Olalla. Now what? How does the officer know you caught the steelhead in one of the lakes and not one of the rivers? Even if you do have a tag, there's no place to mark the location as a lake.
The ODF&W had no good answer to my question. They told me that I'd just need to convince the officer that I caught the steelhead at Olalla and not a river.
Well, that would be much easier if the department would make it public when they plant Olalla with surplus adult steelhead but they don't.
So far, the possible problem has never occurred and I need to hope for the best if it does.