Today, bugs are on my mind.
Fishing has offered me several life lessons (and reasons to write), but perhaps none of them have been as challenging as learning what's on the menu for a given day at the stream. In order to catch fish, apparently it helps to understand what they eat. Who knew?!
So after a few times out as I was learning to fly fish, it occurred to me that I would need at least minimal knowledge of what kind of bugs they are eating. You've probably heard the expression: "Match the Hatch" . If not, the general idea is to watch the water, and see what kind of bugs are buzzing. That is then your likely food source for the trout, so find an adequate imitation.
My first thought was "super. I have to try and catch fish with a mosquito?" And my second thought was "Oops. Maybe I shouldn't have worn quite so much bug spray". My third, and probably most telling thought was "I don't LIKE bugs. Fly fishing is dumb."
In classic fashion, I was seriously determined to prove that you didn't have to be Bill Nye the Science Guy just to have a little fishing fun. The result? A LOT of fishless trips. (Affectionately called "getting skunked")
By that time, I was fully addicted and heavily invested in equipment and I couldn't give up...so I gave in. I am now learning about bugs. Thankfully there are LOTS of resources out there to help learn about insects. My personal favorite is the University of Wisconsin Insect Diagnostic Lab. (Yeah...I was surprised that there is a whole lab devoted to this too...) Well, they do and here is the link-it is a fantastic resource:
(Also extremely useful in identifying household pests, or bugs captured and brought home by your kids)
As if to add insult to the injury of not wanting to learn about bugs in the first place...I have recently started to tie my own flies. For reference: When tying flies, it REALLY helps to know a little about the bug you want to imitate. But again, in my usual fashion...I am bucking the system. I am bound and determined that the imitation bug be similar to, and act generally like its real life counterpart when on the water...but not be an exact replica. (Translation: I'm not that great at tying flies yet...)
My best effort to date is the one below, and I have to be honest: There is NOTHING like creating your own lure, then fishing it successfully. This grasshopper imitation has quickly become my "go to" fly for the late summer/fall.
Which is hopefully similar to this:
And so it goes...
I still don't like mosquitoes or "no see ums" but I have given in to the notion that I should at least have a base knowledge to work off of. (I have just started to learn about REALLY big trout taking mice...so that is now on my radar...)