What should I know?

rec4804

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I have been (attempting to at least) fly fishing for about a year or two but only recently have I really started to get into it. I'm working on tying flies and teaching myself with pointers from other experiences fly tiers. I did a school project on fly tying and a big part of that was entomology, but I don't know if I have a good enough of an understanding of it so I was wondering what should I really understand about the entomology of fly fishing. I live in Vermont if that information is helpful as to the entomology more specific to me.

Thank you
-Rec4804
 

Rip Tide

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I don't speak Latin so I break this down in ways that even I can understand

There's basically four kinds of caddis. Free living, net spinners, case builders and saddle case builders.
The case builders are the easiest to spot. They build tubes out of pebbles, sticks or whatever they can come up with.
The saddle cases are like a dome or shell that the larve can drag around. Both of these you've probably noticed on a stream bottom
Free living caddis like the green rock worm, you've got to turn rocks for. They actually hunt on a silk tether
And net spinners are tiny. 18s or smaller.

Mayflies can also be broken down into four groups. Swimmers, crawlers, clingers, and burrowers.
The water velocity that they're in will help determine which ones are found where.
Burrowers live in slower water with soft bottoms. And they're usually big like drakes or Hexes.
Clingers live in fast water and they're flat so that that can hunker down on the rocks. March Browns, Cahills, Quill Gordens
Swimmers like BWO and Isonychia can swim as fast as a minnow. They don't need to be dead drifted
Crawlers like Henricksons and sulfers live mostly in moderately fast water

Stoneflies live in well oxygenated water where there's ........ stones
 
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silver creek

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Learning entomology is like building and furnishing a house. You first need a solid foundation, which is very basic knowledge about trout foods. One of the best BASIC books is Dave Whitlock’s Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods. From there you can go to more specific books but I suggest you borrow Whitlock's book from your library.

Also there's a free pdf on the history of fly fishing entomology that you can download. Click on the link which is a Google Search and then click on the first item.

 
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WWKimba

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I agree with silver creek about Dave Whitlock's book. A couple of on-line sites that might interest you instead are Resources - MACROINVERTEBRATES.ORG (weebly.com) and Troutnut.com: Fly Fishing for Trout, Photo Blog & Hatch Encyclopedia. The biggest thing is to maintain the proper tying proportions and (I just KNOW I'm the first to mention this to you!) DO NOT CROWD THE EYE!

I've been tying for 50 years and live a couple hours drive from your fine state - you ever hear of Camp TaKumTa? I volunteered there the first 7 years of the camps existence (when it was on Mallets Bay) and probably passed near your home on the drive up (this was the early '80's). That was the ONLY area that I have ever visited that I felt I could also move to and live there if I ever desired! Lovely area.

Kim
 

silver creek

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You are very welcome.

I have a DVD of Bugs of the Underworld that the Cutters gave me in return for something I did for them. I recommend it.

The stonefly nymph in the video below show what we should try to do with our nymphal imitations to reproduce a "natural" drift. The video below has been cued up to the correct section of the video. Just click on the "play" arrow.

Since the nymphs are 90% water, they are neutrally buoyant.

 

flytie09

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That is awesome stuff Silver. So those heavy lead wrapped, bead head nuggets I’ve been tying don’t look anything like a stonefly that’s naturally broken free from the rocks. Good thing trout don’t major in Entomology.
 
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rec4804

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Learning entomology is like building and furnishing a house. You first need a solid foundation, which is very basic knowledge about trout foods. One of the best BASIC books is Dave Whitlock’s Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods. From there you can go to more specific books but I suggest you borrow Whitlock's book from your library.

Also there's a free pdf on the history of fly fishing entomology that you can download. Click on the link which is a Google Search and then click on the first item.

I've got the book pulled up on my browser from amazon and ready to buy and get learning!
 

rec4804

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That is awesome stuff Silver. So those heavy lead wrapped, bead head nuggets I’ve been tying don’t look anything like a stonefly that’s naturally broken free from the rocks. Good thing trout don’t major in Entymology.
And thats exactly why im asking before I start tying so I don't make a mistake of tying a fly all wrong and having it be a totaly dud.
 

silver creek

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That is awesome stuff Silver. So those heavy lead wrapped, bead head nuggets I’ve been tying don’t look anything like a stonefly that’s naturally broken free from the rocks. Good thing trout don’t major in Entymology.
Those heavy nymphs don't behave like the naturals but they DO get down to where the trout are feeding.

A way to fish unweighted nymphs is bounce nymphing also called drop shotting.

 

flytie09

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My response was a little tongue in cheek. Silver...like the rock-star you are, nailed it. Tying realistic unweighted representations is one thing so they tumble realistically in the current......but it's where in the current that's important as well, if not more so in my opinion. I've caught countless......hundreds of Trout, Steelhead and Salmon with my heavily weighted stoneflies. Not humble bragging in any way....it's true. I've never tried drop shotting, but I'd be curious head to head does it outperform the method I implore. I know Kelly Galloup swears by it and knows a thing or two. However, in the Salmon River in NY...I will never know, because the weight can't hang below the fly. Drop shotting isn't allowed.

A sink tip and a bead head weighted Kauffman Stone is tough to beat. The beauty of fly fishing is that there is more than one way to be successful.

As far as how can one use a basic understanding of Entomology to use in your fly selection? You should know the basic types of insects (midge, mayfly, caddis and stonefly), the species within a given watershed (Baetis, Tricos, scuds/sow bugs, black flies, etc), their emergence schedule and timing of their activity. When to use a caddis or a midge. What water temps trigger these emergence events. What is the population density of the various insects within a stream. There might be 20 different mayflies in a given stream.....but using statistics what is most common....this helps with selecting a given pattern to match what is most likely in the water, active and most likely to target during a hatch.

Don't feel like to have to know latin names to be a successful angler. With logic, basic shape, size and color/shade identification and deductive reasoning...you can match what bug to grab out of your box.

I will say to know the basic hatch chart for any stream or area you're going to be fishing. These can be found with a simple google search for hatch charts. The second piece is you have to know what these insects look like. When I see an angler and there's a hatch and they ask "what is that flying around?" and I say a BWO (or whatever it is the best I can tell).....and their comeback is "what's that?".....I always get a chuckle. Because I was that guy once... not because of their lack of knowledge.

I'd suggest this website.......it is one of the best on the web.


And I'll also share this one.... I use it regularly.


The videos Silver shared are excellent starting points. I learned before YouTube and read Dave Whitlock’s LL Bean Fly Fishing Handbook and Trout and Their Food until the spines wore out.

Good luck..
 
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Bigfly

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I call Ralph, the answer man!
Although he could have gotten a degree in entomology I'm sure....
He has spent a lifetime looking instead.
Hundreds of hours underwater watching the insects behavior.
He got me hooked on watching until a question arises, then looking it up.
Or, calling someone in the know....or an old guide...
It helps to have an overall view of bugs, but getting a bug net and vial is crucial to getting your bug on.
If you fish what is on the menu today, and present the stage of the insect, the the way it should look, you will catch fish.
Take the, "I'll just fish my lucky fly", or fish the "Hot fly" from the shop, and you may not meet a fish...or maybe a little guy who didn't know better.
Your odds are better if you watch a bit....

Jim
 

silver creek

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My response was a little tongue in cheek. Silver...like the rock-star you are, nailed it. Tying realistic unweighted representations is one thing so they tumble realistically in the current......but it's where in the current that's important as well, if not more so in my opinion. I've caught countless......hundreds of Trout, Steelhead and Salmon with my heavily weighted stoneflies. Not humble bragging in any way....it's true. I've never tried drop shotting, but I'd be curious head to head does it outperform the method I implore. I know Kelly Galloup swears by it and knows a thing or two. However, in the Salmon River in NY...I will never know, because the weight can't hang below the fly. Drop shotting isn't allowed.
Hi Flytie09.

There is a way around that regulation. That is to use an "anchor fly."

What is an anchor fly? An "anchor fly'' is the bottom heavy fly of a two fly rig that acts like the "anchor" or weight that gets the rig down and keeps the rig in contact with the stream bottom.

I tied this woven Stonefly nymph as an anchor fly. It has heavy lead wraps under the body.

 
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flytie09

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Only 1 fly single barb allowed. With T sink tips and Intermediate shooting heads you don’t need super heavy lead, coneheads, dumbell eyes, bead heads or any of that. You can swing a fly like nature intended for most conditions.
 

rangerrich99

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I have been (attempting to at least) fly fishing for about a year or two but only recently have I really started to get into it. I'm working on tying flies and teaching myself with pointers from other experiences fly tiers. I did a school project on fly tying and a big part of that was entomology, but I don't know if I have a good enough of an understanding of it so I was wondering what should I really understand about the entomology of fly fishing. I live in Vermont if that information is helpful as to the entomology more specific to me.

Thank you
-Rec4804
Probably this was said already, but there should be a fly-fishing book that describes the insects that are most common and indigenous to your area's watersheds. maybe ask around at your local flyshop, if it hasn't been mentioned already in this thread, and find out the title of that book. If you do it that way, they'll give you both the Latin scientific names as well as the common fly-fishing names of every insect in your area.

Peace.
 

flytie09

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The troutnut link gives you common name, Latin name, and pictures of the insects in all stages. If you have a stream with complex hatches..... troutnut should be part of your research repertoire.
 
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