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The Bugs ....

Tucked among boxes and bins of my tying materials I recently found the bugs. “The Bugs” as I call them are a box filled with vials of aquatic insect specimens with faded labels that I collected close to forty years ago. Back then, Steve and I were devouring the array of angler entomology books that were common at the time and the teams of Caucci & Nastasi (Hatches), and Swisher & Richards (Selective Trout) were inspirations. Schweibert took on super hero status because he chose to work alone and paint images of those insects rather than take the fast lane of photographing them for his books. We collected mayfly, caddis and stonefly nymphs and tried our best to identify them based on those books. I’m not sure how fluent we became in identification; and many insects have since been re-classified, but there was a revelation in this exercise that directly influenced my fly tying and has been the foundation of my approach ever since. There are interesting behavioral aspects of insect larva that can be discovered by watching them. I quickly learned that Baetis, and Isonychia nymphs swim nearly as fast as small minnows, clinging Epeorus, Stenacron and other Heptagenids drift nearly helpless in the current with little ability to swim, and caddis larva will immediately curl defensively when they lose their grip on the stream bed. All these behaviors and more became the input for the nymph patterns that I’ve designed over the years. Observation is often one of the greatest teachers in life when we take the time to do it. Pictured here is an Isonychia bicolor nymph …… Till next week


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