I guess we've made it again. There is a dim light glowing at the end of the tunnel of frozen tundra. There are a few teaser days on the distant horizon. I have a love-hate relationship with those teaser days. I’m always glad when the show up but I know they will not stay. I consider downtime to be the period between my last day of deer hunting and the day I put my potatoes in the ground. I know that between the times those tubers are covered with soil and it turns hot; there will be 3 or 4 pleasant weeks. Those weeks are known as prime-time.
I spent a lot of time this winter researching underwater insect life. I decided to limit my fishing during the spring to using sub-surface flies that actually look like the things that really live down there. I have stared at so many photos of caddis larvae, stoneflies, mayflies and diptera that I can almost say some of their scientific names. I do believe that I have learned about all I need to know about them. I now understand where each species can be expected to be found in any stream. I sure know more about the bottom of the stream than I did at this time last year. That is a good thing.
Part two of the process was a long and hard search to find imitations the really looked like what they were supposed to imitate. We all know that many patterns are tied to resemble real things; but they are also tied to attract the fisher’s eye and to get into his or her wallet. Believe me when I say that it is a challenge to find exactly what you are looking for; especially with satellite internet that will not stay connected. I do believe I managed to find realistic imitations of most of what I was looking for. It wasn't easy and it wasn't cheap.
The caddisflies I concentrated on were mostly netspinners (Hydropsychidae) and the green rock worms (Rhyacophilidae) these live in the type of water that I like to fish. The colors are primarily tan and green; I believe those two colors will pretty much cover my applications. I concentrated on finding realistic patterns for common stoneflies (Perlidae), since these are the most available stoneflies in the streams I fish. I already had plenty of Hendrickson, Sulphur, Blue-winged Olives Green Drakes and Isonychia nymphs; so the mayflies were covered. I didn't bother with midge larvae; I could never get one of those tiny things tied on a leader. The only True Fly (Diptera) I ended up buying were some large weighted nymphs that look like crane fly larvae. I believe I’m set for the season, only time will tell. I do know that if the realistically researched nymphs fail; those trusty Clouser Minnows will be in my pocket. No worries there.
Now, all we can do is wait for those nice days to be out on the river. We never know how many times we can get out there and we never know if each one will be the last. Therefore we need to take advantage and enjoy the time we have. Never quit learning, you will have no regrets.
This article first appeared in the March print edition of Two-Lane Livin
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